Tulum Mexico: A Packing & Style Guide

Hi Friends! If you’ve read my Tulum Travel Guide blog post then you already know that Tulum is a laid back beach destination filled with beach bars, eco-resorts, and lots of outdoor activities.

Today I’m breaking down what I packed for this trip, so you can have a heads-up on what to bring and what not to bring when heading to this tropical paradise. Below I’ll cover each topic and give a brief description of everything you need to pack for a stylish and unforgettable vacation.

Travel Essentials

For starters, because I’m Nifty by Nature, at this point I feel like I’m a pretty good traveler and can pack “light” for any occasion. For this trip, I managed to fit four pairs of shoes and all of my outfits into a medium carry-on duffle bag. 

How did I perform this miracle you ask? Well, I really had to plan out what I was going to wear each day and made a list of the top things I needed to bring/ couldn’t live without. Below is a list of my top 5 items (top 5… top 5… top 5) that are a must when packing for Tulum.

Top 5 Must-Haves:

Below are my top 5 essential items when packing for Mexico-

1) Packing Cubes

I never knew how much packing cubes could change my life… Even though I didn’t necessarily use packing cubes for this trip (I did try but I ran out of room) let me just tell you that they really are life-changing. Packing Cubes are small bags designed to organize and compartmentalize clothes inside luggage, as well as compressing clothing to ensure optimum use of space. If you plan on taking a carry-on then these should be at the top of your list of things to buy on Amazon

2) Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential for staying protected in the sun, and should be used on a daily basis. LET ME REPEAT, we must use sunscreen daily, especially on your face. To all my African American ladies and people of color, sometimes we think that Black doesn’t crack, but honey it can and it will. African Americans have melanin (a natural skin protectant) that blocks UV light up to SPF 13, but even though we don’t burn as easily, it’s the damage you can’t see right away that will catch up in the long run. In Tulum, it seems like the sun is beaming on your skin 24/7 so you definitely need to keep your skin protected. I packed my favorite sunscreen and had a vacation glow the whole trip.

3) Travel Sized Containers 

Don’t you hate when you pack your favorite beauty item in your make up bag and when you get to your final destination you find out that it spilled out a little bit? This has happened way too many times, so I’ve decided to try the popular set of silicone travel bottles, from Amazon. These travel bottles are 3 oz. TSA approved for safety so won’t get your stopped by security, allowing you to bring your favorite products with you, making it simpler to pack. They’re silicone and come with leak-proof flip caps, and have large openings that are easy to pour liquids into.

4) Water Shoes

If you’re like me and hate having your bare feet on the floor or hate the feel of stepping on an unknown object on the floor, then you’ll want to buy these water shoes before heading to Tulum. The last time I bought water shoes was for Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, and they were bulky water boots and not stylish whatsoever. The Viffuur Water Sports Shoes are made out of a breathable fabric that provides a comfortable yet secure fit just like a sock. The best part of these water shoes is that they are super flat, and will fit great in your luggage since they are pretty much weightless. They are available in more than 40 colors and patterns and come in adult and child sizes

5) Lip Balm 

Just like SPF for you like skin, SPF is important on your lips as well. Your lips have thin skin with very little melanin, making them a target for damaging UV rays. Everyone wants something that provides two-in-one. It needs to provide a hydrating benefit of a quality lip balm, and have the UV protection of a good sunscreen. I personally love the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen which comes in a variety of sheer shades.

Day Time Looks

Open weave knits, silk skirts, and linens are all in style right now for a cool summer vacation look. During the day in Tulum, you’re either lounging by the beach or out and about exploring the city.

What you’re going to wear varies based on the type of activities you have lined up, but to play things on the safe side below are some fashionable options of what you can wear for a beach-to-bar look while in Tulum.

Night Time Looks

Tulum comes alive at night and turns into a crazy, sexy, cool tropical beach party. When I say crazy I don’t mean crazy like Playa del Carmen or Cancun, but more of an upscale adults-only scene.

When packing your club/ bar outfits, think flowy or tight and if you dare cropped (it’s a hot girl summer ok…) Don’t worry about packing those heels. I did pack a pair of heels but I didn’t even use them because this town is not set up for wearing heels or even wedges because there’s not a lot of smooth walkways and a lot of walkways include sandy entrances so those two combined aren’t a match.

When we went the weather at night was perfect with a light breeze so make sure you dress comfortably but cute when heading to one of the hot spots like Papaya Playa Project.


For starters, I ordered a ton of swimsuits from Icon Swim, so I would be well prepared to take advantage of all of the “instagrammable” spots in Tulum, but they didn’t arrive on time. 😭 

After doing a little last-minute shopping  I was able to find some amazing swimsuits and accessories at H&M as a backup (Thank the Lord).  Tulum’s heat is no joke, so a lot of people wear swimsuits with stylish cover-ups during the day time. Add a little beach bag and you’re ready for the day!

If you plan on visiting one of the famous Yucatan Cenotes then I’d recommend wearing a swimsuit that is comfortable for you so that you can fully enjoy each of the cenotes and its activities without having to worry about anything else since they are made out of limestone. Remember that you must use biodegradable sunscreen or go without when visiting a cenote, so think sporty chic and save the ruffles for the beach clubs and resorts.

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