A [Checklist] For What To Pack For Tulum

Welcome to the ultimate Tulum packing list! Here you will find absolutely EVERYTHING about what to pack for Tulum. Trust me. I will take you through every category of items one by one and give you the low down on what to bring and why, as well as what not to pack and why.

I have also left a quick checklist at the end for each of the main activities in Tulum, so you can reference it when packing for each day out! You’re welcome.

Okay, let’s dive into it!

👗 Clothes

Let’s talk about what to wear in Tulum. Tulum is a jungle-beach destination. While it has a very chilled dress style, it’s also very insta-fashion centred. We’re talking about effortless chic, flowy maxi dresses, cute sandals, and flower print shirts for the guys.

So, while wearing flip-flops or even having bare feet is totally fine most of the time, the Tulum style also includes a subtle effort factor. Some nightclubs have a dress code, so double-check what to wear clubbing in Tulum to ensure you have the proper attire.

Now that the general Tulum style has been covered let’s turn to the more practical elements of clothes packing for Tulum, the weather!

what to pack for tulum

What is the weather like in Tulum?

Tulum is situated on the Yucatan Peninsula, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. It is less than two (2) hours away from Cancun. This means it has a tropical climate, and the weather is consistent year-round. The temperatures range between 70˚F and 88˚F (21˚C and 31˚C) throughout the year.

May to October is the warmest part of the year in Tulum. The average temperatures range from 75˚F to 88˚F (24˚C to 31˚C). Unfortunately, this period is also the rainy season, with as many as 10 to 23 days of rain per month on average and 100mm to 230mm of rain per month.

November to April are the cooler months in Tulum. The average temperatures range from 70˚F to 84˚F (21˚C to 29˚C). This is the dry season, with as few as 5 to 10 days of rain per month on average and 40mm to 100mm of rain per month.

As the Tulum weather is not exactly extreme, the only thing you may need to change or add to your packing list may be a light sweater, windbreaker in the cooler months, or a rain jacket if you visit Tulum in the wetter months.

Dresses

Bring 5-7 outfits in total for a week-long trip. Since it is hot and humid, maxi dresses, sun dresses, caftans, rompers, and jumpsuits will be the most comfortable and fit best with the Tulum style.

Shorts and Tshirt or tank tops

Cotton or denim shorts are an excellent option for days when you’ll be sightseeing and walking around. How many you pack will depend on your preference, how long you stay, and what activities you do. Tank tops are a better option than Tees if you are concerned about sweaty underarms.

Bathing suits/swimming costumes

If you go to the cenotes, you’ll need about three of these and a long-sleeved swimming costume for sun protection. Sunscreen is prohibited in the cenotes to protect marine life.

Beach coverups

In Tulum, most of the time, you live in your bathing suit. So, having 2-3 coverups or sarongs to go over your bathing suit can make you feel more comfortable and give you a little something to throw over your costume without having to change clothes completely.

Sun hat/cap

Your sun hat is your best friend in Tulum. Not only is it cute, but it also protects your face and skin from those harsh rays.

Headband

A headband helps you keep your hair under control in the humid jungle and makes a great accessory!

Light jacket

You won’t need warm clothes for Tulum at any time of the year. But you may want to pack a light jacket for the evenings or if you’re going in the cooler months.

Tights/yoga pants

If you plan on doing any yoga or exercise, you’ll need a pair of tights to do it in! These are also great for day outings where you’ll be very active.

Pyjamas

Pack light pyjamas with a pair of linen pants just in case of some cool nights.  

🩴 Shoes

You do not need a whole shoe bag for Tulum. Since you’ll be on the beach a lot of the time, all you need is shoes for the fun activities you’ll be doing, like hiking or going out. Take a look at the 3-4 essential pairs of shoes you’ll need below.

Wedges/dressy sandals

For going out to restaurants or clubs that ask their patrons to spruce up, check what to wear clubbing in Tulum beforehand.

Strappy sandals or flipflops

These will be your everyday wear. If you choose a hybrid pair of sandals, they could double as going-out shoes.

what shoes to pack for tulum
Birkies are always a great choice for Tulum (📸©️ Unsplash)

Walking shoes

It’s essential to wear comfortable shoes, like sneakers, if you are going to cycle around or do a lot of walking (which is common in Tulum). Some of the cenotes are off the beaten path and require a bit of walking to get to them. Hiking sandals are great for that as well.

Water shoes

Water shoes are helpful for grip when faced with walking on the slippery rocks at the cenotes.

🎥 Adventure Gear

Sunglasses

The Mexican sun can be extremely harsh on your eyes. Bring a proper pair of polarised shades. Trust me, and your eyes will thank you.

Snorkel and mask

If you don’t want to hire gear or if your hotel doesn’t provide it, then bringing your own mask and snorkel is a good idea, especially if you want to do a lot of snorkelling.

It works out more affordable and is usually a better experience when using stuff you know is a good fit. You don’t want to be left with a leaky mask or one that hurts your brow ridge.

Waterproof pouch or fanny pack

Great for keeping your room key or phone dry when doing water or beach activities.

Filtered water bottle

The tap water in Tulum is not safe to drink out of the tap. A water bottle with a filter is essential if you don’t want to be buying gallons of bottled water. The Water-To-Go Reusable Water Bottle with a 3-stage filter is a good option. They claim that the filter removes 99% of bacteria and contaminants in the water.

Quick dry towel

A quick dry towel is a must-have for snorkelling, boat trips, or any adventure activity. You don’t want to be lugging a heavy wet towel around with you or be left without something to dry yourself because your sloppy damp towel is sitting in a heap somewhere.

Ecofriendly sunscreen

You’ll need to wear sunscreen every day, but you’ll need eco-friendly sunblock, particularly if you are snorkelling with turtles or anywhere near the reef.

Dry bag

Keeps all your essentials (phone, camera, spare clothes) dry during water activities. This is especially helpful at the cenotes, on a boat trip, or if you go scuba diving.

Backpack

A dau backpack is helpful for hikes, outings and general use. Another option is to supersize the fanny pack you bring to fit everything you’d need for a day excursion.

👩‍💻 Electronics and Gadgets

what should you pack for a tulum trip
Remember the essentials (📸©️ Unsplash)

Powerbank or battery pack & phone charger

Being out and about daily can leave your phone’s battery drained. To avoid being stranded, take a battery pack to charge your phone or your camera on the go. The last thing you want is your phone dying at lunchtime with no Google Maps to get you back to your hotel.

Outlet adapter if youre coming from outside the US/Canada

Mexico has the same plugs as the US, so you don’t need to worry about this if you’re coming from the US or Canada. If you are coming from far and wide, ensure you get an adapter that fits into Type A/ Type B outlets. (That’s the one with the two parallel flat prongs/ two parallel flat prongs with a third stabiliser prong below).

Multiplug outlet extender

A multi-plug outlet extender is super helpful if you have a lot of devices to charge and only one wall socket.

Waterproof camera

If you have a GoPro, you’ll want to take it with you to explore the cenotes and all the other adventures you’ll go on while in Tulum.

Kindle/book

This is for the downtime between adventuring, partying and eating.

Headlamp

For walking or cycling at night. There are no streetlights on Bead road, so a headlamp or a torch is essential.

Waterproof phone case

Get a waterproof phone case if you want to save your phone from sure destruction. So many of the fun things to do in Tulum are water-based.

💄 Toiletries, Personals and Medication

Sweatproof makeup

It’s humid in Tulum, and you’ll be sweating just existing, let alone when you’re out and about. Though, do remember that minimal makeup is the vibe in Tulum, so you can get away with just a few essential items.

Costume jewellery

Bring a few versatile jewellery items, but don’t bring anything sentimental or valuable. I expand more on this under the what not to bring section later on.

Perfume/deodorant

You’ll want an antiperspirant deodorant and a body spray or perfume/ cologne if you want to beat the heat.

Bug repellent

The mosquitoes, in particular, are a real problem in Tulum. Do not forgo bug repellent! Some options are below:

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Eco-friendly mosquito repellent
Not harmful to the environment but protects you just fine.

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Anti-mosquito bracelets
These work well if you’re not a fan of mosquito repellent creams, and what’s great is that you can put them on and forget about them.

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Bug Spray Wipes
These are AWESOME. Since it is so humid in Tulum, you can use these to wipe yourself off and, at the same time, protect against bug bites.

Antichafing balm

It helps with the chaffing that tends to occur on the inner of your legs due to the humidity and sweat. I know, not very attractive, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Earplugs

Tulum’s parties can get noisy. Between the partying and the ocean and jungle sounds, constantly being exposed to high dB levels can be damaging. These earplugs for festivals are a great start. And getting decent earplugs can help you get some quality sleep too!

After sun/aloe vera

Since it’s practically an initiation to get burnt during your first few days in Tulum, you’ve got to take some after-sun. It’s not super easy to find in Tulum, so bring it along.

Dramamine/anti-sea-sickness medication

If you’re going boating, this is important, especially if you know that you get seasick easily).

Prescribed medication + small first aid kit

You don’t need to take the whole pharmacy to Tulum, but bring your essential medication and a simple first aid kit with things like disinfectant, band-aids, and antibacterial cream.

All the other stuff

  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Body Wash
  • Razors
  • Hairbrush
  • Lip balm/chapstick
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Anti-frizz product
  • Hair bands

🛂 Documents and Important Stuff

Passport

Must be valid for six (6) months after the date of entry to Mexico. Consult the Mexican consulate website beforehand to be sure.

Drivers license

A US driver’s license is valid in Mexico, so if you hire a rental car, you’ll need this. It can also be used as a form of ID.

Travel insurance documents

It’s worth it to purchase travel insurance if anything happens to you while you’re out of range of your regular insurance.

Copies of documents & any critical information

In case you lose something important. Having copies of important documents like your hotel address and itinerary is a lifesaver. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even bring a couple of passport-sized photos, so if you lose your ID or passport, you can get it replaced with less hassle.

Debit and credit card

It’s wise to have both, so you can access cash if you can’t use the card and a card if you’ve run out of money and for emergencies.

Telcel prepaid Mexico SIM card

You’ll need to get this once you arrive because the Wi-Fi in Tulum is not known to be great, and AT&T and other cell providers don’t always get a signal. If you want reliable connectivity, get a prepaid Telcel SIM card. They are known for the best reception as the most prominent provider in Mexico. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to go about getting connected.

When you leave Mexico, you can just pop your standard SIM back into your phone, and you’ll have your old number again.

🧳 Miscellaneous + nice to haves

Beach tote bag

If you’re not a backpack kind of person, you can use this to double as your day bag.

Evening purse

Just for the essentials on a night out.

Yoga mat

Of course, this one only applies to you if you plan on doing yoga or exercise.

Tide sink packets

If you intend on doing any hand washing of essential items, tide sink packets or other portable detergent packets can really make your life easier.

Ziplock bags

These are to keep the ants out of your snacks during your outings. The ants will get into anything that is not airtight.

Pesos

Rather don’t bring dollars if you can avoid it. Many places accept dollars but’ll charge you a ridiculous exchange rate or an additional fee. Instead, exchange your money at Cancun airport or at a bank.

What NOT to bring to Tulum

High heels

Leave those heels at home, ladies! You won’t need them in Tulum. Wedges will do just fine for the fancier restaurants and clubs, and you will thank me later for saving you from trying to navigate the uneven sandy ground in heels.

If those reasons are not enough, the Tulum style is better suited to dressy sandals anyway- heels are a bit too formal for Tulum.

Unnecessary valuables

Valuable items like expensive jewellery, unnecessary electronics and designer clothing can get easily lost and may also make you a target for theft. It’s best to leave these kinds of things at home.

Wheely luggage bag

A wheely luggage bag will be your worst nightmare in Tulum. They are so hard to drag around on the uneven sandy paths to the hotels. However, if you must bring one, get one with spinner wheels.

Dollars

The best thing to do is exchange your dollars for pesos at the Cancun Airport when you land or at the bank in Tulum. Note that there may be extra fees if you use dollars to pay in Tulum or exchange at one of their currency exchange offices.

More than one pair of long pants/warm top

Don’t waste luggage space on warm clothes. Tulum is not a cold place. Even in the cooler months. If you want to take some longs for the evenings or visit Tulum in winter, only bring one pair.

Extra medication

Medication is available at the pharmacies in Tulum. The only drug that you should be sure to bring is your prescriptions, things you cannot live without, and a small first aid kit with a few essentials.

Hairdryer or straightener

Don’t bother with these. Tulum-style hair is beach wavy anyway, and the humidity will ruin anything you’ve done to tame your hair within five minutes.

📃 Quick checklists for specific activities

Everyday items for Outings

  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Battery pack
  • Snacks
  • Filtered Water Bottle

Tulum cenotes/snorkelling

  • Reef safe sunscreen/ Long-sleeved bathing suit for cenotes
  • Water shoes
  • Walking shoes (sneakers)
  • Snorkelling gear (Mask + Snorkel)
  • Set of dry clothes
  • Coverup
  • Waterproof pouch/ fanny pack
  • Quick dry towel

Tulum ruins

  • Sneakers (comfortable shoes with a great grip)
  • Socks
  • Shorts + Tee or Tank top
  • Sun hat/ cap
  • Backpack
  • Sunscreen

Restaurant/night out

  • Wedges
  • Sweatproof makeup
  • Sundress/ boho chic outfit
  • Low-value jewellery
  • Deodorant/ body spray
  • Waterproof fanny pack
  • Pesos/ debit or credit card
  • Light sweater or shawl (don’t bring this clubbing, it will get in the way)

Boating

  • Hat
  • Quick dry towel
  • Dry bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Bathing suits

Beach day

  • Beach towels
  • Bathing suits
  • Beach tote bag
  • Coverup
  • Flip flops/ sandals
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Waterproof pouch/ fanny pack
  • Sun hat/ cap

There you have it! Didn’t I tell you this is the best article for your ultimate Tulum packing list? If this was TL;DR, here’s the bottom line: Pack for the beach and anything you need for planned activities. And bring plenty of cash.

Your Tulum vacation is for you to enjoy, so don’t stress too much! Do your due diligence, and after that, take every bump in the road as a twist in your adventure.

If you still don’t have all the information you could need, look at some other things to know about Tulum for extra insight and packing knowledge.