So you’ve booked your first trip to Tulum and are daydreaming in work meetings and checkout lines. That white sand, the clear blue waters — you’re ready to leave tomorrow. Only one problem: you don’t know what to pack for Tulum. Dressy? Casual? How many bathing suits? Luckily, I’ve got you covered with this Tulum packing list for any season!
The Laid-Back Tulum Vibe
Do you have a muumuu? Have you ever wanted to unleash your sexy inner Mrs. Roper? (You remember her – the downstairs neighbor from the Three’s Company sitcom!?) That airy dress you bought on a whim to look like the Instagram “influencers,” but then chickened out on wearing? FIND IT NOW — it’s perfect.
The vibe of Tulum is hip and laid back, so think flowy skirts, rompers, caftans and off-the -shoulder dresses with sandals. I only pack dresses and cover-ups, because if I get a sunburn I want the least amount of stuff touching my lobster-y body as possible.
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Weather and Seasons in Tulum
Tulum has a tropical climate and the weather is pretty consistent year-round. The wettest months are June – October, and the Caribbean waters there are warmest in August. As you can see below, you might need a light jacket or sweater at night in the winter months. But do not underestimate the sun — you’ll need to wear sunscreen to avoid a bad burn in all seasons of the year.
Get more details on Tulum’s weather at holidayweather.com.
So what will you be doing on your Tulum trip? Relaxing on a beach lounger. Taking sunset walks. Eating at local spots — and even the fancy ones are relatively casual. Cooling off in cenotes or the beach by Mayan ruins. Snorkeling with turtles up the road in Akumal Bay. Bicycling along the beach road.
If you plan to get around by bike, you’ll want to add some shorts or rompers to the mix for sure. I don’t pack heels, because I’m a klutz-and-a-half. Also, the roads are not well paved or lit. Instead bring flip flops and strappy sandals. Add a pair of sneakers or hiking sandals if you plan to bicycle or explore ruins. Many beach hotels have sand pathways as soon as you step onto their grounds — which means BARE FEET. (Ahhhhhh!)
Tulum Packing List
Truly, what you’ll wear most in Tulum is a bathing suit! I recommend packing at least two bathing suits and cover-ups since you’ll spend most of your time on the beach. I’d also take 4-7 dresses or rompers/outfits based on how many days you will stay. Taking one-piece outfits doesn’t allow you to mix-and-match, but you can always “sink-wash” a few items. Tulum restaurants are lit mostly by candlelight and lanterns, so no one’s ever going to know if you re-wear your faves. Also a bathing suit with a sarong is completely acceptable attire for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner at many beachfront spots!
See below for designer-inspired “what to wear in Tulum” options at reasonable prices. (Because you should splurge on dinner the last night of your trip, not a $500 caftan.)
Ultimate Tulum Packing List
Depending on how long you’ll stay, your personal style, and what your activities will be, you can customize this packing guide:
- At least 2 bathing suits and cover ups (caftans and sarongs are great)
- 3-4 dresses for easy dinner outfits
- Romper or jumpsuit
- Shorts and t-shirts for sightseeing days
- Flip flops and strappy sandals
- Sneakers or hiking sandals (perfect for slippery rocks at cenotes or visiting ruins)
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Sunscreen and reef-safe sunscreen for swimming with turtles. You’ll need sunscreen in all seasons, as the rays there are very strong!
- Mosquito repellent – no joke, they will eat you alive. Take a spray with DEET and wipes for on-the-go
- After-sun lotion or aloe vera. I always have trouble finding this there after I get too much sun (like every time I visit)
- Antibacterial wipes
- Anti-chafing balm
- Outlet adapter if you’re from overseas (if you’re from North America, you won’t need one – Mexico has the same plugs as the U.S. and Canada)
- Dry pouch for your room/car keys or a dry bag
- Headlamp for biking – there isn’t much light on the beach roads, so it will help if you plan to bike after dark
- Battery pack – if your hotel has limited hours of electricity
- Tide sink packets for handwashing items or rinsing out your bathing suits
- Quick dry towel for swimming in cenotes (or be sure your hotel provides beach towels you can take along)
- Waterproof camera or waterproof phone case (cases don’t take great pics underwater, but you can get some supermodel surf shots without worrying about water damage)
- Snorkel and mask or prescription snorkel mask — if you want to snorkel with turtles or in cenotes and don’t want to worry about renting equipment
- A backpack rather than a suitcase if you’ll be staying in a beachfront hotel. You’ll likely walk through the sand to get to your room.
Pro tips: Learn to tie a sarong with this video from Cosmopolitan. Also, check out my advice on how to create a packing list for any trip.
If you use my Tulum packing list, feel free to tag me in an Instagram pic from your trip or message me! I’d love to know if this helped you prepare for your getaway.
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Or get my tips on the best beachfront hotels in Tulum, including boutique stays, luxury resorts and villas great for a group.
Tulum has a seductive hold over many vacation-goers thanks to clear blue waters, a chic but laid-back vibe, and beach hotels that let you step from your room right into sugary-soft white sand. There is nowhere else in the world like Tulum. Find out the best places to stay for a dream vacation, honeymoon or girls’ trip here!
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