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.
What to wear in Cancun: General must-haves
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.
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.
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
Sfee 2 Pack Microfiber Travel Towel, Quick Dry Towel Camping Towel Large Beach Towel Super Absorbent Compact Lightweight Sports Towel Gym Towel Set for Beach, Gym, Hiking, Pool, Backpacking, Bath, Yoga
☑️ Mosquito repellent (to wear after you swam)
☑️ Light clothes
☑️ Comfortable shoes to walk in the jungle
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.
What to Pack for Cancún – 23 Essential items
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.
MOTIVATIONAL 32oz BPA & TOXIN FREE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
✔ Made of high-quality eco-friendly BPA Free, food-grade PETG plastic material, it’s leak-proof, odorless, durable, and recyclable, safe for your daily drinking.
✔ Time maker can help you boost your daily water intake.
✔ STURDY AND PORTABLE: This sports water bottle is made of premium quality, BPA FREE, PETG plastic material,
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.
DIMJ Packing Cubes for Travel
8 Pcs Travel Cubes for Suitcase
Lightweight Travel Essential Bag with Large Toiletries Bag for Clothes Shoes Cosmetics Toiletries
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!
✔️ Pick your favorite colors
✔️ Wetting the towel in water will allow it to activate quickly and cool up to 30 degrees
✔️ Hyper-evaporative material that retains water while remaining dry to the touch
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.
Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag
25000 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reviews
✔️ Pick your favorite colors
✔️ Different sizes
✔️ Phone waterproof case included
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
With 5440 4.5-⭐️ Reviews it must be a convenient and safe way to carry your money and documents around!
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.
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 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.
TSA Approved Luggage Lock – 4 Digit Combination Padlocks with a Hardened Steel Shackle – Travel Locks for Suitcases & Baggage
✔️ SET YOUR OWN COMBINATION AND CHANGE IT ANYTIME.
✔️ THE SECURITY OF FOUR DIGITS.
✔️ DESIGNED FOR SECURITY AND EASE OF USE
✔️ EASE OF MIND WITH A LIFETIME WARRANTY
✔️ 100% TSA APPROVED
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.
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.
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 | Face Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide for Sensitive Skin | With Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Ceramides | 2.5 oz
✔️ 100% Mineral-based sunscreen, also known as a physical sunscreen, reflects UVA/UVB rays to help protect the skin. Developed with dermatologists by CeraVe Skincare.
✔️ Oxybenzone free, avobenzone free, and benzene free, this sunscreen contains physical filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
✔️ Formula is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and suitable for sensitive skin
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
6885 4.5-⭐️ Reviews
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).
Turkish Beach Towels %100 Cotton – Pre-Washed, No-Shrink, Quick Dry
✔️ 100% Pure Cotton
✔️ Rolls up neatly to pack & go. Perfect for beach, pool, spa, sauna, gym, yoga, travel, camping, and picnic.
✔️ QUICK DRYING: Dries way more quickly both by air and tumble drier (about 20 min on low temp).
✔️ Available in many different colors
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.
All-new Kindle (2022 release)
✔️ The lightest and most compact Kindle, now with a 300 ppi high-resolution display for sharp text and images.
✔️Glare-free, paper-like display. The adjustable front light and dark mode make reading effortless, day and night.
✔️ Now with extended battery life – A single charge via USB-C lasts up to 6 weeks.
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.
Stay hydrated after parties and sun exposure
79,789 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reviews
✔️ non-GMO electrolyte drink mix powered by CTT to deliver hydration to the bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone
✔️ Mix contains 5 essential vitamins including Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12 and Vitamin C.
✔️ It’s also gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
✔️ Single-serving, travel-friendly packets
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dry Snorkel Set, Panoramic Wide View, Anti-Fog Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Mask
6799 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reviews
✔️ Pick your favorite color
✔️ Clear Lenses and panoramic view
✔️ Easy fit
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!