What to Pack for Cancun

Cancun continues to be one of the top spring break destinations in the world thanks to its ideal weather, turquoise waters, and hospitable atmosphere. Plus, there’s something for everyone. While the beaches take center stage, there’s plenty of time to jet ski, zip line, hike, bike, and swim, among the other various things to do in Cancun.

The tropical locale is also known for its all-inclusive resorts filled with luxurious amenities that may make you never want to leave the property. For many, it’s paradise. In terms of what to pack for Cancun, luxury designer swimwear should be part of your travel essentials, no matter what accommodations and activities are involved. Whatever else ends up in your luggage depends on the type of vacation you have planned. 

Will it include days on the shore sitting under the palm leaves of a palapa, exhilarating adventures, or a mix of both? Lay out your different clothing options and visualize where you’ll wear them. Start with these must-haves when planning your trip south of the border. Keep reading to learn about our top packing tips and essentials.

Embracing the Beach Vibes 

An all-inclusive resort is an ideal option for those who want to slow their pace and soak in the relaxation of having everything available at their fingertips. If your plan is to head from the pool to the beach and back again, then you won’t need much more than a few of your favorite designer bikinis and beach cover ups to get by. 

When packing for Cancun, keep in mind many all-inclusive resorts do have a dress code when it comes to dining or exploring other areas of the property other than the pool or spa. Some don’t allow sandals and may require more than a cover up. The clothing essentials you’ll need on your packing list for this type of getaway are: 

Cover up(s)
Resort dresses or skirts
Flip flops
Dressier shoes
Light jacket or sweater

    Depending on how long you plan to stay, one or two swimsuits should be enough to alternate between. A t-back bikini in a deep hue like the Burgundy Bondi Triangle Bikini or a patterned one-piece swimsuit like the Spring Vanilla Rosie One Piece are both beautiful options. Choose colors, cuts, and prints that make you feel confident and ready to enjoy the warm weather. 

    When you’re headed to the beach, wearing a cover up and beach sandals works well, but you’ll want to change into a maxi dress or skirt and complementary top for a dinner in the evening. The sheer style of the Lola Nara Dress is effortlessly cool and the Off White Miss Long Dress provides more coverage if that’s what the dress code calls for. These are only two stunning examples that are perfect for warm weather. 

    Other stylish choices include kimonos and tunics in various colors and patterns. Many of these can make the transition from beachwear to clothing that’s appropriate for dining, shopping, and exploring, so they’re versatile essentials to consider when deciding what to pack. Plus, the lightweight fabrics take up less room, leaving you with more space for other items like shoes and bags. Keep in mind- dressy shoes don’t necessarily mean stilettos; espadrilles or low-heeled sandals are typically appropriate.

    If you’re not sure about the dress code of the place you’re staying at, check the website or call and speak to the concierge to get a better idea of what’s recommended. Additionally, if resort dresses or skirts aren’t part of your typical wardrobe, opt for a flowy pair of pants or a jumpsuit instead. They are equally chic and should be part of any vacation wardrobe.

    Finally, although the weather in Cancun is mostly sunny, there’s always a chance of rainy days or cooler temps in the evenings when you stay in Cancun. Pack a cardigan or denim jacket just in case. As long as you have these staples, any other clothing you take is a bonus.

    Dressing for an Adventure

    The city is known for its historical ruins, eclectic markets, and day trip opportunities, which allow you to see beyond the sand. For travelers who are taking a more adventurous route on their Mexican excursion, pack according to your itinerary. In addition to the clothing essentials delegated for beach days, things to pack for Cancun include:

    Tennis shoes or hiking boots
    Water shoes
    T-shirts and shorts

    When you’re trekking on dirt paths or biking winding roads, flip flops simply won’t do to protect your feet. You’ll want footwear with a sturdy sole to give you enough grip to navigate safely. If you plan to zip line or explore ruins, closed-toed shoes are often required. The terrain is often rocky and uneven with inclines and dips along the way. On the other hand, if you’re planning a day trip for snorkeling or scuba diving, water shoes can help protect your feet from the hot sand and underwater rocks and coral.

    Lastly, while cover ups are perfect for hanging out on the sand, you'll want pieces that are fully lined when exploring. Fortunately, many one piece swimsuits can double as a bodysuit and be worn under shorts and a t-shirt or a loosely-tied button-down shirt. The Black Milano Mel One Piece is a classic option with a timeless cut that’s flattering for all.

    What you wear on your day excursions can be fashionable and practical at the same time. Loose pieces or unsupportive shoes aren’t best for when you’re on-the-go. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t add your own sophisticated style to anything you wear.

    Tropical Vacation Accessories and Must-Haves 

    Keep the jewelry minimal when traveling, in general, to avoid mishaps. An armful of delicate bracelets or a few pairs of statement earrings is likely all you’ll need to complement your vacation wardrobe. Pack a specific jewelry bag or organizer to keep everything easily accessible and in one place. Other accessories to pack are: 

    Sun hat
    Beach tote and/or travel backpack
    Evening purse
    Disposable rain poncho (especially if you’re traveling during October, the rainiest time of year)
    Swimsuit bag 

      Also, when traveling to any exotic location, be prepared for how the elements can affect your health and skin in ways you may not be used to at home. Pack what you need for your regular skincare and makeup routine and don’t forget about: 

      Mosquito repellent
      Pain relievers
      Seasickness medicine 
      Travel first-aid kit

        These are all typically available at the Cancun airport or your hotel but are likely more expensive and may not be the size or strength you need. By making it part of your travel essentials list and packing them ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about tracking down what you need once you get there.

        Last But Not Least: Documents and Electronics 

        As you’re packing for Cancun and running through the summer or spring break outfits you’re going to wear, take note of all the documents you’ll need. In addition to what you may already have in your wallet (driver’s license, debit card, credit card), don’t forget your passport and travel insurance and information. In case your phone doesn’t get service or runs out of battery at an inopportune time, it’s nice to have a paper backup to get you where you need to go. Store all important documents in a separate plastic bag to avoid water damage or tearing. 

        Be selective about the number of electronics you carry. Your phone, charger, and a small laptop or tablet for the plane will likely cover the basics. You might even want to bring a waterproof camera to capture the experience! While it’s not likely you’ll need an adaptor, it’s smart to pack one if your electronics have three-pronged cords because most outlets in Cancun will only have two. Also, if you plan to be away from your hotel for most of the day, a cordless phone charger will power up a low battery when on the move.

        Take the Less Is More Approach When Packing

        When deciding what to pack for Cancun, separate what you need from what you want to take with you. Making a checklist in advance may be helpful to keep you on track and avoid overpacking. Once you have all of the essentials, you may realize those extras you thought of before can stay home instead. When headed to the beach, you don’t need to pack layers upon layers of clothes or clunky shoes that take up much-needed space in your luggage. 

        Trendy swimwear is always the first to make the cut, followed by cover ups and resort wear. All are equally important to feel fully prepared for your trip. Make sure to dress for warm weather and review any dress codes that apply beforehand, but keep things fun in vibrant colors and playful prints. Heading to the shores of Mexico is an excuse to break out your vacation-ready wardrobe and feel fancier than normal even if you’ll be spending most of your time with your toes in the sand. 

        Deciding what to wear is half the fun when planning a trip to Cancun. If you had been searching for things to do for spring break and finally booked a trip, the excitement will commence once you start packing because that means the Cancun travel countdown is officially on. Just keep in mind that life will be much easier when you minimize your packing list and stick to stylish essentials. As long as you have beach-friendly basics, you’ll be good to go and ready to experience the beauty of the turquoise waters and sunny beaches.