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What to Pack for Cancún – Ultimate 2023 Cancún Packing List

Need to know what to pack for Cancún? This ultimate Cancún packing list will tell you everything you need to know. This post also has tons of information about traveling to Cancún, ideas for day trips and excursions, and Mexico travel tips.

When traveling to Cancún, you’ll want to make sure you pack the essentials! My Cancun packing list includes clothes, essential medications for traveling to Mexico, and my favorite beach necessities. Are you ready for some fun in the Mexican Caribbean?

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What to pack for Cancun

What to Pack for Cancún 2023: My Favorite Beach Necessities

Packing for a Cancun vacation involves much more than throwing a bathing suit and a few items into your suitcase. These first 10 items are absolutely essential for a fun, worry-free vacation.

For a trip to Cancun, it is important to know what items are necessary to bring, but also to not overpack. So keep scrolling after these 10 essentials for the full list of I made (that you can print) so you know exactly what to wear in Cancun!

1) Anti-Diarrhea Medicine

Travelan is my #1 must-pack item for Cancun or anywhere in Mexico. Travelan prevents travelers’ diarrhea before it starts, so you can enjoy every minute of your trip! The last thing you want to happen on your beautiful Mexican Caribbean vacation is to be stuck in your hotel room because of diarrhea (known as Montezuma’s revenge in Mexico).

Montezuma’s revenge can happen, as it does in many locations such as Bali, Indonesia (Bali Belly) or Delhi, India (Delhi Belly) because there are different bacteria strains you’ll encounter. For some, it will cause travelers’ diarrhea. The best way I have found to combat travelers’ diarrhea is being proactive by taking one Travelan caplet immediately before every meal.

Note: If you can’t find Travelan, a great backup supplement option for gut health that helps prevent diarrhea is Pure Velvet Capsules.

The first time I visited Cancun was on a family trip when I was in high school. This was a multi-generational trip with my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and my sister.

The day we had booked a tour to visit Chichen Itza (the most famous of the ancient Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatan), I woke up with a questionable stomach. I was terrified to leave the hotel, let alone get on a bus for a full-day tour. Can you imagine?!

I ended up not going on the Chichen Itza tour and sitting alone in the hotel all day on my own. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I wasn’t just sitting in the room; I was making a lot of trips to the toilet. It was not a fun day of vacation in Cancun.

It took me about 30 years to finally make my way back to Chichen Itza on a summer trip with my son. Traveler’s diarrhea can literally make you miss the most important day or days of your trip. It is not worth taking the chance, so I always bring and use Travelan when I travel to Mexico and India. When I finally make it to Bali, I’ll use it there as well!

2) Travel Insurance

World Nomad Travel Insurance

Just like the thought of getting sick on vacation, it’s never enjoyable to think about things that could go wrong on a trip. Travel insurance can put your mind at ease.

A good plan can ensure that emergencies that may come up – medical trouble, stolen items, damage to your belongings, etc. – are easier to handle, and at little to no extra expense to you.

Plans aren’t very expensive – I highly recommend checking out World Nomads before you travel. World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials.

Learn More about WorldNomads.com


3) Bring a GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle


When traveling anywhere in Mexico it’s very important to be careful about drinking water. The GRAYL water bottle comes with three optional filters; a tap filter for everyday water, an international travel filter which I take when I travel to Mexico and a hiking trail filter.

The filters can be interchanged and all you do is pop on the filter of your choice, fill the empty outer cup with water and then push the inner cup with filter down so water passes through as filtered clean water (think French press). The bottles are BPA-free plastic.

View on Amazon.com ➜

4) Waterproof Case for Your Smartphone

DryCASE waterproof phone case

A waterproof phone case is a must in Cancun. Whether you are snorkeling or simply enjoying the pool the waterproof vacuum seal on the DryCASE will keep your phone safe and dry.

DryCASE is a flexible, crystal clear waterproof case that allows complete use of your phone or camera while keeping it dry and clean. Crystal Clear for taking Photos. Works with any Phone or MP3. Tested to 100 Feet for 1 Hour.

View on Amazon.com ➜


5)  Snorkel Gear

snorkel gear

There are plenty of snorkeling opportunities in Cancun. Traveling with your own mask and snorkel can save you quite a bit of money if you plan to do this activity several times on your vacation. I tend to leave my fins at home as they are so bulky, but always try to bring my own mask when I travel somewhere tropical.

The ProDive mask also comes with a waterproof bag, which is great for holding everything you might need on a boating excursion.

View on Amazon.com ➜

6) Biodegradable SPF 50 Sunscreen

biodegradable sunscreen

This sunscreen is 50 SPF and coral safe, as well as biodegradable. There is a huge problem occurring in parts of the world with coral reefs. With so many people wearing sunscreen with chemicals, it is killing the coral. Wearing a sunscreen that is reef-safe is the best solution.

Some of the snorkeling boat excursions won’t allow you to wear regular sunscreen in the water, and that means a sunburn. So do yourself, and the coral, a favor by choosing biodegradable sunscreen!

View on Amazon.com ➜


7) Water Shoes

Wonesion aqua sock

Water shoes always make it into my suitcase for beachy vacations, and they are definitely on my Cancun packing checklist. They’re great for visiting cenotes, snorkeling, beaches with rocky water and boat trips.

View on Amazon.com ➜


8) Beach Bag

holly life mesh travel bag

A large beach bag really does make days around the pool or beach easier. This is one item I tend to forget and regret not having with me. It’s so nice to be able to throw a book, sunglasses, sunscreen, a bottle of water into one bag instead of carrying it to the pool or beach.

I like the Bulex beach tote because it keeps your items separated and also has an inside zippered pocket. The bag is collapsible and mesh, so you can easily shake the sand out after a day at the beach.

View on Amazon.com ➜


9) Swimsuit Cover-Up

Chalier Womens Striped Chiffon Swimwear cover up

A cover-up is an important thing to add to your Cancun packing list. If you are simply headed down to the pool or beach, a coverup cute and comfortable. This one is soft and lightweight and will keep you cool on hot Cancun days.

View on Amazon.com ➜


10) Sunhat and Polarized Sunglasses

 WOWSUN Polarized Sunglasses

It can be quite hot in Cancun, especially in the summer months. Even in the cooler months, if you are spending time at the pool or beach, you’ll want to protect yourself from the glare of the water.

A packable sun hat (that doesn’t crush in your suitcase) and a good pair of sunglasses are incredibly important to protect yourself from the heat and sun.

View on Amazon.com ➜

Related Post: 13 Gorgeous Cenotes of the Yucatan (Cancun, Tulum and Valladolid)


Packing List

Get this Packing List!

Get a free, printer-friendly version of this packing list that you can use while packing (so you don’t forget anything important)!

Cancún Packing Checklist: The Essentials

Wondering what to wear in Cancún? It’s more than likely you’ll be spending most of your time in a swimsuit and flip-flops, which is great news for your packing list!

Casa Magna Hotel in Cancun, Mexico

But there are a few essentials you will also want to pack on your Cancun vacation. For women, sundresses or shorts are perfect daytime wear. Resort wear like maxi dresses with sandals is a perfect evening look. For men, shorts or lightweight pants and a t-shirt are great for the daytime, and chino or linen pants with a button-down shirt are an ideal choice for the evening.

Some of the luxury resorts have dress codes and don’t permit sandals of any kind for dinner. Restaurants in town range from very casual to a dress code. While sandals are essential for a trip to Cancun, you’ll also want to make sure you have one pair of dressier shoes for dinner. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as zip-lining or visiting the Mayan ruins, you’ll want to be sure to pack a pair of sneakers.

You might think it’s warm year-round in Cancun, but the temperature does fluctuate. Even in the warmest months, you’ll want to pack a light jacket or sweater. Last time I visited was January of this year and out of a week, we had 5 beautiful warm days, one chilly day, and one day of rain.

So, mix up a Margarita, grab a pen, and start planning what to pack for Cancun!



  • Underwear (nude and black)
  • Bras (beige and black)
  • Bathing suit
  • Bathing suit cover-up
  • Tank tops (white & black)
  • Tops (you can interchange with pants & skirts)
  • Shorts
  • Capri pants
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • White jeans
  • Jacket or Sweater
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • Workout gear
  • Pajamas


  • Sandals
  • Flip flops
  • Water shoes
  • Hiking shoes – I love my Keen sandals and closed in Merrell hiking shoes.
  • Exercise shoes
  • Evening wear shoes

Accessories & Necessities for Mexico Travel

  • Packing cubes – the perfect way to keep an organized suitcase. Makes it so easy to find what you want and eliminate chaos.
  • A Hanging Jewellery organizer can change your life! I love the Tidybagz Jewelry Roll Bag that hangs so I can easily choose jewelry to match my outfit.
  • Swimsuit bag – Super useful on a beach vacation. Even if you only use it on the last day packing to go home. There is nothing worse than a wet bathing suit getting the rest of your suitcase wet!
  • Toiletry bag
  • Silicone Collapsible Travel Cup
  • A book or Kindle
  • Journal
  • Scarf
  • Sun Hat
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Evening purse
  • A purse that can double as beach or pool bag
  • Cross-body day bag for excursions and shopping.  I like the Baggalini, which stays secure to your body.
  • Jewelry
  • Rain jacket (if you visit in the rainy season)

Cosmetics & Toiletries

Most hotels will provide shampoo, body lotion, soap, and a hair-dryer. Check in advance to see if they also provide conditioner or other toiletries. Many of the luxury resorts provide a considerable amount of extra toiletries. Many of these are essential items to keep you feeling and looking great!

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Conditioner
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Body lotion
  • Face wash
  • Face serum
  • Face lotion
  • Eye cream
  • Lip Balm
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Makeup bag
  • Hair straightener/curling iron
  • Hair ties and accessories
  • Vitamins

Packing Tip: Pack all toiletries that can spill or leak in a Ziploc bag. Unpacking to find toothpaste on your black skirt or pants is never fun!


Travel documents are essential. You’ll most likely be traveling from another country so make sure to pack that passport!

  • Passport
  • Government issued ID or driver’s license
  • Credit/debit card
  • Travel insurance policies
  • Documents for visas if you need them
  • Hotel booking information
  • Pre-booked tour information

Gadgets (non-clothing items)

  • Laptop, mouse & cord
  • Kindle
  • Iphone
  • USB
  • Camera (I use a Sony Mirrorless.. A great mid-range camera for a good price!)
  • Tripod (I like the Gorilla Pod)
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Binoculars
  • Charging cords & USB cords
  • Electronics / Camera Bag for Charger and cable bags
  • Snorkel & Mask

First Aid & Medications

Your Cancun, Mexico packing list should always include these important items!

  • Mosquito/Bug repellent
  • Sunscreen or spray (I like this reef-safe brand)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications – carry any required medications
  • Aspirin / Ibuprofen
  • Hangover Cure
  • Seasickness prevention (I like Bonine)
  • Probiotics – the number one best thing you can do for your health, especially when you travel, is to take probiotics. When you travel Internationally, especially to countries like Indonesia, India, and Mexico I recommend  Travelan

Related Post: 52 Fun Things to Do in Cancun, Mexico (The Ultimate List!)

Where is Cancún?

Cancún is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. Cancún is known for its gorgeous beaches, a multitude of resorts, and its club and nightlife scene.

It’s composed of 2 distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants.

Cancun is known for its wide array of inclusive resort options. One of my favorites is Grand Park Royal Cancun.

Map of Cancun, Mexico

Cancún is a great launching point to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and many additional resort areas such as Playa Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Riviera Maya. The Yucatán Peninsula separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, encompassing 3 Mexican states, plus portions of Belize and Guatemala.

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is bookended by 2 popular destinations: Cancún, with its high-rise hotels and nightlife, and, down the coast, the quieter Tulum which has a fun hippy beach town vibe as well as Mayan ruins.

Cancún is the most popular Mexico vacation spot for Americans. It has so much to offer: beaches, snorkeling, famous nightlife, a wide variety of resorts and all-inclusive hotels, shopping, and nearby islands, cenotes, Mayan ruins, and even theme parks.

Cancun offers options for families as well as those looking for a romantic getaway. They have also become quite a popular destination for spring breakers!

Top Cancun Travel Tips

Beyond what to pack for Cancun, I wanted to share a few helpful Cancun FAQ’s.

1) Dealing With Montezuma’s Revenge

Diarrhea is the leading health issue for international travel.

I know… it’s not a fun subject and it’s a situation we hope never happens, but the truth is statistics show that diarrhea is a leading health problem for international travel and affects up to 70% of travelers.

I travel to Mexico quite often. In the past, I would bring Pepto Bismol and a grapefruit seed extract supplement. If my stomach started to feel funny, I’d start popping Pepto and cross my fingers.

Why I recommend Travelan:

  • My personal experience! It is NOT fun to be sick on vacation and Travelan worked for me traveling in India and Mexico.
  • Travelan reduces the risk of occasional diarrhea and helps to neutralize gastrointestinal issues before they begin.
  • Uniquely formulated to be high in antibodies that target bacteria such as Enterotoxigenic E.coli (ETEC), and can help support and maintain your gastrointestinal and digestive function and health.
  • Take one or two caplets of Travelan before each meal, and the anti-ETEC antibodies in the product lay in wait in the gastrointestinal tract. If you consume food or drinks that are contaminated with diarrhea-causing bacteria such as ETEC, Travelan antibodies will bind to these bacteria, neutralizing them and inhibiting their attachment to the intestinal wall.
  • Travelan is recommended to be taken in high-risk environments where food and water sanitation is uncertain, including popular holiday destinations like Mexico, Bali and India. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever found for stomach issues.

2) Do I need to speak Spanish in Cancun?

Most of the hotels, tour agencies, bars, and restaurants in the tourist area of Cancun will speak English. If you stay at smaller hotels, you may find less of the staff speak English. Whenever I travel to a foreign country, I look for common phrases in the language and print it out and carry it with me. It’s also great to pick up a book with Everyday Spanish Phrases.

Mexican people are very friendly, kind and willing to help. As long as you try (even in broken Spanish, they will appreciate the effort).


3) Can I spend US Dollars in Cancun?

Everyone will accept USD in Cancun. But, beware that you will most likely receive your change in Pesos. So, it’s important to know the current exchange rate.  Also, it is customary to barter in Mexico. The first price a vendor gives you is not expected to be paid. They are expecting you to haggle.

4) Do I need to tip in Cancun?

La Parrilla Margarita in Cancun

Tips are expected in Mexico, similar to the US. 15% is a good standard tip. Some restaurants will add the tip to the check, so make sure to check your bill, so you don’t tip twice.

Speaking of tipping; in many of the restaurants, you will see mariachi bands. They usually charge a fee per song. Make sure to ask the cost before and not after!

5) Can I drink the Cancun water?

Do not drink tap water in Mexico. You also should be careful about ice in your drinks at remote or smaller restaurants. All of the big hotels and resorts will have filtered water and ice. I prefer to brush my teeth with bottled water as a precaution. Bottled water can be purchased inexpensively, or you can bring your own water bottle with filter.

Casa Magna Hotel in Cancun, Mexico

6) Is it safe to leave the Resort?

In Cancun, try to stick to the tourist areas and take organized tours. Use your common sense. You can get yourself into trouble anywhere! Don’t walk around alone at night, stay near the tourist zone restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Keep your eyes peeled for pickpockets.

7) How do I know if it’s safe to travel to Cancun?

You can easily verify current travel warnings for your trip by visiting the US Department of State website (if you’re based in the US).

8) Do I need vaccinations to visit Cancun?

No specific vaccinations are required for Cancun or Mexico in general, but check the CDC website to be sure. It is always a good idea to be up to date with all the standard travel vaccinations.


9) Do I need a plug adapter for Cancun?

You won’t need an adapter for US two-pronged cords, but any electronics which have a grounding wire (US three-pronged cords) may need an adapter. Many outlets in Mexico are two-prong only, and an adapter is the only way to plug in, say, your laptop if you’re bringing it.

10) What is the best time of year to visit Cancun?

Cancun is becoming more and more popular. The slow season is getting shorter and shorter. But, in general, prices peak from late December through – April.

May through early November tends to be the off-season when prices can be the lowest. Cancun does have a rainy season and can get hit by hurricanes (tends to be late summer).

Check historical weather patterns to get a good idea of when to visit based on your comfort levels. I’ve visited for Spring break, in August (during the hurricane season), and in January (higher chance of cooler weather). I have enjoyed all three and had beautiful weather during all my visits. I saw the most rain during my January visit.

11) Do I need a Passport to travel to Cancun?

riviera Maya, mexico
Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Yes. You will need a passport.

Tip: Your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months at the time of travel.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end and have an amazing time in Cancun.

Ultimate Cancun Packing List: 30 Key Items You Must Not Forget! Cancun is a popular tropical destination for luxury vacationers, beach lovers, and spring breakers. It has a hot and humid climate year-round, never going below the low 70s. Meaning you need to put some thought into your Cancun packing list. For a trip to Cancun, it is important to know what items are necessary to bring, but also to not overpack. So we’ve made this handy list so you know exactly what to wear in Cancun!

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Packing List

Get this Packing List!

Get a free, printer-friendly version of this packing list that you can use while packing (so you don’t forget anything important)!

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  1. I’ve never heard of Travelan, but sounds like something worth researching further.
    Luckily, I had diarrhea problems only twice in my traveling years (Ethiopia and Bali once). Even if I do feel it happens rarely, it is indeed delaying further traveling or discomfort in using looooong local buses that make you think whether there are better solutions to cope with yummy local food.

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