What to Wear in Cancun: Useful Tips and Outfit Recommendations

Wondering what to wear to Cancun, Mexico? If you’re heading to Cancun, you’ll want to make sure you have the right wardrobe for a fun and comfortable beach vacation.

From swimwear to evening attire, packing the right clothes for this beach destination – whether you’re on an all-inclusive resort or not – will make all the difference.

The last thing you want when you’re ready to go catch waves on beautiful beaches or snorkel with sea turtles on one of your day trips is to realize you have not dressed appropriately or you have forgotten some important items.

Whatever you’re planning on doing, whenever you’re planning on going, in this post I will offer you some useful recommendations on what to wear in Cancun, on different occasions, and what items to bring.

I have been living in Cancun for many years and I am sure I can offer some good insider tips. So let’s start.

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What to wear in Cancun: General must-haves

Bathing Suits

Your bathing suit is bound to get a lot of airtime in Cancun. Make sure you bring several so you can keep comfortable and have options.

Bathing Suit Cover Ups

Throwing on a quick bathing suit cover-up to protect you from the sun when you’re in the water. Sarongs are my current favorites but there are a ton of good choices.

Comfortable sandals and flip flops

You’ll need some shoes when you’re walking around Cancun — whether or not you’re walking on the beach or heading downtown. Any pair of sandals that are comfortable (and broken in) can be a good choice.

Multi-Purpose Dresses

If you’re a dress person, you’ll want to pack a multi-purpose dress that you can wear out on the town, or on any occasion, you might find you need more formal attire. A nice jumpsuit will also work if you prefer pants.

Shorts and/or Skirts

You’ll want to bring along cooler clothes like a pair of denim shorts or a flowing skirt. That way you’ll be more comfortable, and keep cool while you walk down the white sandy beaches at your luxury resort.

Loose and Light Shirts and Tops

You’ll want breathable tops in Cancun to make sure you don’t get too hot. Just remember to wear sunscreen to protect harm and shoulders from the sun.


The sun is bright on the beach. Not only do you want sunscreen, but you’ll also need sunglasses.

A Hat

It doesn’t matter the time of the year, the perfect way to keep the sun off your head is with a cute straw hat. It helps to drop some hair ties in your bag as well.

Lightweight Sweater or Shawl

Chances are you won’t need to see a lot of it, but a lightweight sweater or shawl can help you fight off any windy chills that might come down. It’s one of my favorite travel essentials.

What to wear for Mayan Ruins tours

One of the most unique experiences to be had in Cancun is visiting an ancient Mayan ruin. Whether you’re exploring Chichen Itza or Tulum, it’s important to know what to wear when traveling through the Yucatan Peninsula.

The heat and humidity can be oppressive during this time of year, so it’s essential to dress appropriately.

Loose-fitting cotton long-sleeve shirts and a lightweight pair of pants are great options that will help keep you cool while still protecting your skin from UV rays.

A wide-brimmed hat is a must-have accessory as well! It will keep the sun off your face and neck while also providing shade for your eyes.

Also, I always prefer to wear my hiking boots to protect my feet from insects and sunburnt. I feel more comfortable walking in them than in gym shoes.

Here below some examples of outfits for visiting the Mayan Ruins + necessary items to bring with you.

What to wear for Cancun boat tours

Boat tours require a certain ensemble that is both comfortable and stylish. It’s important to consider the weather conditions as well as the type of boat tour you will be embarking on.

Make sure you have lightweight, breathable clothing such as shorts or dresses with sandals or sneakers.

If you’re going out on a deeper sea boat tour, it’s also a good idea to bring along a light rain jacket or windbreaker in case it gets chilly or you’re going to be out there during the early mornings.

Also remember that baseball caps can help protect your head from the sun while also adding style to your look, and they’re more likely to stick on your head.

Of course, sunscreen is always a must but make sure you are not going to a protected area where you are not allowed to wear it. In that case, protect your face even more and use a rash guard.

What to wear for visiting a Cenote in Cancun

Whether you are going on a cenote tour or you are visiting on your own it’s important to dress correctly when you visit one of the cenotes near Cancun, to enjoy them fully. Here is a list of things that you must take with you.

☑️ Bathing suit (and an extra one to change)

☑️ Microfiber Towel

☑️ Snorkeling gear

☑️ Mosquito repellent (to wear after you swam)

☑️ Light clothes

☑️ Water

☑️ Snacks

☑️ Comfortable shoes to walk in the jungle

Cenote Corazon Aerial View
Cenote Corazon

What to wear in an all-inclusive hotel in Cancun 

An all-inclusive hotel in Cancun is a great way to go for a worry-free getaway, but it also presents its own unique set of challenges when it comes to dressing appropriately. From restaurants to beach days, you’ll need a variety.

Daytime activities like lounging by the pool or enjoying a day at the beach often require little more than swimwear and sunscreen.

Pack plenty of lightweight tank tops and shorts or dresses made with breathable fabrics, along with comfortable sandals or flip-flops. Don’t forget to pack your lip balm!

Also keep in mind that in All-inclusive hotels you may find that a dress code is required for specific restaurants, as I mentioned in my detailed post on packing lists for All-inclusive resorts.

One of the top rules is closed shoes and a collared shirt for men and a nice dress or pants and sandals (not flip flops) for women.

Here below some fancy clothes examples for men and women for your dinner outfit in your fancy resort or in case you want to head out to one of the great restaurants in Cancun Hotel Zone.

What to wear for a night out in Cancun

Nightlife in Cancun is an experience like no other. From luxurious clubs to rooftop bars, you’ll want to look your best for a night out on the town.

When it comes to dressing for a night out, it’s important to remember that the dress code varies from venue to venue.

For most clubs and bars, stylish clothing is recommended—think cocktail dresses or rompers, and collared shirts with slacks or blazers for men.

If you plan on visiting one of the many luxury beach clubs in the area, make sure to bring lightweight clothing and swimwear so you can take advantage of their poolside amenities.

Remember that you won’t have much room to pack a big list of things so that you can look fashionable in every Cancun place you might go. Instead, be selective and aim for things that can fill more than one role.

You can refer to the above outfit suggestions for some reference.

Cancun at night
Cancun at Night

What to Pack for Cancún – 23 Essential items

Water bottle

Bringing a water bottle along on your trip is essential for staying hydrated in Cancun. The temperature is usually hot and humid, making dehydration a real risk if you’re out sightseeing or at the beach all day. But it’s especially important somewhere like Cancun where the general rule is you can’t drink tap water.

Packing Cubes

You can keep all the items on your Mexico packing list in order with a quality set of packing cubes. Whether you’re headed to Cancun for a week or a month, a well-organized packing plan can make sure you get ALL the necessities in your suitcase and beach bag.

Cooling Towel

Having a cooling towel or two on hand can help you keep your temperature down, even on the hottest days. You simply wet these bad boys and they start working… for up to three hours!

Waterproof Phone Case and dry bag

If you’re headed to Cancun, chances are the beach is on your mind. Opt to bring along a waterproof phone case (or sleeve) along with a dry bag to make sure your important things don’t get ruined. They’re an inexpensive solution to a VERY expensive problem.

Money Belt

Keep your money safe from pickpockets by storing it close to you with a money belt. You can wear these under your clothes so they’re accessible but not out in the open for anyone to grab.

VENTURE 4TH Travel Money Belt – Slim Passport Holder RFID Blocking Travel Pouch to Protect Cash, Credit Cards and Travel Documents

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Activated Charcoal

Bringing activated charcoal along can help you avoid illness and continue to have the best time. Even if you’ve properly prepared, you could come across Montezuma’s revenge, but this little companion can help you fight it off at the earliest signs.

Portable Charger

Bringing along a portable power bank can help you keep your devices charged, even if there aren’t any wall plugs available. While it depends on the specific device and charger you’re using, you can usually get 2 or 3 charges out of a single bank.

Luggage Locks

Luggage locks provide a little added security when it comes to keeping your things safe. While they’re not fool proof, locking your things in your bag when you’re not around is an easy extra step to take to make you feel more comfortable while you’re traveling in a foreign country.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) If you work

If you’re working from Cancun, having a VPN can be a good option. This can help you safely log into apps and sites that keep your confidential information without worrying.

It can also make it easier for you to access sites from other countries.

There are many VPN providers I use Express VPN and pay for the yearly subscription, which is cheaper. You can try them out using this link and get 3 free months so if you don’t like it you can always unsubscribe when the free time is over.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

You need to wear sunscreen if you’re going to be outside enjoying the sun in a tropical climate, but many formulas contain chemicals that are harmful to marine life and the coral reef life that surrounds Cancun. Opt instead to use something that’s made to be reef friendly to help protect the world around you.

Mosquito Repellent Bracelets or spray

The mosquitos in Cancun can be bad – specifically around dusk and dawn. Use mosquito-repellent bracelets to help keep the bugs off. And don’t forget after-bite just in case they still get you! Before using any product make sure you are not allergic.

Keep mosquitos away!

OFF! Botanicals Deet-Free Insect Repellent, Plant-Based Bug Spray & Mosquito Repellent, 4 oz

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Natural Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a must-bring on any vacation. But it’s particularly important if you’re planning on doing lots of outdoor exploring.

Affordable Underwater Camera

Capture your favorite underwater moments with an affordable camera. This is something you’ll want to bring along with you’re planning on exploring the ocean.

Turkish Cotton Towel

You want fabrics that are thin and dry fast in Cancun, and Turkish cotton delivers. Pack yourself a Turkish cotton towel to make sure you can keep dry when you need it. Once you’re done, hang it in the sun or wind (better yet: both).


Lighten your load by bringing an electronic version of your beach reads. You’ll need to be careful with the water and sand, but you’ll be pleased you don’t have to carry the weight of the extra books.

Hydration Powder

It’s hot in Cancun, and if you’re not used to the weather you could struggle to stay hydrated. Hydration powder can help provide you that extra boost so don’t forget to bring a few sachets along.

*Consult your doctor before consuming

Stay hydrated after parties and sun exposure

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Foldable backpack lightweight 

Traveling in Cancun is easier if you have a backpack. Between your water bottle, tower, and anything else you want to cart along, it’ll help provide a more hands-free experience. Bring along a backpack that’s light and packable so you can throw it in another bag when you’re not using it.

Light sweater

Cancun is hot, but there is the occasional wind and rainy day — especially if you’re headed there during the wet season or winter. Pack something light that you can cover up with if you need to.

Rain poncho

Wet seasons can get really wet, even if the weather is still mostly nice. Pack a rain poncho in your bag to make sure you have something to shrug on if the weather turns.

Snorkeling gear

When you book an experience, you often get gear included. But if you’re planning on doing a budget trip or you have gear you prefer to use — bring it along. There are plenty of places to snorkel in this Caribbean city.

Water shoes

It can be rocky on the ocean floor, so it doesn’t hurt to have something to put on your feet. Grab a pair of water shoes and toss them in your suitcase, that way you’re covered in the water.

Sarong or swimsuit cover-up

You’ll want something to cover up with on the beach when you’re not swimming. You can choose any kind of coverup from sarong to full-on casual dress that you’d like. You just want to make sure you’re comfortable.


Your swimsuit is one of the most important fashion items you’ll be wearing in Cancun, don’t forget to bring one (or two)! This is an essential item on your beach packing list.

Aloe Gel

Even if you lather up with sunscreen, you might still get caught with burnt (or burning) skin. That’s where aloe gel comes in. It can help soothe warm skin and heal faster.

Cancun hotel zone beach
Cancun Beach


Listen to music or watch a TV show, but keep it to yourself. Headphones are the best way to do this. I am using the Beats headphones buds and love them. They last long and they come with spare buds, which come in handy when you keep losing them.

Camera and flexible tripod

If you have room in your bag and like to take photos, then bringing a camera along is for you. But if you’ll be packing along your camera anyway, you may as well throw in a tripod so you can get some great, steady shots.

Travel first aid kit

You’ll want to be able to treat small injuries on the fly, and that’s where a first aid kit comes in. You can build your own, or you can get one already fully stocked. Just keep in mind that you must have your prescription with you for medicines.

Cancun Beach Overview
Cancun Beach

What to pack in Cancún by season

Cancun is warm all year long, but there are two distinct seasons you want to pack for:

Dry season (November to April)

Between November and April, Cancun is hot and dry. You may still want to pack a light sweater or cardigan for cooler evenings, but generally, you’ll get warm weather.

However, it still is technically winter here in Mexico between December and February, and “cold fronts” do come in off the coast.

The temperature can drop during this time, making it slightly chillier than you might be expecting on your vacation.

Wet season (May to October)

Cancun’s wet season comes between May and October, and while it usually sees beautiful weather it can see periods of warm rain. With that in mind, you’ll want to have an umbrella or rain poncho to keep you dry when the rain comes. This is also when hurricane season happens, so be prepared!

What NOT to take to Cancún

1. DON’T BRING heavy books

Books are great for beachside reading, but not so great to cart around in a suitcase. Reduce your luggage wait by leaving your heavy books at home and opting to bring along a Kindle (or another eReader). The additional cost of packing extra books will not be worth it.

2. DON’T TAKE lots of cash

Mexico is a cash-based society, so you do need to have some on you. But avoid taking a bunch as petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing are popular in the city. Make sure you keep your cash safe in a money belt.

3. DON’T PACK expensive jewelry

Again, pickpockets target tourists that aren’t necessarily smart enough to pack smart. Opt to leave your expensive jewelry at home, carting it around could make you a target.

4. DON’T TAKE warm, bulky clothing

Cancun is hot and humid, unless you’re accustomed to the weather you probably won’t need a lot to cover up with. Opt for a light sweater or cardigan instead.

5. DON’T BRING fruit

Packing fruit in your suitcase is a quick way to drag your time at customs out. You can’t bring any outside fruit into the country, so leave it at home.

6. DON’T PACK items that won’t dry well

Not only is Cancun hot, but it’s humid. Clothing, towels or other fabric items that don’t dry quickly or well will probably stay wet the entire time you’re there!

Final thoughts: What to Wear in Cancun

No matter what time of year it is, you need to make sure you have the RIGHT clothes.

It doesn’t matter if you’re headed to Cancun in the summer or winter months, making sure to pack the right things is essential. You don’t want to go without a sun hat, swimsuit or some other important item. 

The right items can make or break your trip. Plan ahead and make sure that you have everything you need to have an enjoyable trip. Your vacation is worth it!

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

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