If you’re wondering what to pack for Tulum, look no further.
I have visited Tulum several times while I was living in Mexico City and I have lots of tips about the best things to do in Tulum and be sure to check out the best beach clubs in Tulum, too. I have taken a million photos of the beauty of Tulum. I have done day trips to explore more of the things to do in the Riviera Maya.
And most importantly of all, I have finally figured out the right things to pack for Tulum regardless of the time of year.
If you are planning a trip to Cancun, don’t miss out on my tips for the best things to do in Cancun.
What is the Weather Like in Tulum?
Tulum is located along Mexico’s Caribbean coastline. You can expect turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and oppressive humidity most months of the year.
If you are looking for nice warm weather, as little rain as possible, and lower levels of humidity, the best time of year to visit Tulum is between November and March.
November begins the dry season in this region of Mexico. Temperatures tend to hover in the low-mid 80’s Fahrenheit (mid-high 20’s Celsius).
In December and January, it’s slightly cooler. It is especially cooler in the evenings, so you’ll want to pack light linen pants and a thin sweater. It mostly feels so much cooler in the evenings because the sun is still so hot during the day, so it’s a dramatic shift once it goes down.
March and April are popular times to visit Tulum because it’s Spring Break in many places around the US. This means that it will be more expensive and beware that it will also be much hotter and more humid.
You can expect temperatures to rise from late March when it will creep up in the high 80’s (low 30’s Celsius) and the humidity levels will increase. By June it will regularly be in the 90’s (low-mid 30’s Celsius) with about 90% humidity.
From July, this region of Mexico experiences quite a lot of tropical rain, sometimes tropical storms, and more regularly in recent years, hurricanes.
Always be sure to check the weather a week or so before your trip so you know exactly what to expect and what to pack for Tulum.
What to Pack for Tulum
1. Kindle or E-Reader
No beach vacation is complete without a pile of books to read. I think I went through three books in the week we were away. It was utter bliss. A Kindle is genuinely the best purchase I’ve made for my travels. I used to lug entire libraries around for months on end and if I couldn’t find somewhere to swap one of them, I would have to wait until we got somewhere I could buy another book. With my Kindle, I load it up with tons of books before we travel anywhere and I never have to worry about going with something to read.
I’m not entirely brand loyal, but I have found that you can easily purchase books wherever you are in the world on Amazon, which I know isn’t the case for all brands of e-readers. There are also TONS of free books available and offers every month where you can pick up new or best-selling books for less than $2.00.
2. Bathing Suit
I kind of wished I had packed a one-piece. We went snorkeling and I was wearing a bikini and I knew about it for almost a week afterward. The sunburn was unbearable. If you’re thinking about doing a lot of swimming in the cenotes or snorkeling in the ocean, definitely pack a one-piece bathing suit or a swimming shirt.
My favorite one-piece bathing suits are this line from Amazon. They come in tons of colors and patterns, are incredibly affordable, and surprisingly last a very long time. They’re also very comfortable and very cute. They have a really hide side and back so it feels sexy and stylish without much effort at all.
3. Lots and Lots of Sunscreen
Speaking of sunburn, you do not want to run out of sunscreen.
Even if you think you tan, “oh I never burn”. Don’t do it. The sun is insanely strong and there is little shade at the beaches. Please consider buying chemical-free sunscreen, especially if you’re going to swim with the turtles in Akumal. It’s better for your skin and for the little critters in the sea.
My favorite brand of eco-friendly sunscreen is a brand I found here in Mexico called Maya Solar.
It’s not too heavy on the skin and it’s safe to use in the ocean. Badger is also a good one that is reasonably priced. If I can’t find either of those at the local shop, I buy baby sunscreen. Baby sunscreen is made with natural minerals and will be safe to use on your skin and in the environment (why do we switch to chemicals for adults??).
See Also: Eco-Friendly Travel Products I Love
4. Lightweight shorts
I love loose-fitting denim shorts when I’m packing for Tulum. If you get jean shorts or any thicker fabric that is tight on the skin, you’ll likely regret it or simply not wear them.
The humidity is like Florida in July, except it’s like that most months of the year. It’s a tropical paradise, so pack for Tulum like a beach goddess. Linen, light fabrics, light colors.
Instead of denim, pack lightweight shorts made of a more breathable fabric. I highly recommend something that isn’t close fitting because in the heat of Tulum, it will become even closer.
5. Tanktops and Lightweight T-shirts
Tank tops, sleeveless dresses, really anything with less fabric.
6. Flowy Dresses
Flowy dresses are the best thing that you can pack for Tulum.
They are cute and stylish. They will keep you cool. They can double as beach cover-ups.
Dresses will keep you way cooler than shorts and t-shirts and are easy to throw on over bathing suits, too.
Tulum is the vacation spot of the stylish and fashionable. People like to dress up to go to dinner. People like to wear their best out shopping in town. While it is still casual and most people are donning their dresses with flip flops, there is still an air of sophistication and style about in Tulum.
7. Flip Flops / Sandals
Just before I moved to Mexico I bought myself a fresh new pair of Rainbow flip flops.
Rainbows are the best traveling flip flop I have ever had. I wore out a pair traveling through Asia. I lived in them in Australia and New Zealand. I even hiked in them. They are seriously amazing. I tried to find something similar here, but nothing is the same as a nice, comfortable pair of leather flip flops.
So when I packed for Tulum, I only had a cheap pair of rubber flip flops and a pair of sneakers. I wore the sneakers most days and my feet were so unhappy and hot. Don’t forget to pack your flip flops and make sure they’re comfortable enough to walk in. You’ll want something you can go from beach to ruins to restaurants with.
8. A Hat
I wish I had brought a hat. I was really surprised that there weren’t many shops selling hats actually. After working our way down from Playa del Carmen, where you can buy absolutely anything at a hyper-inflated price, I was bummed that there weren’t many cute sunhats on offer.
Bring your own. You’ll save yourself the hassle and the cash and the sunstroke. As a brunette I find that my head gets hot really quickly. If I’m out in the direct sun for more than a few minutes My hair heats up, my scalp heats up, and suddenly I’m a bit lightheaded. Hats are my sunshine savior.
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Monday 23rd of May 2022
I’m going for a wedding in January are suits or tuxes appropriate?
Tuesday 24th of May 2022
I would say that's a pretty wedding-specific question. I would ask the bride or groom about that one! It won't be too hot at that time of year, but it may be more casual if it's going to be on the beach!
Tuesday 6th of December 2016
I also recommend lots of mosquito repellent! They were ruthless with me when I was in Tulum!
Friday 2nd of December 2016
Hey ! Thanks for this article :) Were you working in Tulum? I'm curious about the internet quality there because I'd love to go.
Sunday 4th of December 2016
I did work in Tulum - I was staying in an AirBnB place with terrible wifi, but all the cafes and restaurants (and bars!) have really great, speedy internet in Tulum town. I'm not entirely sure about the places by the beach, but I'm sure the higher-end hotels and restaurants will have great wifi too!