A complete Cancún packing list: all you need for a Caribbean trip

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What we talk about in this article

Planning a trip to Cancún? Ensure a seamless Caribbean getaway with a little help from this Cancún packing list. Personally, I don’t like the packing part, I always want to get it over with as quickly as possible. On the other hand, I really like to have just the right stuff with me, not too much, not too less. That’s where this list comes in handy. From beach essentials to practical items, this list has got you covered for a stress-free holiday.

To make it easy, download the printable packing list so you can check off items while packing.  Preparing for a trip can go smoothly, let’s do it!

Cancun packing list


Selecting the right luggage is key. Consider your comfort needs and activities. For a Cancún trip, think suitcase, carry-on, and day backpack. Consider a backpack instead of a suitcase for added flexibility.


Choosing a well-sized suitcase with 360° wheels can be a game-changer. Look for durability, easy manoeuvrability, and scratch resistance when selecting one. If you opt for a set, ensure it includes a carry-on that doesn't exceed 22 inches or 55 cm.

Carry on

When seeking a reliable carry-on, prioritize the same aspects as you would with a suitcase. Opt for lightweight and sturdy options. Although it might cost a bit extra, select one designed for longevity and comfortable travel.

Underseat carry on

An underseat carry-on is ideal if you like to bring extra items onboard or travel light. Choose one with multiple pockets to keep essentials organized - like laptop, e-reader, power cords, passport, cellphone, and more. Ensure it has spacious compartments for clothes and a pair of shoes.


Travelling with a backpack is convenient for moving around. Unlike rolling suitcases, backpacks are versatile on all kind of terrain. Osprey offers great options, but many others are available. Choose a backpack that fits your height and weight well. Avoid oversized packs. Opt for multiple compartments, quick-drying breathable material, adjustable waistband, and back-supporting straps.


For day trips, a compact daypack is sufficient to carry your essentials like valuables, snacks, a water bottle, and items such as a swimsuit, towel, and sweater for cool evenings or the bus's air conditioning.

Packing cubes

Once you've picked out your must-haves, it's time to start organizing them smartly. It's so much simpler when everything has its spot. That's where packing cubes come in handy. With different sizes to choose from, you can keep your stuff tidy. A nicely packed suitcase or backpack really steps up the travel game, making it a breeze and more fun.

Money belt

Unfortunately, pickpocketing and theft can happen in any destination. Keep your valuables safe by wearing a money belt or security pouch under your clothes. This will give you peace of mind while exploring Cancún's bustling markets and tourist attractions.
Packing list Cancún - Electronics


For us, it’s always essential to bring our laptop along, but I can imagine, that for a lot of people, a beach holiday is just to get away from all things work-related, laptop included. Still, some basic electronics are a daily part of life, and they can make your travel experience a lot easier and more fun.

Phone with a good camera

When your phone is your main camera, ensure it has a good camera function. Many brands now offer models with optimized cameras. If you're satisfied with yours, great! Otherwise, consider upgrading. We used a Canon camera for travel before; it takes great shots but is bulky and the extra lenses add bulk. It's less convenient for places like the beach. We switched to our cellphone camera that is easy to carry and makes quality pictures.

Noise-cancelling headphone or Earbuds

A noise-cancelling headphone improved the quality of my travels so much, that I don't leave without it. Especially on a long flight or bus ride, it helps to relax. You can connect it to your phone and listen to your favourite playlist, E-book or podcast. I have a Sony headphone for several years now, and I use it intensely. It still works well and the day it gives up, I'll order a new one straight away.

E-reader or tablet

It's so relaxing to just read a good book or watch your favourite show next to the pool or before you go to sleep. With a waterproof e-reader, you have the luxury to bring as many books as you want, and the battery lasts for weeks. A tablet is an easy solution to stay connected, watch whatever you like and work on your tan at the same time.

Waterproof camera

When you're spending a lot of time in and around the water, a waterproof camera is essential for all your beach and water activities. A GoPro is a solid choice, especially for extreme sports, due to its durability in rough situations. However, there are other excellent options available as well.

Multi charger

Charge all your electronics simultaneously so you never run out of juice. It's convenient and saves up space in your luggage as well. Make sure you choose the right cord outlet for the country you visit.

Power bank

You can do some really nice day trips from Cancún, and for those longer trips a power bank is a must to keep all your devices running. Some juice to use Google Maps can be a real lifesaver to find your way back. And of course, you want to keep the battery of your camera charged, to take all those amazing photos of your trip. Look for one that's lightweight, compact, and can charge with high-speed power.

Bluetooth trackers

Secure your valuable items with a tracker. This way, you can track your stuff with an app on your phone when it gets lost, forgotten or god forbid, stolen. We use AirTags, as they are perfect to connect with our iPhone. If you have a Samsung, use SmartTags instead. Of course, there are other good options out there.

Electronics Organizer

And last but not least, a good organizer travel case makes your life on the road much easier. Keep all your items and accessories neatly together for quick access.
Packing list Cancún - Women's clothing

Women's clothing

Let’s explore essential clothing for a Cancún beach trip. It’s so easy to overpack, but you actually don’t need that much when the weather is consistently lovely. Opt for versatile items that can be mixed and matched. Think about layers as well, so you can feel comfortable after a day in the water or on a chilly air-conditioned bus.


The most important item on the list might be your swimsuit or bikini. If you're planning on doing some intense water sports, think about bringing a comfortable swimsuit that can handle some action. For these hot days, pack extra bikini tops as a more comfortable alternative to bras.

Swimsuit cover-up

A nice swimsuit cover-up is perfect for walking to the beach or pool and back, or on a hot day trip, in between all the action. This can be a sundress, sarong or kaftan.

Merino Underwear, bras & socks

For a comfortable option in hot weather, consider merino underwear. It's lightweight, breathable, durable, quick-drying, and incredibly soft. Check out Icebreaker for top-quality merino products. If hiking is on the agenda, bring along some sturdy, longer socks as well.


You can't go to the Caribbean without a comfortable pair of shorts. Next to your bikini, this is the item you'll probably be wearing the most on your trip. Think casual, comfortable and choose a colour that easily matches your tops.

Casual pants

A casual pants to go out for dinner in the evening or to comfortably wear on a day trip is another must-have when travelling in hot weather. Choose a pair with wider legs and in light, breathable material such as cotton or linen. They even look good wrinkled, so that's perfect for travel.

Tank Tops

Pack a variety of tank tops to switch up your look. Opt for fitted tops for sports and looser ones for a relaxed vibe. Choose colours that complement your other items. Stick to classic colours such as white, blue, and grey, and add pops of your favourite colours and prints for extra style.

Short sleeve tops

Next on the list are a couple of short sleeve tops, to cover up that sun-kissed skin from time to time. Also, here, think about breathable fabrics in easy to match colours and add some with a nice print as well.

Long sleeve tops

Take 2 or 3 long sleeve tops with you, they are perfect for a chilly evening or on the bus. Always put a long sleeve top in your day pack. It' doesn't take up a lot of space and can be a life saver when you travel with ADO bus service, their airco's can be brutal, brrr.


A sun dress is perfect to go to the beach, walk around town on those hot and sunny days, or even to dress up for a night out. Choose one that's comfortable, light, and that doesn't wrinkle fast.

Beach skirt

A skirt is perfect on a hot day with a tank top and sandals, and in the evenings with a dressier blouse. It instantly elevates your outfits and adds versatility.

Sweaters & hoodies

These are the bulky items. Luckily, you don't need to wear them much, so choose one or two that match your other clothes. Personally, I always take a hoodie, because it's so comfy and adds a sporty touch. And then I take a lighter vest or cardigan that's less bulky and combines well with the dress and shorts.
Cancún packing list - women's footwear

Women's footwear

When selecting footwear, think about the activities you want to do. In the tropics, you need a good pair of sandals or flip-flops. Sneakers are perfect for active day trips. And for adventurous outings, invest in sturdy hiking boots.

I think footwear is something that you better buy in-store than online. Always try on shoes before making a purchase! The fit should be perfect from the start. If they don’t feel right initially, they’re unlikely to improve with time. That said, I’ll add some links for inspiration.

Sandals & Flip-flops

You're going to spend most of your holiday in sandals or flip-flops, so choose a comfortable pair. Look for sandals with good arch support and cushioning to prevent foot pain. You can also opt for a water-friendly pair that can double as shower shoes.


Don't underestimate the power of a comfortable, stylish sneaker. If you plan on doing any exploring or hiking, pack a pair of sneakers that can handle different terrain. They're also great for when you want a break from sandals and want a more covered shoe. Plus, they can easily be dressed up for a casual night out.

Hiking boots

Invest in quality hiking boots for off-the-beaten-path adventures. Choose a pair that's breathable, lightweight, and waterproof. Additionally, make sure they have good traction and ankle support to prevent injuries.
Cancún packing list - men's clothing

Men's clothing

Packing for a Caribbean holiday is easy. Just think, lightweight, casual and breathable. Linen and cotton or your go-to fabrics for those scorching hot days. Shorts, a swim short, comfortable pants and some button-down shirts are must-brings for this trip. Take a nice shirt and a comfy cardigan & sweater for those nights out, and you’re all set.

Swim short

A swim short is the first item on this list, because you will definitely hit the beach in Cancún. Look for a pair with quick-drying fabric and pockets, so you can easily transition from the beach to exploring.

Underwear & socks

The sun is hot and you'll sweat a lot. Merino is the go-to choice - great for cold and hot weather. Soft, lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying fabric. Icebreaker offers quality non-synthetic fibers. Remember sturdy socks for your walking boots on a trip to Chichén Itza.

Linen beach shorts

A casual beach short out of linen or cotton is the best choice for a tropical holiday. The loose & breathable fabric feels so comfortable against your skin, especially in hot weather. It's super stylish and it doesn't matter if it wrinkles, it looks good anyway.

Casual beach pants

Go casual but stay stylish at the same time with a comfy beach pants. Combine it with a tank top for a casual day out and dress it up with a nice buttton down shirt for a night out

Tank tops

Bring enough tank tops so you can switch whenever you need it. Tops don't take up much space and you will wear them a lot.

Short sleeve tops & button down shirts

A casual short sleeve button down shirt is so comfortable, and it looks effortlessly chique. In a shirt with tropical print, you immediately get in the Caribbean vibe. If you're not into Hawaiian prints, go for a basic colour, you can never go wrong with that, and it's also easy to match.

Long sleeve tops

Pack at least one long-sleeve top. It's compact in your day pack and can make a significant difference on a cool, air-conditioned bus.

Sweater & cardigan

When it comes to selecting larger items, avoid going overboard. Opt for something that pairs nicely with your pants and is versatile for various occasions. A sporty hoodie and comfy cardigan offer you a relaxed and stylish choice.
Cancún packing list - men's footwear

Men's footwear

Okay, shoes! For a beach holiday, sandals or flip-flops are mandatory. Choose a pair of sneakers or easy slip ons and add a pair of quality hiking boots and your set. Footwear is the one category I highly suggest purchasing in-store for the opportunity to try them on. Ensuring the perfect fit for your feet is important.

Sandals & flip-flops

For a beach holiday, sandals or flip-flops are essential. Look for a pair with good arch support and comfortable straps to avoid any discomfort while walking on the sand.

Sneakers or slip ons

A versatile pair of sneakers or slip-ons is ideal for any vacation. They can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and offer comfort for long days of exploring.

Hiking boots

For those venturing off the usual trails, consider investing in quality hiking boots. Seek out pairs that offer breathability, lightness, waterproofing, excellent grip, and ankle stability to ensure a safe trekking experience.
Cancún packing list - beach essentials

Beach essentials

Essential items for a tropical holiday include sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to pack a beach towel and blanket for relaxing on the sand. Keep all these items handy in a stylish beach bag.

Beach blanket

With Cancún's crystal-clear waters and stunning white sand beaches, you'll want to spend most of your days lounging on the beach. Having a beach blanket will not only provide a comfortable spot to lay down on, but also protect you from the hot sand.

Beach towel

A beach towel is not only great for drying off after a dip in the ocean, but also for laying down on the sand or using as a makeshift picnic blanket. Look for quick-drying towels to avoid any musty smells from damp towels.


Don't forget to pack a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the bright rays of the sun. Not only will they provide protection, but they can also add a stylish touch to your holiday outfits.

Eco-friendly sunscreen

Opt for eco-friendly formulas that lack ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which harm the coral reef. That way you're not only safeguarding your skin but also playing a part in protecting the diverse marine life and precious coral ecosystems that make places like Cancún so unique and beautiful.

Sun hat

Protect your face and head from the strong Mexican sun with a stylish sun hat. Not only will it provide much-needed shade, but it can also be a fashionable accessory to elevate your holiday look.

Beach bag

Carry all your beach essentials in a handy beach bag to the ocean or to the swimming pool. Look for a bag made of durable material to protect your belongings. A beach bag with pockets is also great for organizing and keeping items easily accessible while you relax under the sun.
Cancún packing list - toiletries - make-up - medication

Toiletries, make-up & medical kit

There are a few other items that can come in handy during your Cancún holiday. Next to your toiletries, consider packing a small first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and any necessary medications. You never know when a headache or minor injury may occur. 

Toiletries & make-up

Remember to pack all your essential toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and soap. Ladies, pack your favourite make-up and skincare products, but remember less is more - the sun will make you shine naturally.

Medication & first aid

Bring any necessary medication, including motion sickness pills for boat trips and day tours. Don't forget bug repellent to ward off pesky mosquitoes. Carrying a compact first aid kit is a smart choice.

Cancún packing list summary

Below, you can find a checklist for this Cancún packing list. It consists of 3 pages. (click the arrow on the bottom of the page) I left some boxes open, so you can add some stuff if you like to take more items with you. You can also use the miscellaneous box to add more items. If you’re looking for fun stuff to do in Cancún, make sure to check out our 3-day itinerary. Happy travels!

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