The Ultimate Packing List for Mexico (+ Free Printable)

Last updated Sep 10, 2021 | Mexico | 0 comments

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Packing for your upcoming Mexico vacation? I know what that’s like! Having moved to Mexico three times in the past few years, I have had to pack for Mexico – and its diverse landscapes – more than once. From white sand beaches and breezy mountains to charming pueblos and bustling cities, there is a lot to consider when putting together your packing list for Mexico.

As a digital nomad in Mexico, I try to take with me as little as I can so that I can travel and move about rather freely. But when you’re packing for a Mexico vacation, there are some things you just want to have to make your time that more enjoyable and stress-free as possible!

So whether you’re planning a Mexican beach vacation on Mexico’s coasts or a trip to the country’s Magic Towns and cultural sites, feel free to use this Mexico packing list and download my free printable packing guide to help you pack your luggage so you don’t leave anything essential behind!

Here is the ultimate packing list for Mexico!

The Ultimate Mexico Packing List

Packing for Mexico’s Climates

Mexico has two main seasons – wet and dry – and multiple climates with both tropical and temperate zones. As such, you can find virtually all types of weather here; from rainfall in the highlands to snow atop the high-altitude mountain and volcano peaks.

But seeing as most tourists traveling to Mexico visit the beaches and coastlines, including the Pacific coastline in the west and both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in the east, you will mostly be packing for a beach vacation. Luckily, most of the popular beach towns and coastal destinations, like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, or the Riviera Maya, stay a pleasant 70-80°F year-round (24-28 °C).

That said, the best time to visit Mexico will be sometime between November and May, or during the dry season.

Sure, you could also visit Mexico during the summer between June-October (for example, to experience whale season), but you should keep in mind that these are the wettest and hottest months to travel to Mexico. Flooding from heavy rainfall and hurricanes are also a possibility – on either side of Mexico – although they tend to be strong on the east coast.

Clothes to Pack

Below is my recommendation for what to wear in Mexico for beach vacations or mountain/city trips lasting 1-2+ weeks.

Adjust what clothing goes into your bag depending on how much time you will be in Mexico and also in which region you’ll be spending most of your time in (check below for more packing tips for each of the most visited Mexican states).

Packing Guide for Mexico’s Coasts:

  • 5x undies
  • 2x bras (1x comfy, 1x sports)
  • 2x pairs of socks
  • 2-3x bathing suits
  • 1x flowy pants or capris
  • 1x light denim jacket
  • 2x skirts (1x long, 1x short)
  • 1x beach coverup
  • 1x light dress
  • 2x jumpsuit or rompers
  • 1x denim shorts
  • 3x neutral t-shirts
  • 1x pajamas or sleep shirt
  • 2x shoes (1x flip flops/sandals, 1x comfortable walking shoes like my Allbirds Tree Runners)
  • beach towel
  • sunglasses
  • sunhat

Optional:

Packing for Mexico’s Mountains or Cities/Pueblos

  • 5x undies
  • 2x bras
  • 3-5x pairs of socks
  • 2x jeans
  • 1x leggings
  • 2x linen long-sleeves
  • 1x jacket
  • 2x jumpsuits
  • 1x shorts
  • 3x short-sleeves
  • 1x pajamas
  • 1x hat
  • 2x shoes (1x sandals, 1x sneakers, or hiking shoes/boots)
  • 2x sweaters
  • 1x rain jacket

Optional:

  • 1x shawl or scarf
  • extra layers

Adjust what clothing goes into your bag depending on how much time you will be in Mexico and also in which region you’ll be spending most of your time in (check below for more packing tips for each of the most visited Mexican states).

couple overlooking Calakmul mayan ruins in Campeche, Mexico

Toiletries to Pack

Instead of buying and packing travel-size toiletries that contribute to plastic pollution, I suggest packing your lotions/creams into reusable bottles at home and then packing those (if needed).

Most of the time, you don’t actually need to take items like your shampoo or body wash with you because most hotels or Airbnbs, or your all-inclusive resort, will offer complimentary ones.

Here is what I suggest to keep your toiletry packing list simple and minimalist.

Mexico Packing List for Toiletries:

Optional:

  • menstrual cup
  • nail clippers & tweezers
  • eye drops
  • floss
  • vitamins
  • makeup
  • hairdryer
  • medication

Also, remember that toiletries can always be replaced once you arrive at your destination. Mexico sells mostly all the same brands that you can find in the US, so don’t worry about it if you forget something!

Gear to Pack

I know not everyone’s gear list will be as complete as my digital nomad packing list, but depending on what the nature of your Mexico vacation is, you should consider bringing the following:

Optional:

  • headphones
  • drone (I use the Mavic Mini 2)
  • laptop (I use the Macbook Pro M1)
  • extra SD storage cards
  • chargers + portable USB powerbank

Note: Mexico’s power outlets are the same as the ones in the United States, Central America, and China + Japan (i.e. type A, 2-pronged and type B, 3-pronged). You should only need to pack an adapter for Mexico if you are coming from Europe or elsewhere.

Essentials

Of course, don’t forget your absolute Mexico packing list essentials including obvious (yet sometimes regrettably forgettable) items like your:

  • PASSPORT
  • WALLET
  • CREDIT CARDS
  • CASH
  • EMERGENCY #’s
  • MEDICINES
  • HOTEL/AIRBNB ADDRESS

Make sure to always carry the essentials with you, including your expensive gear, in your carry-on luggage rather than in your checked bag. If ever your suitcase gets lost, delayed, or stolen, at least you will have your essentials with you. Clothes can be easily replaced, passports and IDs – not so much!

Last but not least, don’t overpack for your trip because you will no doubt want to buy souvenirs and clothing while in Mexico to take back home with you. So make sure you have enough room for those items you’ll inevitably purchase abroad.

P.S. If you’re struggling to fit your entire packing list inside your luggage, remember that you’ll end up actually wearing and using half of what you think you will during your vacation. What I like to do is lay out all my stuff on the bed so I can get a visual overview, and then I try to half it!

What to Know & Pack for Mexico By State/Region

couple in front of Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico

Mexico’s Riviera Maya (Quintana Roo)

The Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo, with its stunning white-sand beaches and coastal towns perched on the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most visited places in Mexico, receiving over 8+ million tourists in 2019 (right behind Mexico City with 11.3 million).

While most people go to the beach destinations in Q.ROO, there’s more to the state than meets your eye. You have…

Your packing list won’t vary that much from place to place, but if you are coming in the winter months, I would advise you to bring extra layers because it can get fresh in the mornings and evenings. Also, if you are planning to explore Mayan ruins in the forest/jungle, you really don’t want to forget your biodegradable mosquito balm!

RELATED: What to Wear in Tulum: The Perfect Packing List

Yucatan

The state of Yucatan has a totally different vibe than Quintana Roo, even if its climate doesn’t differ that much. Also, instead of being on the Caribbean side of the Peninsula, you’ll be on the Gulf of Mexico.

In the summer months, you can swim responsibly with whale sharks off the island of Isla Holbox, and in the dry months, you can enjoy the colonial cities of Merida and Valladolid without it being too hot.

Unless you’re on an island or go to a beach destination, I would recommend that you pack more “city-style” clothing and more comfortable shoes than flip flops.

Campeche

Campeche is the third state that makes up the Yucatan Peninsula (along with Yucatan and Quintana Roo). What you will find in this state is mostly small towns and lots and lots of jungle!

In fact, one of my favorite Mayan ruins sites can be found in this state. It is called the lost city of Calakmul and to get there you need to drive 1-hr into the jungle of Campeche. You can see monkeys, toucans, and if you’re lucky – maybe even a jaguar!

Most people drive through Campeche on a Yucatan Peninsula road trip in order to complete the loop. It’s an extremely fun and adventurous trip to do if you have 2-3 weeks in Mexico to spare!

Riviera Nayarit (Nayarit)

On the Pacific coast in western Mexico, you will find the stunning 200-mile pristine coastline home to the Riviera Nayarit. The Riviera is named after the Nayarit state itself with the idea to promote the dozens of small towns, Magic Towns, and fishing villages spotted along the mostly-virgin coastline.

We lived in this state of Mexico for 2 years and loved every minute of it! You have hot and humid weather in the summer, but pleasant temps virtually every month which makes packing for trips to Nayarit fairly easy.

You’ll be in your bathing suit most of the time to surf or play in the waves, but don’t forget to pack a few flowy dresses for salsa dancing and going for margaritas at boho-chic bars and restaurants in popular towns like Sayulita or down-to-earth San Pancho.

RELATED: 13 Cutest Beach Towns & Destinations in Nayarit, Mexico

Jalisco

Jalisco – a state famous for its mariachis and tequila, is an awesome place to visit in Mexico.

This state offers you a dive into the cultural staples of the state in its capital of Guadalajara or a sultry beach vacation on the coast in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, if you visit the Riviera Nayarit, you will fly into the PV International Airport and then cross into the state of Nayarit by car.

The climate in Jalisco is similar to Nayarit, so you can’t go wrong by packing mostly summer clothes in your suitcase or backpack.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca is the cultural mecca of Mexico that also offers regal natural landscapes like the Hierve el Agua and diverse and colorful indigenous communities. Along with Veracruz and Chiapas, it is one of the most biodiverse states in Mexico.

That said, when planning a trip to the state of Oaxaca, make sure to pack a bit of everything. Pack beach towels and biodegradable sunscreen for the beaches of Puerto Escondido, and hiking pants and shoes for exploring the state’s many lagoons, rivers, and mountains found in its national parks!

Mexico

If you’re planning on visiting the state of Mexico, make sure to pack extra layers so that you can take on/off layers as the temperature fluctuates in the day or depending on where you travel in-state.

There are both warm and humid parts of Mexico state as well as cold and dry. I once made the mistake of flying through Mexico City’s Airport, thinking it would be relatively warm, only to find myself in bone-chilling temperatures with frost on the ground.

Chiapas

Chiapas is where we now live and it’s one of the most naturally-rich states in Mexico. It has roaring cascades, deep jungle, lovely scented pine forests, and incredible indigenous highland towns of Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula.

If you are traveling through Chiapas, it’s likely you’ll stop by the mountain Magic Town of San Cristobal de Las Casas (our current home). Here, the temperature is fairly cold in winter and you definitely need to bundle up with a sweater, jacket, and maybe even a scarf at night.

The summers in Chiapas are pleasant, but rarely ever hot. You would still need a light jacket or some pants for mornings/evenings or on days when the sun’s not out. Packing layers and dressing as such is best so you can remove them on/off as needed throughout the day.

For other places in Mexico: You can hardly go wrong with your Mexico packing list if you pack in layers. Bring your clothing basics and then see what you can mix and match! Don’t pack a heavy jacket or sweater as you likely won’t need it (unless you’re coming here specifically to go to high-altitudes for trekking or something).

Final Packing Tips for Mexico

  • When in doubt, leave it out! (Meaning, don’t pack anything you’re not 100% sure you’ll need or use).
  • Pack in layers – if you need extra clothes while here (for example if you extend your trip), you can always buy them at your destination.
  • Use the Mexican laundromats instead of overpacking! You can send off your dirty clothes to the laundry every 1-2 weeks and get them back to you all clean and neatly folded for a fairly cheap price.
  • Get insured! I use SafetyWing insurance and only pay $40/4 weeks to cover my travel and medical expenses in Mexico. No long contracts. All the reassurance. Covers trip mishaps (i.e. delayed flights or lost luggage) as well as travel accidents and collision insurance for rental cars.

I hope this ultimate packing list for Mexico helps plan your adventures here in this most magical country. If you have ANY questions about packing or traveling in Mexico, feel free to reach out!

Want more Mexico travel inspiration? Check out my ultimate Mexico guide here for more itineraries!

Pin this Ultimate Mexico Packing Guide for later!

Sharing is caring!

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I’m Bri! I’ve been slow traveling around the world in search of new adventures since 2013. I have lived in 8 countries on 4 continents including Nepal, Mexico, Colombia, and parts of Europe! I created this blog to inspire others to live a life of adventure, seek out meaningful experiences, and to travel slowly and mindfully. Join me on this journey and let’s tick off our bucket lists! Read my story here.

booking.com promotional banner