What to Pack for Cancun: 19 Best Items to Bring

What to Pack for Cancun: Your trip to Cancun is booked, your itinerary is planned and now all that’s left to do is pack! Cancun is a tropical paradise with so much to love…beautiful powdery white beaches, vibrant coral reefs, beautiful natural attractions, delicious food and a plethora of excellent shopping outlets. With so many activities lined up during your trip it’s important to pack accordingly. If you’re wondering what to pack for Cancun, wonder no more because we’ve got you covered! We’re also covering that all-important list of what not to bring because nobody likes a cluttered suitcase with no space for souvenirs and fashion finds. 

What to pack for Cancun – your list of essentials

Water bottle 

While you’ll be sipping cocktails poolside or on the beach most days, it’s important to stay hydrated if you’ll be spending lots of time in the sun. Bring along a water bottle you can refill daily at your resort’s water station (remember the tap water is generally a no-no). 

Hat or cap 

You’ll find having a sun hat or cap super handy, especially while you’re on the beach or on hikes when you don’t want that hot sun directly in your face. This is a must when planning what to pack for Cancun.  


Don’t head to your beach vacation without packing sunscreen! An SPF of at least 50 is recommended to be applied daily to all exposed areas before heading into the sun. If you swim, be sure to reapply sunscreen even if it says it’s water resistant. 

Bug repellent

Mosquitos do buzz around Cancun so don’t forget to pack bug spray or bug repellent bracelets to keep those suckers at bay! Rumor has it, mosquitos aren’t a fan of gin so all the more reason to sip on that G&T at happy hour!


Most resorts offer beach towels for use onsite but if you’re going on excursions or will be visiting public beaches, we recommend packing your own beach towel to use. You won’t regret bringing your own towel when deciding what to pack for Cancun. 

Waterproof phone case

If you’re an avid Instagrammer and will be documenting your trip, definitely invest in a waterproof phone case. This ensures your phone will stay safe whether you’re on boat trips or even lazing on the beach as they also protect your device from sand particles. 

Activated charcoal capsules

With all the new food you’ll be trying, you don’t want to feel miserable with a less than happy belly. Popping 1 or 2 activated charcoal pills if you suspect you’ve eaten something suspicious can prevent or greatly reduce the severity of illness. When planning what to pack for Cancun, this is a must-have in your medicine bag. 

Portable phone charger 

Wouldn’t it suck if you were in the middle of a day trip or ready for that perfect beach selfie and your battery dies? Prevent dead batteries and missing out on photo opportunities with a portable battery charger. 

Underwater camera 

Catch all that incredible underwater aquatic life when snorkeling or scuba diving with an inexpensive underwater camera. 

Reef shoes 

Coral reefs can be sharp as can rock pools, so if you’ll be adventuring in rocky areas or in the reefs, definitely pack reef shoes for your trip to avoid cut feet. 

Bathing Suits 

This one is a no brainer because you will practically be living in your bathing suit for the duration of your trip! Pack a couple of different types or styles so you’ve got something suitable for all kinds of activities. 

Beach Cover-Ups 

For the ladies, when you need to visit the bathroom or go to a restaurant after being on the beach, slipping on a comfortable beach cover up is the way to go. 

Flip Flops & Sneakers

Flip flops are a staple when it comes to what to pack for Cancun but many travellers forget about another type of shoes they’ll regret not bringing along…sneakers! You’ll need them for hikes and some other outdoor activities. 

Aloe Gel 

Aloe gel is great for burns, bug bites and sunburn. Your skin can get dehydrated after being in the sun everyday if you’re not used to it and aloe gel can restore hydration. 

Evening Clothes 

Your resort restaurants and restaurants in town sometimes have a dress code and you’ll need to dress a little smarter at night. Men often need to wear collared shirts and closed shoes while ladies can get away with summer dresses or jeans. It’s also nice to pack some smart clothes if you’ll be hitting the nightclubs in Cancun. 

Digital Camera 

Sometimes your phone camera just doesn’t do the scenery justice and it’s time to whip out the digital camera. You’re also much more likely to get those images developed once you’re home to keep as memories of your trip forever. 

Motion Sickness Remedies 

If you get seasick then we recommend packing motion sickness tablets and acupressure bracelets. That way, you can enjoy boat rides, ferry rides or other activities that could spark a bout of motion sickness. 

Beach bag or backpack 

You’ll often be on the beach the whole day so packing a pack with everything you need for the day is handy. They’re also great to take on your excursions and to store any purchases you make during the day. 

Light Jacket 

If you’re visiting in the rainy season or in winter, a light jacket and rain jacket is advisable to bring along.  


When deciding what to pack for Cancun, if you use our list you’re not going to regret not packing these essential items! They will make your trip that much more enjoyable. There are a couple of things you should NOT take which includes any fruit (it is illegal to bring fruit into Mexico), lots of cash (there are lots of ATM’s) or expensive jewelry that can make you a target for pickpockets. Follow these guidelines and you’re all set for the trip of a lifetime!

See Also:

10 Top Resorts in Riviera Maya

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