Packing For Tulum and The Riviera Maya

Looking for the perfect Tulum packing list? In this guide, I share everything you need to pack for the perfect Tulum vacation, including tips and personal experiences.

 

Ah, Tulum! I’m so excited to be visiting *yet again* in a few weeks.

Packing for Tulum is sort of a breeze. I always pack everything in a small carry-on suitcase and I’m good to go! If you’re wondering what to pack for Tulum, here’s a packing list with the essentials as well as a few useful things that will make your trip easier.

Clothes + accessories

Pack light, breathable fabrics. Tulum is hot and humid year-round (yay!), so you’ll want to make sure you don’t wind up hating your clothes. You’ll likely live in dresses, skirts, or shorts.

A few dresses. I like a mix of short flowery dresses and maxi dresses for evenings.

Three bathing suits + one cover-up.

Denim shorts. I wore dresses 99% of the time except when I visited ruins or rented a bike.

A few tank tops. 

Light sweater.

Underwear. Honestly, you’ll be wearing a bathing suit 90% of the time while in Tulum.

Flip flops. You’ll be living in these, so make sure they’re durable and not slippery (a good brand is Havianas).

Sneakers + socks. Not 100% necessary but useful when visiting Coba or for a day trip to Chichen Itza. Still, though, I’ve visited both numerous times wearing just flip flops and it was fine.

Light sweater. Tulum is warm year-round, but it can get chilly during the evenings and early mornings. I always pack a light sweater just in case (also useful when taking buses with aircon or in the car).

Sunglasses. 

Small backpack + purse. A small backpack for day trips and a cross-body bag for every-day use. I’m currently using my round rattan bag religiously as a day purse. I love it because it’s stylish, really sturdy, and also really hard to pickpocket.

 

Wallet. Extra points if it’s a travel wallet! I’m currently loving this one from Zoppen. It can hold your passport, money, tickets, and more. It comes in a bunch of different colors, too!
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Toiletries

Humidity and makeup don’t get along very well and Tulum is all about going back to the basics. Ditch the makeup and pack only essential toiletries like face wash, lotion, shampoo, chapstick, and toothpaste + toothbrush. Oh, and mosquito spray – so important!

Obviously, you’ll want to bring sunblock, too. I recommend Stream2Sea’s sunblock as it’s reef-safe and doesn’t contaminate the water. You might know this already, but Tulum’s beaches are suffering from over-tourism recently and you can avoid contributing to the pollution by making sure your sunblock is reef-safe. You can get Stream2Sea’s products on Amazon, they have other really cool stuff, too!

 

Technology

Camera + a few SD Cards

Phone.

Kindle (optional).

Portable charger. Not 100% necessary, but definitely useful so your phone never runs out of battery. I use this one from Anker. I’m also currently a bit obsessed with this phone-charging passport cover by Lovie Style.

 

Really useful extras

A purifying water bottle like the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier. Drinking tap water in Tulum is a no-no, but having to buy bottled water all the time can get annoying, expensive, and is also not sustainable. The GRAYL is a water bottle that purifies tap water by getting rid of viruses and chemicals in just a few seconds. I’ve used mine all over the world and it has never failed me.

Travel towel. I used to think that travel towels were some sort of travel gimmick, but they’re actually pretty cool. I used to go around the world carrying a regular one, not realizing how much space it took in my luggage and how long they took to get dry.

Travel towels are really light, dry up super quickly, and are so thin that they barely take any space in my luggage. It took me a few days to get used to the texture, but now I never travel without one (they can also double as blankets when it gets cold in the plane or in a bus). I recommend this one from Youphoria.

Packing cubes. They’ll save you tons of space because they compress air and they’re also a great way to stay organized. I can unpack easily and I always know where to find my things instead of scrambling through my bag and making a mess as soon as I arrive at my accommodation. I recommend this set of packing cubes from Ebags.

Dry Bag. If you’re planning on visiting beach destinations, a dry bag will soon become your best friend. Even though Tulum is safe, petty thefts do occur and there’s nothing I hate more than having to leave my camera + wallet at home whenever I go to the beach (that or, having to take turns when going into the water so someone can keep an eye on my belongings).

Enter Sea To Summit’s Dry Bag! I got it as a gift when traveling Southeast Asia and it has become a must in my packing list. You can fill it up with any valuables you don’t want to risk losing and take it for a swim with you rather than risking leaving your things at the beach and having to worry that someone will grab them. You can get yours on Amazon.

 

Travel Insurance for Tulum & Mexico

Medical care in Mexico is great, but it can get expensive. Mexico has so many adventurous activities to offer and so, you’ll want to make sure your current insurance will cover you in the case of any accidents. Honestly, you’ll probably be fine, but the chance of something happening does exist, and there’s nothing like having peace of mind during your trip, right?

If you don’t currently have travel insurance, I highly recommend World Nomads. They’ll cover most nationalities and over 150 adventure activities that most other insurance companies don’t. You can also make claims online and even extend or adjust your insurance while you’re already traveling.

 

And that’s the list! Packing for Tulum is very simple, really! As long as you bring a few bikinis, you’re probably good to go!

 

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Sharing the ultimate packing guide for Tulum and the Riviera Maya (Yucatan peninsula in Mexico), including tips on what to pack for women and what to leave behind!

 

Disclaimer: This packing list contains affiliate links. That means that, if you decided to purchase through them, I might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog running, so thank you! 🙂

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