Ultimate Tulum Packing List – What To Wear In Tulum [2024]

The bohemian town of Tulum, Mexico, is famous for its beautiful beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a wild jungle backdrop. It’s a popular beach destination for vacations, but a Tulum packing list needs to include more than just beachwear and sandals.

During your Tulum vacation, you might also want to take a yoga class, explore ancient Mayan ruins, or swim in the clear waters of a cenote. 

So our ultimate packing list for Tulum contains all the essentials you’ll need for an amazing Tulum trip, along with some fabulous Tulum outfit ideas and tips on what to leave at home!

Where is Tulum, Mexico?

The picturesque town of Tulum, Mexico, lies at the southern end of the Yucatan Peninsula. It overlooks the Caribbean coast in the Riviera Maya, a region known for ancient ruins, stunning beaches, and awe-inspiring cenotes.

Tulum is also renowned for its vibrant culture, cute boutique shops selling handmade crafts, and delicious local cuisine that blends modern Mexican flavors, the freshest seafood, and traditional Mayan dishes.

Our ultimate packing list is perfect for a Tulum vacation, but you could also use it to visit other Riviera Maya resorts such as Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Akumal. 

What to wear in Tulum 

Of course, you want to feel comfortable on vacation, and Tulum is the perfect tropical destination for this. Its laid-back vibe is very bohemian, beachy, and natural, and this is reflected in what people wear. When you pack for Tulum, think of natural materials, flowy fabrics, and a chic hippie aesthetic to fit right in.

The dress code for a Tulum vacation is all about embracing the town’s relaxed and carefree spirit. During the day, women tend to wear shorts, t-shirts, or sundresses with strappy sandals or flip flops, or beachwear if they’re staying by the pool or on the beach. 

People dress up a little for dinner at Tulum restaurants, but you don’t need to pack fancy dresses and high heels. Flowy dresses will be perfect with a smarter pair of sandals and some fabulous accessories.

Make choosing your Tulum wardrobe easy with these simple tips:

Work with a color scheme: Choosing clothes in coordinating and complementary colors makes it easy to mix and match items, and that makes your wardrobe go further. Tulum has a natural vibe, so people tend to wear natural colors and prints.

Pick clothes to suit your activities: If you’re planning an active vacation with day trips to Mayan ruins, you’ll need different clothes than if you’re going to spend most of your days on the beach.

Stick with your personal style: You don’t need to change how you dress just because you’re going on vacation. Packing clothes that you love and make you feel good so you can relax and enjoy your trip. 

What clothes to pack for Tulum

Lightweight, airy clothing is a must for your upcoming trip to Tulum, and natural fibers like linen or cotton will help keep you cool on hot and humid days. 

Remember that Tulum is great for shopping, so if you forget to pack something or decide you want a new dress for a special evening out, you can easily pick something up in one of the many independent boutiques.

Tops, shorts, and pants

If you want to keep your packing to a minimum, take tops that you can mix and match with different shorts. A mix of sleeved t-shirts and sleeveless tank tops will give you the most versatile looks, but remember that sleeved tops offer more protection against mosquitos.

This two-piece play set is a fun addition to your Tulum wardrobe. It has a gorgeous natural print and a cami top with chic spaghetti straps that highlight your neck and collarbones.

You’ll spend most of your days in swimwear or shorts, but even if the weather forecast looks perfect, it’s a good idea to take one pair of long pants for cooler evenings. Light, flowy pants will be more comfortable than jeans, and these linen palazzo pants suit Tulum’s boho vibe.

Leggings or yoga pants are also great for hikes and day tours. These lightweight Lululemon Fast and Free Tights even have a handy pocket for your cell phone.

Dresses

I love wearing dresses on vacation, so I definitely recommend packing two or three for a Tulum break. If you add a day-to-night dress to your case, you can just change your sandals and add accessories for an evening look. 

I love this cut-out dress. It’s lightweight and stretchy, which makes it comfortable to wear and very easy to pack. There’s a wide choice of different colors and color combinations, so you’re sure to find one that suits your style.

Flowy maxi dresses are perfect for your Tulum packing list. I love wearing this super-flowy Boho dress, which I have in Royal Blue. It’s super-lightweight, comfortable, and looks absolutely stunning. The only thing that I don’t like is that the elastic around the top of the sleeves is pretty wide, so if you have skinny arms, the sleeves will hang down.

On my recent visit to Tulum, I also wore this gorgeous dress from Pear and Caviar, a Greek holiday brand. It was ideal for evenings in Tulum, where people dress up a little, but it’s still pretty laid-back. US readers can find similar dresses available on the Querida Costa website. 

Underwear 

Underwear is light and doesn’t take up much room in your luggage, so don’t worry too much about how much you’re packing. A sports bra might make hiking around the Mayan ruins more comfortable.

You’ll probably spend most of your days barefoot or in flip-flops, but remember to take socks if you plan to go hiking. Layer up two pairs of lightweight synthetic socks to prevent blisters.

Swimwear

The weather in Tulum is hot and humid all year round, and you’ll likely be wearing swimsuits and coverups all through your vacation. I would recommend packing a few swimsuits for your visit, and my go-to brand for swimwear is Sea Level.

I also love this crochet coverup, which is ideal to wear over your bathing suit for walking to the pool or beach. It keeps you cool, looks cute and the cut-out pieces create a unique poolside style. 

A kimono-style coverup is not just great for the pool or a beach day. It also pairs well with cut-off jeans and a vest top for a relaxed daytime look, or you can throw it over a dress if the evening turns chilly.

Shawl, cardigan, or light Jacket

It’s a good idea to wear a lightweight jacket or cardigan on the plane, then you have it handy if the temperature dips in the evenings.

Alternatively, a light shawl is a great option with added versatility, as you can also use it as a beach coverup or to shelter from a sudden rain shower. It even makes an emergency throw if the air-con in your hotel room is a little bit too cold!

Rain Jacket

The rainy season in Tulum tends to last from June to October, with August and September being the rainiest months. If you’re visiting at that time of year, it’s worth packing a light rain jacket or poncho for day trips.

This packable rain jacket would be ideal. It’s waterproof and breathable, so you’ll stay dry, cool, and comfortable in rain showers. It also packs down into its own pouch that will fit easily into your day bag.

What accessories to pack for Tulum

Of course, you’ll need a great pair of sunglasses in sunny Tulum, and these Kimorn sunglasses are a good option. I have a pair and love them so much that I bought them for seven friends of different ages and facial shapes – they look great on all of us!

Wearing Kimorn Sunglasses

The sun in Tulum gets very strong, especially in the middle of the day. If you’re out on a long day trip and exploring areas with little shade, you’ll be glad you took a packable sun hat. This one has a wide brim that looks great on the beach and on day trips, and it protects your face, hair, and the back of your neck from UV damage.

Packing a few accessories will make it easy to switch up the look of your outfit so your capsule wardrobe will go even further. Leave your most precious jewelry safe at home and take along some gorgeous inexpensive accessories like this earring set. They’re very lightweight and make it easy to dress your outfit up or down.

travel jewelry organizer will help you organize your jewelry so it doesn’t turn into a tangled mess.

A small crossbody bag is ideal for walking to dinner in the evenings. I have this Tory Burch Crossbody bag and frequently use it when I’m traveling light on trips. It’s just the right size for my iPhone, credit cards, lipstick or lip balm. I actually think I prefer the taupe Tory Burch bag to the color I have – maybe I’ll have to treat myself! 

This inexpensive beach bag is my #1 favorite recent purchase because it’s so cute and goes with pretty much everything. It’s light enough to carry on day trips but big enough to fit in all your beach essentials. 

If you don’t want to take up too much space in your luggage, there are plenty of bags on sale on the beach or in Tulum town. Alternatively, a mesh tote bag packs down so small that it hardly takes up any room at all!

waterproof phone pouch is also great for water activities like boat trips, cenote excursions, or just paddling in the ocean. It’ll protect your phone from water damage so you can capture some amazing photos of your Tulum trip.

If you’re planning excursions to places like Xcaret or Chichen Itza, a crossbody day bag will carry all your stuff. This one has a side mesh pocket for your reusable water bottle and several handy compartments for storing smaller items, and it comes in a range of colors.

What shoes to wear in Tulum

You’ll probably wear flip-flops or sandals most of the time on your Tulum vacation, but depending on what activities you’re planning, you might want to pack a few other pairs of shoes.

If you’re booking water-based activities like a boat tour of Sian Ka’an, you’ll need to pack some sandals or flip-flops that you don’t mind getting wet. These Olukai flip-flops are both rugged and comfortable, ideal for exploring Mayan ruins. 

Wearing Olukai Flip-Flops

Longer walking tours and day trips will require sturdier footwear, so consider traveling in tennis shoes, lightweight sneakers like the Ecco Soft 7 shoe, or sandals like Birkenstocks

Water shoes are perfect for visiting a cenote, spending the day at Xcaret, or just paddling in the ocean. These water shoes with anti-slip soles are lightweight, quick-drying, and come in various designs.

And, of course, you’ll want to pack some cute sandals or wedges for the evenings. 

Tulum essentials

The most important things to pack are your passport, credit cards, power adapter, health insurance, and travel insurance. For peace of mind, it’s best to store your important documents in the safe once you’re in your hotel room. 

However, there are a few more essential items to pop in your case when you travel to Tulum.

The environment around Tulum is very fragile, and the chemicals in regular sunscreens can damage it. Reef-safe sunscreen like Sun Bum or Supergoop Play is essential, but the Sun Bum sunscreen irritates my son’s eczema-prone skin, so bear that in mind if you have sensitive skin. 

You can easily buy after-sun lotion in Tulum, so save space by leaving that out of your suitcase or carry-on.

Tulum’s jungle location means that insect repellent is another must-have item. A bug spray with a high DEET content will keep mosquitos and ticks at bay. Don’t bother with combination sunscreen/insect repellent sprays because you won’t always need to apply both products at the same time. 

What not to pack for Tulum 

Once you’ve worked out what to pack for Tulum, leaving some items at home is just as important. Leave all these out of your suitcase so you can save room for more clothes!

Hair Dryer or Straightening Irons: Most hotel rooms have a hair dryer, and the Tulum humidity means you won’t be able to keep your hair straight for long. So leave your styling tools at home and enjoy the natural beach hair look on your Tulum vacation.  

High heels: Pretty much everyone lives in sandals in Tulum, even in the fancier restaurants, and you’ll probably even find that you’re barefoot for most of the day. Give your feet a break from high heels and pack some dressy sandals for the evenings instead.  

Valuable Jewelry: Don’t risk losing valuable or sentimental jewelry while you’re on vacation. Keep your expensive pieces safe at home and pack inexpensive, stylish jewelry you can easily replace if it goes astray. 

OTC Medicines: You’ll need to pack your regular medication and it’s a good idea to pack a simple first aid kit with some travel essentials like Tylenol, ibuprofen, antihistamines and Imodium. But local pharmacies in Mexico stock all the same medications as in the USA, so you don’t need to take your whole medicine cabinet!

FAQs

The answers to these frequently asked questions will make packing for a Tulum vacation easy!

When is the best time of year to visit Tulum?

Tulum has a warm tropical climate, with hot and humid weather most of the year. The weather in Tulum is best between February and May. This is the dry season, so you should see little rain, and the average temperatures are between 75°F and 82°F. Of course, this is also the high season in Tulum, which means there are lots of tourists around.

If you’re looking for a cheaper vacation in Tulum, you might like to visit during the rainy season from June to October – September is the rainiest month. The Riviera Maya sees warm weather at this time of year, and the rain showers are generally short, so it’s still a great time to visit Tulum.

What should I wear to visit Mayan ruins? 

If you want to visit Mayan ruins like the Tulum Ruins, the Muyil Ruins, or Chichen Itza, you need to dress for an active day out. 

Dress comfortably in shorts and a t-shirt or tank top, and wear comfortable walking shoes with a closed-toe as you’ll be walking long distances over uneven ground. If you wear sneakers or walking shoes, layering two pairs of lightweight socks will help avoid blisters. 

A sun hat will protect your face, hair, and neck from the sun, and don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage.

Take a day bag or lightweight travel backpack with you to carry your biodegradable sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and plenty of water.

What should I pack to visit cenotes in Tulum?

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that you can explore and even swim in. The rocks can be slippery, so wearing water shoes will help you avoid slipping.

If you plan on swimming in the cenote, it’s worth taking a dry bag with a small quick-dry travel towel and a change of clothes. Don’t forget to wear reef-safe sunscreen made with natural ingredients, and apply it well before your swim so that it has time to soak in thoroughly. 

And don’t forget your waterproof phone case so that you can take some amazing photos of your cenote visit!

What should I pack for yoga classes in Tulum

Tulum is famous as a destination for well-being, and many visitors come for yoga and wellness retreats at resorts like Nômade Tulum.

If you plan to join a yoga class during your Tulum vacation, pack some leggings or yoga pants, a tank top, and a sports bra. If you have one, you might prefer to use your own yoga mat, but most yoga studios and resorts will have them available for you to borrow or rent for a small extra cost.

Whether you’re planning an active break visiting ancient ruins, a wellness retreat, or a beach vacation, following the tips in this ultimate guide to packing for Tulum will ensure you have everything you need for a fabulous Mexico vacation!

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Ashley
Ashley
I'm Ashley, the founder of Wanderlux and a travel junkie. When I'm not at home near Seattle, Washington, you can find me on the beach in Mexico or traveling the world. Wherever I am, I aim to travel respectfully, show my kids new things, and learn more than I teach.

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