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This is the ultimate packing list for vacation in one of the my favorite travel hot spots in Mexico–the Riviera Maya coastline.
While the Thailand Islands are a massive holiday destination for Europeans, the Riviera Maya is a travel must for North Americans. Thousands of vacationers travel to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula each year in search of sun, fun, and relaxation. The exquisite turquoise waters and shimmering white sand do not disappoint those seeking picture perfect beaches.
1-Week Packing List for Mexico: Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya – Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum – boasts idyllic beaches for travelers hoping to find a tropical escape in the winter (and any time of the year). The weather is perfect in December: warm and dry. It’s even cool in the evenings. With a temperate climate, you can fit your belongings quite easily in a carry-on suitcase or travel bag.
While most of your clothing will be cool summer clothes, you also want to take a light cover up for the evenings as the temperature can drop, especially by the beach.
If you’re heading south to Mexico, Travel Fashion Girl gives you a 1-Week Packing List for vacation with just 10 pieces of clothing!
For your Mexico vacation packing list, pack three comfortable yet chic tops you can dress up with jeans or a skirt. Play with your travel outfits to make sure your tops are interchangeable with the rest of your travel wardrobe. Choose bright colors for tops and neutrals for the bottoms for an easy way to mix and match your travel outfits.
Jeans: Surprised? A pair of jeans is the perfect addition to your Mexico packing list. You can wear them on the plane, on cooler days, to explore, and dress them up at night. If you want something more rugged, go with cargo pants.
Skirt: Dressed up or down, a skirt allows you to create multiple outfits just by changing your top. Choose a versatile skirt that you can wear in town, for dinner, or at the beach.
Check out these maxi skirt travel outfit ideas!
Shorts: Whether denim shorts or something more dressy, a pair of shorts is a must for a beach holiday. They’re easy to wear and can usually be worn several days without a wash. Choose a length that’s most comfortable for your style.
Sun Dress: Nothing’s better than slipping into an easy, lightweight sun dress for a day out. Add a scarf for extra coverage and style if you leave the beach area. Respecting the local culture should always be a priority when traveling.
Maxi Dress: A maxi dress in a light fabric keeps you cool and can be worn in different settings, like if you choose to venture further inland in the Yucatan.
Check out these maxi dresses that are great for travel!
Cocktail Dress: The dress you choose for your Mexico packing list can be a basic cotton LBD that can be dressed up or down, or a sexy number you picked out especially for your vacation. You want something you feel comfortable wearing out to dinner and on the dance floor.
If you’re going during New Year’s, check out my post on How to Pack for New Years Abroad which gives you fun dress, accessories, and beauty options.
While the Riviera Maya coast doesn’t get extremely cold, I did experience many chilly evenings while living abroad in Playa del Carmen last year. I’d definitely suggest a light sweater, cardigan, or even blazer for the nights.
Choose a neutral color that goes with everything!
Heels and/or Dressy Sandals: Nightlife in the Yucatan–in particular Cancun and Playa del Carmen–requires a dressier look, including nice shoes; the relaxed Southeast Asia look isn’t gonna fly. Many backpackers I met during my stay bought nicer clothing while they were here.
If you’re on vacation, add a sexy pair of heels to your packing list for Mexico. However, if you’re on an extended trip, nice flat sandals work, too. A pair of dressier sandals is a must, especially by the beach where heels aren’t convenient at some bars and restaurants.
Flip Flops: A must in every travel bag, these are essential if you’re hitting the beach. I like these cute iPANEMA hybrid styles that don’t look like the same old flip flops. You can find iPANEMA in several shoe stores on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen–that’s where I first spotted them! Depending on the style and material, if you’re a Minimalista and you only choose one pair of shoes on a quick trip to the Yucatan, these are a good choice.
When planning your final packing list for vacation, remember to cater your packing choices to fit your needs. If you plan on exploring several ruins and being active while you’re there, add a pair of trainers and skip the heels. If you don’t plan to leave the beach, add a bathing suit and a kaftan in place of a dress.
What are your must-have pieces in your packing list for Mexico’s Caribbean coastline?
For more packing lists for vacation, please read:
- Best Weekender Bags for Travel
- What to Pack for Hawaii: Packing List
- What to Wear in San Miguel De Allende
- What to Pack for Mexico
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