Last Updated on October 25, 2020
Whether you’re all booked for a vacation to Tulum, Mexico or just starting your planning, the question of what to wear is an important one. Tulum is unlike any other destination in the world, with a chic but laid back vibe, stunning white-sand beaches, and world-class hotels and restaurants. For first-time visitors, this can make it a little intimidating to pack for! I’ve been lucky to visit many times over more than a decade, and have compiled all my best tips into this Tulum packing list.
This Tulum, Mexico packing list also works for other destinations in the Riviera Maya like Cancun, Akumal, Playa del Carmen and Bacalar. In it you’ll find basic “what to wear” in Tulum fashion tips, a comprehensive Tulum packing list, and additional items to bring based on your activities and itinerary. There are handy links to shop online and Tulum outfits inspo. And I’ve also included weather information so you’re covered no matter what time of year you visit!
Plus, if you subscribe to my mailing list, you can download my printable basic packing list and capsule wardrobe planner that goes along with my guide to how to create a packing list for any destination!
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What to Wear in Tulum: 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 Tulum style is chic yet laid back, so think flowy skirts, rompers, caftans and off-the-shoulder dresses with sandals. People do dress up more for dinner at the nicer restaurants. But still, Tulum is a beach destination, so it’s more of an effortless chic look. 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.
Find out what to wear in Tulum and get an overview of Tulum style & activities with this quick video!
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Tulum Weather and Seasons for Packing
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 for your specific vacation dates at holidayweather.com.
Tulum Activities to Pack For
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 since it’s a beach destination. 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 your Tulum packing list. Also, leave your heels at home: the roads are poorly paved and are unlit at night. Instead bring flip flops and strappy sandals. Add a pair of sneakers or hiking sandals if you plan to bicycle or explore ruins and cenotes. Many beach hotels have sand pathways as soon as you step onto their grounds — which means BARE FEET. (Ahhhhhh!)
Tulum Packing List Planning
I usually recommend a travel capsule wardrobe for packing. But truly, what you’ll wear most in Tulum is a bathing suit and cover up! I have a step-by-step guide to creating a packing list for any trip using a travel capsule wardrobe – check it out here.
For your Tulum packing list, 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 5-7 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 laid-back beachfront spots!
As with your heels, leave most of your jewelry at home. Again, the Tulum style is super laid-back. Bring some basic, packable jewelry and maybe a statement neckace and earrings for nicer dinners and your Instagram shots.
Tulum Packing Checklist
Depending on how long you’ll stay, your personal style, and what your activities will be, you can customize this Tulum packing list for what to wear in Tulum. Keep scrolling for more Tulum outfits inspiration and tips on what luggage to bring to Tulum!
Ultimate Tulum Packing List
- 2-3 bathing suits and cover ups (caftans and sarongs are great too)
- 5-7 dresses, rompers / jumpsuits, or outfits total
- Shorts and t-shirts for sightseeing days, if you prefer
- Flip flops and strappy sandals – leave the heels at home
- Light sweater or wrap for evenings, especially in the winter months
- A summery cross-body bag for around town and/or straw clutch for evenings (check out some cross-body bags here, these cute straw clutches, and even cuter bamboo clutches here!)
- A straw bag or beach tote – this straw bag would work for beach and dinner outfits
- Wide-brimmed packable sun hat
- Sunscreen – the Mexico sun is strong in all seasons! Sun Bum is a great sunscreen brand available in different formulas: spray, lotion, face lotion, kids, etc. – check out their Amazon store here.
- 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 – it’ll be hot, so it keeps your thighs from chafing (glam, I know)
- 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 on walks along the beach (I lost my cabana key once in the surf!)
- Headlamp for biking or flashlight for walking at night – there aren’t any street lights on the bead road
- Waterproof phone case (cases don’t take great pics underwater, it will protect your phone for beach and surf photos)
- Ear plugs and sleep mask – if you like to sleep in, or if the sounds of the beach or jungle will keep you awake
Tulum packing list “extras” based on activities
Based on my prior trips to Tulum, I recommend also packing these “extras” according to your activities and itinerary plans.
Things to pack for visiting cenotes and snorkeling
- Dry bag or dry backpack to keep your gear dry and sand-free
- Quick dry towel for swimming in cenotes (or be sure your hotel provides beach towels you can take along)
- Hiking sandals – perfect for slippery rocks at cenotes
- Reef-friendly sunscreen for swimming with turtles
- Snorkel and mask if you want to snorkel with turtles or swim in cenotes (and don’t want to worry about renting equipment). Cressi makes a good all-in-one kit here that includes a mesh gear bag.
- Waterproof camera if you like to take underwater photos
Things to pack for visiting ruins and other day trips
Things to bring for use at your hotel
- Battery pack – if your hotel has limited hours of electricity
- Tide sink packets for handwashing items or rinsing out your bathing suits
- If you plan to take any snacks, bring plastic zip bags or containers with lids to keep them in – the tiny ants in Mexico will find anything sweet!
Tulum Outfits Inspo & Extra Shopping Links
Need some Tulum outfits inspo and more ideas on what to wear in Tulum? Shop these cover ups, dresses, swimwear and accessories that are perfect for the low-key, chic Tulum style!
What Luggage Should You Bring to Tulum?
Tulum beach hotels often have uneven paving or sandy paths to get to your room. I figured this out the first time I visited Tulum, when I had to drag my wheeled bag through the sand to my beachfront cabana. (Insert world’s tiniest violin song here!)
If you’re someone who can pack carry-on only, though, you won’t have any problems. This Delsey Helium carry-on is a stylish option if you need a new wheeled bag, and this carry-on is a great weekend tote that slides over a bag handle.
If you’re looking for a versatile backpack, this classic pack from Osprey has an awesome deal right now since a newer model just came out. Osprey has a lifetime warranty and is a favorite of adventure travelers!
I hope this guide helps you have an amazing Tulum trip! Be sure to join my mailing list to download my free packing list and capsule wardrobe planner, and check out my guide to creating a packing list for any trip.
Learn how to create a packing list for minimalist travel with my step-by-step guide. Travel light and chic + get a free packing list template & capsule wardrobe planner!
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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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