The first mistake people make when packing for Cancun & Riviera Maya…..overpacking!
You’re not moving to Mexico, you’re going on vacation 🙂
Times have really changed since we first started traveling to Mexico, major stores carry almost everything you will need.
Bring along a few extra, just in case you have delays returning home,
you don’t want to be without needed medications.
Carry in original prescription bottle.
Extra contact lenses or glasses
I also bring a copy of my prescription when I travel. I once saw a wave wash a man’s glasses off, we helped him search but, never found them. I can’t imagine spending my vacation not being able to see!
Photocopy of your passport and I.D.
Take a copy or scan the information page of your passport and email it to an account you can get to from anywhere. If you lose your passport, you may have to travel to Merida for a new one and having the copies will help. Also copy your travel insurance papers, fronts and backs of credit and bank cards.
Don’t bring alot of cash, the atm machines are the best way to get pesos as you need them.One credit card for emergencies or large purchases.
Do arrive with $1 dollar bills for tips, you will start tippping upon arrival 🙂
Notify your bank and credit card company that you
will be traveling to Mexico and what dates.
1. At least 2 bathing suits.
2. Casual clothing, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, if you’re like me you end up wearing your favorite shorts a few times.
I pack less shorts and more tops.
3. Something a little dressier to wear to dinner.
Ladies- a sundress, skirt, or dressier shorts, capris, dressy sandals.
Guys- nicer shirt with a collar, dressier kaki shorts, or long pants,dressy sandals, or shoes.
4. I always take a light jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt for an occasional cool evening. I’m always cold in airplanes, so I
just wear it or have it in my carry-on.
5. Shoes, flip flops, dressier sandals, comfy walking shoes.
6. Swimsuit cover-up. I like buying the colorful pareos in Mexico
to tie around me, they’re fun, pretty and inexpensive, and so
easy to pack!
Beach & outdoor necessities
1. Sunglasses, hat, visor.
2. A t-shirt to wear while snorkeling, so you don’t get a sunburned back.
3. We always take our own snorkel mask and fins. There are places you can rent this equipment. At least take your own mask and snorkel. A poor fitting mask can ruin a fun snorkeling day, especially if you wear contact lenses.
4. Collapsable cooler, bottle opener, koozies.
Not really a must take, but can come in handy.
Alot of Mexican beer bottles are not twist off!
5. Lots of sunscreen! Put it on every part of your body. You wouldn’t believe how many people we’ve seen with severely burnt feet, ears, lips and scalps. All of the eco-parks and dolphin swims require
eco-friendly sunscreens. We like Mexitan Products
6. Beach towel, the large resorts will provide beach towels, but if you are staying in a smaller hotel, they do not provide them. I like buying a colorful pareo to use as a beach towel, or buying a towel after I get there, they make a fun souvenir.
7. A cheap blow-up air mattress for floating in the pool or ocean.
On my last beach day, I usually give it away to someone on
8. Baby powder, great for getting the sand off your feet.
The rest of the stuff
1. Camera! You have to take pictures of all the beautiful and interesting things you see in Mexico! You absolutely have to take a picture of your bare feet on the beach with the blue Caribbean in the background, and let’s not forget the Corona bottle with a lime on top! (it’s a vacationer must!)
An inexpensive underwater camera is fun to take pics of the fishies, (or your snorkel buddy) while you snorkel. Don’t forget your battery charger and a good sized SD card so you can take 100s of pictures! You might even want to go to an internet cafe and send all your pictures home every couple of days. There’s always that slim chance you will lose your camera and all of your precious vacation memories.
2. Ziplock bags, the larger ones are great for bringing home damp, dirty clothes. I carry my camera & cell phone in one to keep the sand off. I also like the little ones for money, or small loose items. Please bring your zip locks home with you! Non-biodegradable items are a big problem in the resort areas of Mexico, we don’t
want to add to the problem.
3. Basic medical supplies, band-aids, anti-bacterial cream, tweezers, nail clippers/file, pain-reliever.
4. Mosquito spray.
5. Your usual toiletries, toothpaste, tooth brush, deodorant, shampoo, razor etc.
6. Washcloths, many small hotels don’t have them. We buy a
cheap package at Target or Walmart and leave them at the
hotel at the end of our trip.
7. Hand sanitizer
8. Travel toilet paper (you never know when you might need this)
9. If you’re prone to sea-sickness, take some kind of sea-sick preventative. We have used Sea-Bands with much success.
10. You might want to bring along some bubble wrap to wrap up that bottle of tequila or pretty talavera you buy to insure a safer trip home in your suitcase. A small collapsible duffel bag that you can fit into your regular bag is a good plan if you think you might be super-shopping. I always encourage helping the local economy!
11. A good book or two.
12. You’ll need a pen in your carry-on to fill out immigration forms on the plane.
13. We find the mesh pacsafe safes very useful.
14. Have a lot of electronics? cell phone charger, camera, ipod? Then you might find a small power strip handy.
The Ladies section
1. Speaking of hair…..Ladies, some of you will love your “beachy hair”, some won’t. The humidity, wind, and salt water will make your hair feel and look like it never has. It’s almost impossible to control, so you just have to go with it. Take along bobby pins and hair ties.
I also like buying some of the fun scarves and headbands you
can find in many shops.
2. I like to bring my favorite tropical shower gel and scrubber.
Gets all that sunscreen and sand off.
3. Make-up, I take very little, just the basics. After-sun moisturizer
is a good idea.
4. Hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners..if you absolutely must..just don’t over do it, try to settle for one appliance. You might want to take a 3 prong adapter for the outlet.
5. Jewelry, leave your good stuff at home, seriously you don’t want to lose something special to you in the water and you absolutely do not want to be walking around a developing country wearing alot of gold, diamonds, and expensive watches!
Besides, the cheap pretty trinkets you can buy in Mexico are a lot of fun to wear on vacation. I call it, “vacation jewelry” Buy a pretty string macrame anklet bracelet from a little girl on the beach, you’ll have fun purchasing and you’ll immediately feel like you’re on vacation.
Brand new purchase for my upcoming trip, this toiletry bag from eBags, I love it!
Bringing baby but don’t want to pack all the stuff?
Check out this website and rent it! Riviera Maya Baby Gear
Click here to go to the Mexican government customs website for a list of prohibited items.