Ultimate Packing List for Mexico

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Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations for people from all over the world. Knowing what to add to your packing list for Mexico is essential.

People come to visit ancient remnants of civilizations past and of course to enjoy the beautiful weather and beaches.

Home to one of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza, Mexico is a fascinating and diverse destination to visit on vacation.

With sites like Tulum, The Pyramid of Cholula and Teotihuacan it’s no surprise that Mexico receives around 40 million tourists per year.

Preparing for your vacation can be one of the most stressful parts. We have visited Mexico more than a dozen times over the years and have visited multiple areas.

We know how and what to pack for the perfect vacation in this part of the world. 


The Ultimate Packing List for Mexico


Riviera Maya Coastline - Mexico Packing List

How to Decide What to Pur on Your Packing List for Mexico:

  • What will the weather be like: You can count on mostly sunny and breezy days during your vacation in Mexico.
  • What type of activities will you be doing: Mexico consists of bustling cities and beautiful beaches. Perhaps, your trip is a mix of both. Decide beforehand to make sure you pack accordingly.
  • How long am I staying: Will I need to make sure I can do laundry to repeat items or will I need to pack enough for my entire stay? Most hotels offer laundry services but if yours does not, do not expect to be able to stop by a laundromat in Mexico the same way as in the USA. They will weigh your clothes and charge you upfront per kilo of clothing. After that, they will wash, dry and fold your clothes, so if you have the time during your trip this is a great option.
Enjoying a pool in Mexico

Swimsuit

If the vacation you are taking involves any adventure on the coasts of Mexico you will want to add a swimsuit to your packing list for Mexico. Pack your suit according to the activities you may be participating in.

If you plan to spend your days participating in water activities you may want to consider wearing a rashguard.

Not only do they provide sun protection (if you purchase one with UPF), but they also provide protection from elements in the water.

If doing some diving, they also add an extra layer of insulation under your wet-suit. We both travel with two swimsuits so this way we always have one that is dry.

Women’s Swimsuits:

Men’s Swimsuits:

Sunrise on the beach in Mexico

Light Jacket

Even though Mexico is known for warm weather, when night falls, the temperature can start to feel quite cool. Pack a nice lightweight jacket to have available if you will be out exploring at night time.

If possible, you may want to get a lightweight rain jacket that can double as your night jacket and you will have a rain jacket handy in case of any surprise afternoon showers.

Women’s Jackets:

Men’s Jackets:

Divergent Travelers, Lina & David Stock, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Casual Clothes 

Whether you are spending your days around the beach or around a bustling city, the weather in Mexico will likely be warm.

This typically means no cotton, as the fabric can feel heavy, does not wick away moisture and provides no protection from the sun.

The best thing you can do is opt for clothing that has UPF in the fabric. Thanks to the wave in skin cancer and skin aging awareness and to great brands like Coolibar and Mott50, you can now find a wide range of stylish clothing with UPF factor.

Pack a good variety of tops and bottoms you can mix and match to minimize bringing too many items. If UPF clothing isn’t your thing, try to pack lightweight items made of linen and look for quick dry sweat-wicking items.

Women’s Lightweight Clothing:

Men’s Lightweight Clothing:

Sunglasses with tropical reflection

Sun Hat

Another good option for sun protection that is often overlooked is sun hats. Skin areas that are commonly forgotten when applying sunscreen are ears and the back of the neck.

An easy solution to this is to bring a wide brim hat. You can buy them in all different sizes and brands, but we recommend a hat with at least a 3-inch brim.

If going the UPF route, you will want to buy the highest rating which is always located on the tags of the hat. The highest UPF is 40-50+, which blocks 97-99% of UV radiation.

In addition to providing sun protection, UPF hats are also very lightweight and breathable so your head is not getting hot and sweaty as with normal baseball caps.

Women’s Sun Hats:

Men’s Sun Hats:

David Stock at a cenote in Mexico

Travel Towel

It is a good idea to pack your own quick-drying towel for your adventures in Mexico. Take a moment and think of the activities you will be doing while on vacation.

If you see yourself being out and about at beaches where there are no towels provided it may be a good idea to pack one.

We like the microfiber towels instead of packing a regular towel from home as our home towels are thick, heavy and slow to dry or a beach towel that can be even larger and thicker.

Most microfiber towels come in multiple sizes and pack down very small. The material is designed to be anti-odor and anti-mildew which will be great for all-day outdoor activities as they also dry up to 10 times faster than cloth or cotton towels.

Our Top Recommended Microfiber towels:

Resort pool in Cancun, Mexico

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must on every packing list for Mexico to help protect against the sun make sure to pack a good waterproof SPF 50+ sunscreen. The best is to get one with zinc oxide as the main ingredient because zinc oxide provides a physical barrier from the sun in addition to the many chemical barriers all sunscreens contain.

Always bring a sunscreen you are familiar with. The worst thing is to start applying your sunscreen and you don’t like how it goes on or how it smells.

This leads to you being less likely to want to re-apply as needed throughout your day in the sun. We have some great recommendations, but remember, the best sunscreen for you is the one you like and will enjoy using.

Our Top Recommended Sunscreen:

Catamaran sailing in Mexico

Dry Bag or Day Bag

It is always a good idea to bring along a dry bag if you will be spending time by the water throughout your vacation. This is a packing list for Mexico essential.

Even if your time will be spent hanging out on the beach a nice dry bag and prevent your stuff from getting water and sand on it.

You can find them in a couple of different designs like a shoulder bag or a backpack. Selecting a dry bag instead of a regular bag will ensure that items like your towel, camera, phone, etc. remain dry throughout your day by the water.

However, if your vacation to Mexico will be more of the city variety you may want to just pack a great day bag. I always like to pick one that has a lot of pockets and one that can be worn as a cross-body style.

Our Top Recommended Bags:

David Stock diving underwater in Mexico

Camera Gear

During your trip to Mexico, you will have several fantastic photo opportunities. Whether you are headed to the sites of Tulum, Chicken Itza, The Pyramid of Cholula or Teotihuacan be sure to bring your favorite camera and accessories along to get the perfect shot.

Whichever camera you choose to bring along always pack extra batteries so you are always ready to get the best shot.

In addition to a great regular camera, you may also want to bring with or invest in buying, a GoPro camera. With a great wide-angle lens and video options, it is a great small camera to have with you on vacation.

You can also buy waterproof essentials to take it with you snorkeling. We like the GoPro dome port as you can take pictures that are above and below the water in one shot!

Our Top Recommended Camera Essentials:

Bridge in Cancun, Mexico

Comfy Sandals

No packing list for Mexico would be complete without a suggestion for the best sandal. Since it is likely that you will be spending some or all of your time walking around outside in the warm climate it is a good idea to pack a pair of sandals.

We like to choose sandals from Merrell or Teva. These sandals provide comfort, protection, and support.

The best part about this is many of these “sporty” sandals can double as water shoes as they are quick-drying and have good tread on the bottom of the shoe.

You will only need to pack one pair for your trip and as with your hiking boots, make sure to wear them ahead of time to make sure they are a good fit. You wouldn’t want to bring them as your only sandals and get blisters on the first day.

Our Top Recommended Women’s Sandals:

Our Top Recommended Men’s Sandals:

Beach cabanas in Mexico

E-Reader

No matter where I travel to I always bring along my kindle for entertainment if I have some downtime. You can find several different E-Reader options on the market today but personally, nothing beats the Kindle Paperwhite.

Not only does the E-reader have a battery life of up to 8 weeks on one single charge but it also adjusts to being easily read in the sunlight without reflection or glare and has great dim settings for easy reading at night.

Alternatively, you can download the Amazon Kindle app for your phone. However, this will drain your battery and you will not get the added benefit of no reflection or glare.

Our Top Recommended E-Readers:

Oakley Sunglasses on the beach in Mexico

Sunglasses

No matter where in Mexico your vacation brings you, it will most likely involve time outside in the sun. In order to protect your eyes, you should always wear a good pair of sunglasses.

You can find many options available for sunglasses but always make sure your pair have UV protection. If you can opt for a pair that are polarized. Polarized sunglasses reduce the glare from the sun making your view through the lenses more clear.

However, polarization does not increase UV protection, which is very important. Pick a pair that fit you well, don’t pinch your nose and won’t easily fall off if you look down. 

Our Top Recommended Women’s Sunglasses:

Our Top Recommended Men’s Sunglasses:

Lina Stock sitting on a beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Monkey Mats 

Monkey mats are a portable “floor” for in/outdoor use. Monkey mats provide a large, clean surface you can take everywhere in an attached ultra-compact pouch.

They are 5 feet by 5 feet in size and come in multiple colors and fabrics. They are a great item to have with you on vacation especially for beach days as they are waterproof, sand-proof and have weighted corners so it won’t blow around on those breezy days.

Our Top Recommended Monkey Mat:

Barcelo Maya Resort in Mexico

Universal Adapter

Mexico uses the same electrical outlet as the USA and Canada, so if you are from those countries you will not need to buy an adapter. If from another country make sure to buy a plug adapter before leaving for your vacation.

Our Top Recommended Adapters:

David Stock sitting in a beach chair in Mexico

Multi-Outlet Surge Protector

It is always nice to travel with a multi-outlet surge protector. This way you won’t have to start unplugging the lamps and the alarm clock in order to find a spot for all your devices to charge.

We like to choose the ones that have both USB charging ports and regular USA outlet sockets so you can plug in several items with different chargers at the same time.

Our Top Recommended Multi-outlet Surge Protectors:

Sunset in Cancun, Mexico

Hanging Toiletry Bag

This may seem like a silly item to include but it really is a great space-saving travel item. In addition to space-saving, you also leave everything in the bag you brought it in and won’t have to worry about packing it at the last minute and forgetting something.

Most hanging toiletry bags come with a hanger similar to a clothing hanger hook which will allow you to hang it from almost anywhere and avoid all that clutter of items around the bathroom sink.

Our Top Recommended Hanging Toiletry Bag:

White sand beach and palapas in Cancun, Mexico

Electronics Organizers

Odds are you will be bringing several different electronic items and chargers with you on your trip to Mexico and an organizer will be very helpful in keeping everything together.

Most organizers contain: Multiple elastic bands and mesh pockets for small items like slender cables, earphones, flash USB drives, SD cards or wall chargers

Our Top Recommended Electronics Organizers:

Lina Stock on the beach in Cancun Mexico

Water Bottle

Bringing your own water bottle is a good way to save money and stay hydrated on your adventures in Mexico.

Mexico does not have drinkable tap water, but it is likely that the place you choose for accommodation will have a clean water tank for you to fill your bottle for the day.

Our favorite is the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle which is a great space saver. Once you have emptied the bottle you can roll the base up to the lid for storage.

Our Top Recommended Water Bottle:

Lina Stock in a hammock near a Cenote - Mexico Packing List

Portable Battery Power Bank

Power banks are perhaps one of the best inventions for travelers ever and this item belongs on your packing list for Mexico. They are compact and have the ability to charge and even re-charge your electronic devices on the go multiple times.

The larger the mAh (milliamp hours) the better the ability it has to store power for charging devices. Opt for one with at least 10,000mAh.

Our Top Recommended Power Banks:

Whether you are packing for a city or beach vacation in Mexico we hope this list helps make your trip go a little more smoothly.


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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