Are you going to Tulum?? If so, first off, I’m so jealous.
Secondly, you might be wondering what to pack. Welcome to the only Tulum packing list you’ll ever need to search for on the internet.
Having been to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico seven times now, I’ve become somewhat of an expert when it comes to packing travel essentials for tropical destinations.
First lesson: For a trip like this where bulky items are not needed and shorts/bathing suits will be worn almost 24/7, you’ve got a lot more flexibility (and free luggage room)!
This post contains my top Tulum packing essentials to ensure you have everything you’ll need to bring with you to Mexico and pack like a pro!
Many of the items in this packing list are considered essentials, which means they can be used on many other future trips, too. So if you find yourself needing to buy a lot of things for your trip to Tulum, I assure you, you’ll be setting yourself up for success on future trips!
Whether you’re planning on lying on the beach all day, dining at all the eco-jungle restaurants, or exploring the Mayan ruins, this packing guide will make sure you’re ultra prepared for your vacation so you can spend your money and time worrying about the things that matter—having fun in Tulum!
So without further ado, let’s dive into everything you need to pack for Tulum, Mexico!
*All of the products listed in this post are my personal tried and true recommendations and may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running. Thanks!
Table of Contents
What Is Tulum Known For?
Travelers visit Tulum for all sorts of reasons, but most commonly, they come for the gorgeous white sand beaches, warm turquoise blue waters, beachfront resorts, a more laid-back vacation compared to Cancun, and cenotes teeming with life.
And of course, there’s the ruins. The Mayan ruins at Tulum are some of the best-preserved in the world. The site includes a number of structures, including a ceremonial center, residential buildings, and defensive walls. The ruins are accessible to tourists, and there is also a museum on the site.
There are tons of things to do in Tulum, including shopping, swimming in iconic cenotes nearby, visiting Mayan ruins, enjoying the many beach clubs, and feasting on delicious Mexican food.
Over the last few years, social media has really accelerated Tulum’s growth and popularity. Almost overnight, Tulum has developed into an eco-chic, boho destination, and with that comes things like sustainability culture, higher-end restaurants, yoga lovers, digital nomads, and more.
Fashion / Style: What To Expect In Tulum, Mexico
Tulum, Mexico is all about the laidback, beachy lifestyle. Due to the warm and tropical weather, shorts, t-shirts, light linen shirts, sundresses, and sandals are all the norm in Mexico.
In some instances, your hotel or all-inclusive resort will require more formal clothing in order to dine in some of their restaurants. You may even plan on having a few nights out in the downtown area–grabbing cocktails or going dancing to end the night. If that’s the case, you’ll want to save some room in your luggage for those dressier outfits.
If you do plan on having a fancier meal or two, a collared shirt and pants (for men) or sundress (for the ladies) is all you’ll really need for almost any restaurant. And if you’re heading to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, or Tulum for some epic clubbing, you will need to factor in some more nighttime outfits.
Aside from your eveningwear, whatever that looks like for you, you can expect to be in bathing suits, beach cover-ups, and dresses (shorts and tees for the guys) almost 24/7!
If you are heading into town at night, either for dinner or bar hopping, I would definitely consider bringing comfortable walking shoes as opposed to a flimsy pair of flip-flops. I would also make sure to bring your belongings in an anti-theft bag!
Now that we’ve set the stage on what to expect in Tulum, let’s get on to the packing details.
Consider The Weather in Tulum Before Packing
Typically, the weather in Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot throughout the year. There might be seasons where there’s more humidity or more rain, and there might be seasons where nights are colder than others, and there might be seasons where hurricanes are more prevalent.
But for the most part, it will be tropical weather, which means it’ll be some degree of warm and humid.
Regardless of when you visit, you should aim to have all your bases covered.
Below is an example of what the weather is like in the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun, Riviera Maya, Tulum) throughout the year.
- WET SEASON: The wet season runs from May to October and tends to be actually hotter than the dry season. Hurricane season in the Yucatan spans June to November, with a higher likelihood of storms from August to October. Actual hurricanes are rare though, so it’s still a decent time to visit if you don’t mind periodic rain showers here and there throughout the day.
- DRY SEASON: The dry season is from December to April. Travelers will find cooler, more pleasant temperatures.
- HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane season spans June to November, with a higher likelihood of storms from August to October. Actual hurricanes are rare though (the area has seen only two hurricanes in the past 30 years.), so it’s still a decent time to visit if you don’t mind periodic rain showers here and there throughout the day.
The takeaway: Along with your warm-weather clothing, bring additional clothing to cover your bases. Bring something for the rain (if traveling during the wet season) and bring some form of light outerwear for those cooler nights.
Consider Your Tulum Activities Before Packing
What activities are you going to be doing in Tulum? Will you be doing adrenaline-pumping activities outside of your resort? Will you be exploring areas such as Coba, Chichen Itza, and Sian Ka’an? Snorkeling? Or perhaps staying by the pool and lounging on the beach is all you plan on doing, which is perfectly fine, too!
Your planned activities will influence your Tulum packing list.
If you’re going to be doing water activities or jungle excursions, there’s a bit more stuff you need to consider bringing, like water shoes, snorkeling and scuba equipment, hiking shoes, etc.
If beach lounging and eating around town is what your main objective is, you won’t need much other than beachwear and light, casual clothing.
Packing Gear: How To Carry Your Stuff To Tulum
Before you pack anything, it’s important to start with the skin and bones of packing. Having the right bags to put your belongings in is extremely important. The last thing you want is to toss everything for your trip into a bag with no method of organization.
Why? Because you’ll find yourself spending a lot of extra time later on packing and repacking once you’re actually on your trip. Trust me, your life will be so much easier when you actually apply a strategy to how you pack.
You’ve got two options here. Do you want to go with a wheeled case or a travel backpack?
Wheeled carry-ons are awesome in that they are pretty much weightless on your body, you just roll and go.
The other option is a backpack. Travel packs are so convenient when it comes to hands-free commuting. As you’ll likely be needing a taxi, car, or car service to get to Tulum, rather than lugging your bags around on foot, you could really go with either option.
1. Wheeled suitcase
I use my Monos Carry-On Pro whenever I know I’ll be carrying heavier items (like a laptop) and want something sturdier. It’s roomy and super sleek-looking. The built-in TSA locks help to deter theft, ensuring that only you or a TSA agent have easy access to your belongings when traveling.
I love the Monos brand and all the bags they offer!
2. Travel backpack
For destinations where I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking to get to my hotels, I typically go with a travel backpack for hands-free convenience.
I love my Osprey Aura 65 so much. It’s extremely comfortable because of its super intense hip belt (if you get it, you’ll see what I mean) and perfect for those warm travel days due to the ventilation technology.
I actually went backpacking with this pack and can attest to its greatness. Totally worth the investment. If you’re looking for a new travel bag or backpacking bag, GET THIS BAG! You won’t regret it.
3. Packing cubes
You need to get these packing cubes, they are amazing at creating space in your luggage that you never thought you had. However you want to organize your clothes— by day, by outfit, by type—these will be the most useful thing you have in your packing artillery.
Gone are the days where you need to dig through your entire suitcase for that one thing you’re looking for, because you’ll know exactly where it’s at.
4. Everyday bag
A mini backpack that can fit a water bottle, phone, camera, sunglasses and sunscreen is a great option. Another good option for days where you’re not feeling the backpack look is a medium-sized, cross-body bag.
While in Tulum, you could very well be using bikes to get around. You’ll want to be hands-free for situations like that, so a purse may not be the best option.
And if you’re able to find a bag that folds flat so that you’re able to stow it in your carry-on, even better! I like the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack or my trusty Bellroy Sling for something simple and compressible, so when I’m not using it, I can flatten it and store it in my luggage.
For the guys (and gals too), crossbody shoulder sling bags work really well for traveling! My boyfriend is absolutely obsessed with his Bellroy Sling Bag.
Worried about bag theft? Check out this post: 10 Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags For Your Next Vacation
Clothing: What To Wear In Tulum
You really don’t need that many shirts, especially if you choose versatile pieces, allowing them to be multifunctional. You can go with a mix of sleeveless and sleeved for the most part, with one caveat.
Depending on where your hotel/resort is located and what season you visit, mosquitos may be a problem. If mosquitos could be a problem, pack 1-2 lightweight long sleeves (or bring some bug repellent spray with you).
Bring 1 pair of long pants just in case there happens to be a chill at night or if you plan to attend a more formal event. Pants are also great for protecting against mosquitos at night.
For summers, in the face of humidity, go with loose and light materials like cotton or linen. Not only are these going to keep you cool and provide you with mosquito protection, but they are also super stylish and will keep you looking vacation-ready.
How about jeans? Personally, my answer is no. Jeans can be way too hot for summer travel. Trust me, I’ve experienced my fair share of sweaty legs trapped in jeans. It’s pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.
2-3 pairs will do. If you plan on wearing more dresses, you can definitely cut out some tops and bottoms and substitute them with dresses.
Leggings are very useful if you plan on doing yoga at your hotel/resort, hiking, or want something comfortable to lounge in on the plane ride. I love traveling with leggings and can’t really go on any trip without at least 1 pair!
A pair of lightweight leggings like Lululemon’s Fast and Free Tight is a great option if you’re looking for breathability while getting that protection from bugs and the sun’s UV rays. The best part? These have pockets large enough to fit your phone in!
Plan to pack ~3 long dresses for your trip to Tulum. Long or flowy dresses/skirts are really great options if you want to save space in your luggage.
If you plan on going out at night, aim for one of the dresses to be appropriate for both daytime and evening looks. Add a nice cardigan (or even a shawl), swap out the flip-flops for your nicer sandals, and be on your merry way! It’s all about versatility!
My rule of thumb: To save room for things I plan to buy on vacation, I’ll always bring ~2 outfits less than the number of days I plan on traveling. I know historically I tend to not wear everything I pack, so I’ve adjusted for this in the packing process. Plus, everything you bring is washable and re-wearable. You should evaluate your situation and adjust for it as well!
TULUM: MY OUTFIT PICKS
10. Underwear and socks
Bring 1 pair of underwear for as many days as you’re going to be traveling. Sometimes, I even bring extra for changing out of bathing suits after a visit to the beach.
I also tend to bring fewer socks than the number of days I’m visiting because I find that I wear sandals more than shoes in Mexico!
These items are light enough that overpacking is not a problem.
Depending on your activity level, 2-3 will do. Because I’m pretty active and tend to do a lot of tropical hiking, I typically bring more sports bras than regular bras.
If you plan on visiting some of Tulum’s famous cenotes, this section is easy–your swimming suit tops can function as bras too.
In order to save on luggage space, bring less and just throw them in the wash as needed.
12. Comfortable Walking Shoes
You should at least bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good support and traction.
My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7 (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created)! The best part is that they have them for both men and women.
When traveling to tropical destinations, sandals or flip-flops are a must. For sandals, I alternate between my waterproof Birkenstocks and Oofos Recovery Slides— both allow you to walk miles and miles. Okay, not the cutest, I’ll admit. But SO functional and comfortable!
We recently discovered the Oofos slide at our REI store and boy were we sold on it. From the moment we slid them on our feet, maximum comfort! It was like walking on clouds. Not only were they perfect for our vacation in Mexico, but we also now plan on gifting this to everyone we know!
Pro Tip: My biggest mistake in the past was only bringing ‘cute’ leather sandals to Mexico. I recommend that you always bring a pair of waterproof sandals with you to the Yucatan! They will allow you to hit the beach, go to a cenote, enjoy eco-parks with water activities, and walk with comfort as well.
14. Water Shoes
If I know I’ll be going on water adventures, I always make sure to bring a pair of water shoes that will allow me to take sure-footed steps while still being able to keep my toes free. These work great for eco-parks like Xcaret and Xplor.
For situations like this, I bring along Chaco’s Z1 Classic sandals because they serve as both sandals and water shoes.
Want something more enclosed? Sometimes, you’re going to need closed-toed water shoes, such as in the case of going on an ATV combo tour or ziplining combo tour. In these cases, go with a simple quick-drying aqua shoe.
Pro Tip: If you plan on having nice dinners out and partying in Tulum, you may very well need to pack high heels or dress shoes too. In this case, you’ll need to think a bit harder about how to pack all these shoes. If you’re checking a bag, bringing too many shoes may not be an issue. If you’re going with carry-on only, try to prioritize your must-have shoes versus the ‘nice-to-have’ shoes.
15. Cardigan or lightweight jacket
For those unsuspecting chilly nights, it’s best to have a light cardigan with you. Especially if you run cold! That way, you won’t need to buy anything in case of an emergency.
16. Rain jacket
Despite its warm weather, Tulum (and other tropical destinations) tends to get quite a bit of rain depending on the season.
During our last trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in early December, it rained a total of 4 days out of 9 due to an unforeseen cold front. The rain didn’t last for the whole day on all of the days, but a rain jacket sure did come in handy when we were out and about on our excursions! While everyone was ducking under the palapas at Xcaret, we were freely walking around the park enjoying it!
Consider packing along a light rain jacket or poncho if there’s any potential of rain in the forecast. This one by North Face comes in so many colors and is ultra-packable, taking up virtually no space at all.
17. Shawl / scarf
Ah, one of my must-haves! I’ll always have a medium-sized thin scarf or shawl in my bag.
Not only can you use them for warmth or style, but you can also use them as a coverup after beaching, as a towel, as a mat on grass/sand/dirt, as a quick rain shield, or as an emergency skirt if your bottoms get stained or soaked somehow.
And if you tend to run cold, a shawl will come in handy at the lobby, bars, and restaurants in your resort/hotel. Resorts and hotels tend to have the air conditioning on, so while it may be warm outdoors, it can get chilly indoors.
The number of swimsuits you bring will depend on how much you plan on swimming and beaching. It’s okay to pack extra, in case you need to hit the beach or pool and the ones you wore previously haven’t had a chance to fully dry yet.
Typically for a 4 to 7 day trip to Tulum, 3 or 4 pairs will do.
MY SWIMWEAR PICKS
19. Sleepwear / loungewear
Yoga pants and a t-shirt or workout clothes are all you need.
You can really save luggage space here! These items can be used as not only pajamas, but also as loungewear and airplane/road trip outfits.
Clothing To Pack For Tulum: For Guys
T-shirts, tanks, button-up shirts, shorts, one pair of linen pants (if you plan on going to a nicer restaurant), two pairs of swimming shorts, one lightweight jacket.
Consider a light rain jacket if there’s any chance of rain in the forecast. And if you plan on going out, don’t forget those dress shoes!
What To Pack For Tulum: Accessories
Because it can get really bright during summer afternoons.
While you’re at it, why not accessorize your accessories? Bringing a pair of sunglasses straps can also be convenient for putting them on/taking them off in a jiffy. And making sure they don’t get lost!
21. Hat / Baseball Cap
Hats are so necessary for sun protection, don’t forget them! You most definitely should have one if you’re going to be spending any prolonged time outdoors.
Baseball caps are great for more active days where you plan on hiking or getting out on the water.
Straw sun hats are better for those casual days by the pool or beach. I’d recommend getting a sunhat with a string so that you won’t need to worry about it flying off every few seconds on a breezy day.
Whenever I want to do my hair and protect my face from the harsh sun rays, I go with my trust roll-up sun hat. This hat is my favorite because it gives me the best of both worlds, a cute hairdo, and sun protection!
22. Jewelry (Optional)
Definitely optional. I tend to skip jewelry on most days (even if I’ve packed it) because either it’s too hot/humid to want to deal with something sticking all over my neck, or I just forget to wear it.
If you do plan on going out at night, you may want to bring more jewelry to complete those going-out looks.
What To Pack For Tulum: Toiletries
Sunscreen is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s overcast or cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors.
Whenever we head to tropical destinations with ample marine life, we always go with a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that harm our environment as well as the natural balance of marine ecosystems.
In fact, you may even encounter tour companies and eco-parks asking you to only use sunscreen and sunblock that are biodegradable, containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide only.
And honestly, it’s not enough to just buy any old bottle that has a “reef-friendly” label on it. It turns out many sunscreens claiming to be “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe” actually aren’t!
Products containing the following ingredients are technically NOT reef safe: oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene or nanoparticles. Always review the active ingredients on the bottle to be sure you’re really getting something reef-safe.
Here are a few travel-sized biodegradable sunscreens you can easily buy on Amazon:
- Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen – SPF 40 Kids Clear Sport
- Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen- SPF 35 Clear Zinc Sport Unscented
- Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
- Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- All Good Sport Face & Body Sunscreen Lotion
And on days where we are just out and about (not getting into the water)–for the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. No white-cast, no greasy film!
24. Bug spray
Depending on the season you go to Tulum, there may be mosquitoes and you’ll want to protect yourself against bites. Typically the closer you are to trees and jungles, the more prevalent mosquitos are.
If you plan to go hiking, ziplining, or ATV-ing in the jungle, I would definitely recommend packing an effective insect / mosquito repellent. We recommend the following travel-size options:
- Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
- Another good option is Sawyer Jungle Juice Insect Repellent –because we love tropical destinations and summer camping/hiking, we always have a bottle of this at home and ready to go!
If you’re looking for more natural options, we recommend the following travel-friendly options:
25. Squeeze bottles
Silicone travel bottles are my favorite thing ever. Made of high-quality silicone, they are extremely durable, have never leaked on me, and are super easy to squeeze.
26. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer gel or hand sanitizing wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched.
Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
27. Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes
Feeling a bit gross after a bike ride or trip to the cenote but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher.
And for the ladies specifically, it’s always good to carry around feminine wipes, especially for those post-beach or post-swimming scenarios. The ones I like are both very affordable and take up no space at all.
Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Plus, staying fresh and clean down there can dramatically reduce your chances of getting a UTI that could potentially ruin your entire trip. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag!
28. Shower / dental toiletries
Shower toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are usually provided by hotels. If you are staying in a hostel (you’ll likely need to bring your own) or are particular about using your own products and brands, then don’t forget to pack them.
Dental things to bring include toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash. If you happen to forget to bring anything, you can simply ask the front desk or concierge for some.
You’re going to be in the hot sun most of the time, so bring deodorant if you tend to sweat or omit body odor.
29. Makeup (Optional)
Makeup, optional?? Yes, you read that right.
Some women bring a huge collection of makeup wherever they go. I also love to wear makeup on vacations! But it’ll be hot, humid, and your face will be sweaty and oily from the sun exposure. Or, you’ll be beaching and snorkeling so much that you won’t need to wear makeup.
I find that at hotels and resorts in Tulum, one of the only appropriate times for makeup is when you’re not doing any water activities such as during dinner, at nightly entertainment shows/events, or if you plan to go out for the night.
Try to pack lighter here and bring only what you need.
30. Dry shampoo (Optional)
I try not to wash my hair every day, but at the same time, Mexico can get pretty hot and humid. A travel-size dry shampoo like this one by amika can come in handy very frequently.
31. DIY survival kit
Make a little bag of the following: ibuprofen, allergy pills, Immodium, ciprofloxacin (or whatever your doctor prescribes for traveler’s diarrhea), bandaids, floss, hand sanitizer, eye drops, lip balm, a sharpie, tape, and extra contact lenses (if applicable).
Think about the ailments you typically suffer from and have to deal with on a regular basis and adjust the contents of the bag as needed!
Pro Tip: Definitely pack some Immodium, Pepto-Bismol, and/or ciprofloxacin just in case. While the food will likely be clean, a lot of travelers’ stomachs are not used to the differences in food (especially if you’re going to be trying street food during your trip). Your stomach is probably also not used to unlimited food either! Both of these can cause upset stomachs.
Don’t feel like making your own survival kit? Buy a premade first aid kit instead–we like the simple ones by Welly.
32. Extra plastic baggies
Because you never know, but they always come in handy. Bring a few in different sizes.
Larger sizes will come in handy for wet bathing suits, shoes, and dirty clothes. Smaller sizes are great for storing phones, jewelry, ear plugs, etc.
33. Laundry soap (Optional)
Bring a super-concentrated soap and a handy-dandy travel clothesline so you can do your own laundry. We usually wash our swimsuits and swim trunks after hitting the pool or beach to prevent them from smelling funky.
By doing your own laundry, you can save on those insane drycleaning fees hotels charge! What’s even worse–some of them charge per article of clothing!
If you’d rather save money, simply use the soap or body wash gel provided by your hotel to wash your clothes.
34. Quick-drying towel
Travel towels are probably one of the best inventions for efficient travelers. They are light, super packable, and quick-drying. Definitely very useful if you plan on going on water-related excursions or having beach days but don’t have access to a beach towel!
This one is a great option if you’re in the market for one.
What To Pack For Tulum: Electronics
35. Waterproof Phone Case
While most new phones are waterproof to some extent these days, they aren’t meant to stay submerged for prolonged periods of time without protection. With an actual heavy-duty waterproof phone case, you’ll have peace of mind bringing your phone with you when participating in water activities.
On our last trip to Mexico, we forgot to bring our waterproof phone cases and our GoPro camera. We totally missed out on a bunch of awesome underwater photo ops during two snorkeling trips!
On our awesome reef and shipwreck snorkeling tour, we saw 3 sea turtles, schools of barracudas, and a bunch of other colorful schools of fish we’d never seen before! The reefs in Mexico are teeming with life, so you’re guaranteed to see something cool underwater.
These phone cases provide excellent waterproof performance housing for underwater photos and videos. They’ve been tested more than a thousand times, and the case enables you to dive to 50ft/15m of depth in water for 60 minutes without leaks.
36. Camera (DSLR or GoPro)
iPhones are typically good enough, but some higher-quality pictures definitely wouldn’t hurt. For longer vacations, I typically go with my Sony A7 IV, which produces great photos that I’ll cherish forever. The kit lens is more than enough for high-quality shots!
If you plan on doing a bunch of adventurous activities (ziplining, skydiving, kayaking, paddling, ATV-ing) and/or want some underwater footage when surfing or snorkeling, you should definitely go with the waterproof GoPro.
GoPro’s are perfect for underwater and jungle adventures in Mexico. As I mentioned above, had we brought our GoPro, we totally would have captured some really cool ATV and snorkeling footage! Learn from our mistake–don’t forget your camera!
37. External battery
You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be on the go with no phone battery!
A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
38. Travel adapter
Necessary for many international travelers. If you’re from the USA, you won’t need a travel adapter as the outlets are the same as in the USA.
This one here is tried and trusted. It allows for a normal plug and has two additional USB ports.
Bring multiple phone cords since they are light (and easy to misplace).
With all the pool-lounging and beaching opportunities, you’ll have a lot of time to get through that book you’ve always wanted to start.
Go with the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader over actual physical books if you plan to read a lot– it eliminates a lot of potential weight (and waste) from actually carrying books. What better way to spend some time poolside or tanning at the beach?
41. Portable Bluetooth Speakers
We love listening to music when we’re relaxing in a hotel bed in the morning or getting ready for the day. The JBL Flip Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker is our go-to whenever we’re traveling domestically or internationally.
This speaker is always perfect for our Mexico vacations because it’s waterproof, meaning you can bring it poolside or beachside without having to worry about protecting it from the water!
What To Pack For Tulum: Documents
42. Travel belt / running belt
A travel belt is a smart traveler’s best friend. They are the best thief-proof tool for airplane travel, public transportation travel, walking around abroad, and just about everything else in between.
I always, always use a Flip Belt to carry around identification, important documents, and money that I want to keep safe and right by my side. Another benefit of the Flip Belt? It’s actually a running belt. Which means it’s great for those early morning jogs around town! I swear, this thing doesn’t budge or jiggle at all when I run, plus it’s super comfortable!
Quick note: The Flip Belt is not technically meant to fit things like passports and pieces of paper, so if you’re looking for an actual travel belt that’ll keep your docs nice and unbent, I recommend this one by Alpha Keeper.
43. Cash Money / Cards
While most resort areas in Mexico take card, it’s always good to carry around a mix of local currency and your home currency for emergencies.
Bring pesos with you just in case you need to pay with cash because not all places accept credit cards (small shopfronts, street food vendors, etc.).
Pro Tip: Pick up pesos from an ATM when you arrive in town or at the airport. I would AVOID foreign exchange kiosks as the exchange rates are usually not as good as the ones at regular ATMs.
Don’t forget your foreign exchange fee-free credit cards, debit cards, airport lounge access cards, and visas.
44. Tickets and travel documents
Passport, student ID, medical card, proof of travel insurance, printed documents of your flight/hotel bookings, visas if you need them.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not lose the little immigration form paper you receive once you leave the airport. you will need this to leave the country of Mexico. Put this in a safe place (preferably with your passport) for the duration of your trip. If you lose this paper, you will have to pay a fine of $60 USD.
What To Pack For Tulum: Other Travel Essentials
45. Travel pillow
The turtl Pillow is the only one you need to consider for easy airplane sleeping! It comes highly rated because it has so much support, almost like a neck brace (there’s a chunk of flexible plastic in there to prop your head up). It’s warm and super packable too.
And if you’re looking to level up, the trtl Pillow Plus is even more high-tech than the original.
46. Water bottle
The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. Instead of spending your money on plastic water bottles, bring a reusable water bottle and a rechargeable Steri-Pen (the way more environmentally friendly option).
For something more durable that keeps your water cold for hours upon hours, Hydroflasks are my favorite for everyday use. If your hotel provides drinking water and clean ice, Hydroflasks are the way to go.
47. Foldable tote bag
Great for doing groceries, going souvenir shopping, or carrying your belongings in a pinch. Since a lot of countries are now charging for plastic bags, you should bring a bag of your own to save money and save the planet at the same time.
Baggu makes very cute and compactable tote bags that can fold right up and fit in your carry-on.
48. Laundry bag
Keep your worn clothes separate from your clean ones, especially when traveling to high humidity climates. When it’s humid, you’ll definitely be sticky by the end of the day. All that stickiness will transfer to your clothes. And even if you don’t get sticky/sweaty, you will inevitably have dirty socks and undies to toss in here.
I have this laundry bag set, and it’s great because it includes many size options.
At home (when not traveling), you can even use them to wash delicate items in the washing machine.
49. Emergen-C packets
Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets are a must for travel. These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
Plus if you plan on doing a lot of partying in Cancun/Playa/Tulum, these supplements are going to be the most necessary.
50. Sand-free beach mat
Did you know that these days there are high-tech beach mats for sale? Oh yeah, they definitely beat your average beach towel, that’s for sure!
There are actually beach mats that are quick-drying, waterproof, and sand-proof, making setting up on the beach super, super easy. This amazing beach mat is all those things, plus it has sand anchor pockets and 6 ground stakes so that your beach mat is wind-resistant even when you’re not laying on it!
51. Snorkel gear
Bringing your own snorkeling set is pretty freeing. It means you can choose to snorkel anytime you want without having to track down a rental shop to rent gear. This is important because not all beaches have rental shacks nearby.
In addition, you’ll have the comfort of knowing the snorkel and mask haven’t been used by a million other people.
Seavenger, one of the best snorkel gear makers in the game, sells a Hanalei Anti-Fog 4-Piece Snorkeling Set that’s really loved by both kids and adults.
For people who hate the fogging problem: After doing hours and hours of research, I recently upgraded to the WildHorn Outfitter’s Seaview 180° V2. Because I tend to get anxious/nervous in the water, I wanted something that would truly make my snorkeling life easier. This full-face snorkeling mask does just that. All the problems I used to face while snorkeling–water leaking into my mouth, limited google view, foggy goggles mid-snorkel–completely gone!
It’s a bit pricier than other basic snorkel masks out there, but let me tell you this thing was a game-changer for me. Being able to breathe normally through my nose underwater made this mask completely worth every penny!
52. Seasickness wristbands
If you’re prone to motion sickness or seasickness and plan on doing boat excursions or sailing trips, you’re going to want to pack a few seasickness wristbands for your trip. These babies work by applying acupressure to just the right spots on your wrist.
As Sea-Bands are totally natural, they’re a great alternative when you don’t want to take oral medications.
53. Portable neck fan / cooling towel
For travelers who, like me, do very poorly in high humidity destinations, this one is for you. If you can’t stand the feeling of stifling, breezeless air, do not forget to pack a portable neck fan!
A constant and enjoyable breeze makes all the difference and will allow you to stay comfortable being outside in the heat for hours on end. I personally own a bladeless neck fan, but there are other more affordable fans with fan blades available too.
If you know it’s going to be hot and humid and are not good with hot weather, I beg you, pack this in your travel bag!
For something simpler than a neck fan, you can consider a Chill Pal cooling towel to stay cool. Trust me, it will save your life from the heat and make exploring the outdoors more bearable.
54. Eye mask / Earplugs
There is a good chance there will be families traveling by plane with young children and/or babies. A very good chance. I would highly recommend bringing earplugs or headphones for your plane rides to drown out any potential crying babies! These earplugs by Mack’s are my absolute favorite.
If you plan on sleeping on the plane ride (or if you like your privacy whenever you sleep), don’t forget your eye mask!
55. Travel Insurance
I never used to buy travel insurance, but these days, after all the pandemic-related canceled trips I encountered, I don’t travel internationally without it. Not only does it cover you for canceled trips, but if you get sick in a foreign country, your normal health insurance most likely isn’t going to cover you. But travel insurance will.
Travel insurance from WorldNomads is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
The Ultimate Tulum Packing List: A Complete Checklist
To wrap up, let’s review the ultimate packing checklist for your Tulum vacation. This is an example of what a 4 to 7 day trip would look like:
- Wheeled Suitcase or Travel Backpack
- Packing Cubes
- Laundry Travel Bag
- Everyday bag
- 2-3 Tops
- 1 pair of pants
- 2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts
- 1 pair of leggings
- 2-3 dresses
- 5-7 pairs of undies
- 5 pairs of socks
- 3 bras
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes
- 1 pair of sandals / flip flops
- 1 cardigan or lightweight fleece
- 1 shawl or scarf
- 2-3 swimsuits
- Sunhat / baseball caps
- Jewelry (optional)
- Hand sanitizer
- Body wipes / feminine wipes
- DIY survival kit
- Extra plastic baggies
- Quick-dry towel
- Phone sanitizer
- External battery
- Travel adapter
- Travel belt / running belt
- Tickets and travel documents
- Credit /debit cards
- Travel pillow
- Water bottle
- Foldable tote bag
- Laundry bag
- Emergen-C packets
- Snorkel gear
- Beach towel
- Neck fan / cooling towel
- Seasickness wristbands
- Ear plugs / eye mask
Essential Travel Tips For Tulum, Mexico
- There’s been a seaweed problem in the Tulum/Playa Del Carmen area. Check the latest seaweed conditions report before heading to the beaches in/nearby Tulum. If you’re keen to avoid sargassum seaweed on your Mexico visit, make sure to stay in a hotel that has staff constantly monitoring the issue.
- The most popular times to visit Tulum range from November to April (high season). If you’re looking for a quieter experience, plan your trip for May to October.
- Hurricane season runs from June through November. While hurricanes are unlikely, most weather experts recommend purchasing travel insurance if you plan on visiting during hurricane season.
- Bring pesos with you just in case you need to pay with cash. Pick up pesos from an ATM wherever you depart from before heading to Tulum. Not all places accept credit cards on the island (small shopfronts, food vendors, etc.), and ATMs are few and far between.
- When using a credit card, choose to pay in the local currency instead of your home currency. You’ll get a better exchange rate and will be paying less than the home currency option. (In my case, I would pay in $MXN instead of in $USD.)
- The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. Instead of spending your money on plastic water bottles, bring a reusable water bottle and a rechargeable Steri-Pen (the way more environmentally friendly option).
- Tulum is extremely tourist-friendly. If you can’t speak a lick of Spanish, you’ll be okay. This region (Yucatan Peninsula) largely caters to English-speaking visitors, and you’ll find that English is spoken by most locals, hotel/restaurant staff, and tour guides.
- Tulum is safe, but always practice self-awareness and caution. Certain areas of Mexico have long held a reputation for being unsafe due to cartel violence, but resort areas and tourists are not targeted. Just exercise increased caution as you would anywhere–avoid being flashy, don’t walk around alone at night, be wary of your surroundings, and you should be just fine.
- No matter what you’re budget is, you’ll find tons of accommodation options in Tulum. Most budget accommodations and hostels are located in Tulum Centro, which means you’ll be close to most of the amenities/facilities you’ll need for your stay. Most of the beachfront accommodation options can cost hundreds of dollars per night, whereas downtown hostels, apartment rentals, and hotels are much less expensive.
- Taxis in Tulum are more expensive than buses and collectivos. Many savvy travelers opt for local bus transportation, which is reliable, frequent, and inexpensive (under $1/ride).
- Rent a bike to get around town. While you’re here, you’ll see lots of bike riders. Tulum town is just a few kilometers from the beach, making it an easy cycle ride to the coast.
- Dining out in Tulum can be expensive, so head downtown for the most affordable and authentic places to eat (taquerias with long lines are a great sign).
Now you’re ready for your Tulum vacation!
If you get nothing else out of this post, at least take this with you–
When packing for Tulum, you’ll want to:
- pack light
- be prepared for unfavorable weather (if it’s in the forecast)
- be prepared for heat, humidity, and mosquitos (during certain seasons)
- try to save room for souvenirs and local snacks to bring home!
Alright, and now that we’re at the end of this post, I think you’ll have a good handle on your Tulum packing list. Now go on, you’ve got a lot to look forward to and a lot of trip to pack for!
Looking for more Mexico travel resources? Read next:
- The Best Time To Visit Tulum: A Month By Month Guide
- 10 Best Bars And Clubs In Tulum, Mexico
- 27 Best Things To Do In Playa Del Carmen For An Unforgettable Vacation
- 25+ Exciting Things To Do In Cancun To Make Your Trip Unforgettable
- Xcaret Park Review: Is It Worth The Money?
- Brilliant Travel Hacks That Will Make You An Expert Traveler