Pro Tips: Packing for Your Cancun Tour

Cancun backpack essentials

Planning and packing for your Cancun vacation is one thing, do you know how to “mini pack” for your day trips in Cancun? Many Cancun tours are full day affairs and you need to be prepared but not TOO prepared, overpacking is a big no no and will just give you back pain! So, what are the essentials for your Cancun excursion day pack? Here are our pro tips!

Packing for a day at Chichen Itza

The Day Trip Bag

Choose a LIGHT backpack-style bag or something with long handles and most definitely a zipper. The zipper is vital as you may be leaving your bag in an overhead compartment or under the seats of the bus and you’ll want to ensure your belongings don’t go rolling around. The zipper is also useful for general security and of course it will keep out most rain and sand. Water-resistant fabrics are a total bonus. The backpack style or long-handled shoulder bags are best in order to leave your hands free to take photos or balance while walking on tricky trails. One bag should be plenty for two people, too full and you’ll regret having to carry it around!

phone case underwater

Electronics and High Value Items

For the most part….leave them locked in the hotel safe! You’ll want your camera, phone and charger and that is all! Flashy jewelry can be a danger on extreme adventures and your laptop is totally unnecessary. Bring a small amount of extra cash (don’t forget to tip your guides!), one credit card and one piece of ID or a photocopy. If you are using a GoPro type camera in the water, get a floaty accessory, you won’t believe how many cameras are now home to coral and algae! Tag your items with your name and email address and bring waterproof casings when possible (there are oodles of plastic casings available and even if you are not planning on swimming, it’s a good idea to keep out dust or rain!)

Toiletries and self-care items

Packing light is the name of the game but you will need a few basic items to keep you going through the day. A small bag with alcohol hand gel or baby wipes for little clean ups, eye drops or contact lens solution if you wear them, a couple Pepto, bandaids and aspirin just in case plus any medications you require, your deodorant for a midday refresh and a hair brush. Ladies, leave the makeup at home or just bring the very basics, the heat of the sun can melt your expensive lipsticks and really, who needs eye shadow for a Cancun sailing tour or to explore Chichen Itza?

Cancun tours biodegradable sunblock

Biodegradable sunblock and mosquito repellent

Cancun is a natural wonderland and we need to do all we can to protect the environment for future visitors. The best sunblock is no sunblock, use long sleeve rash guards, hats, sunglasses and lycra pants to cover as much as possible. If you are enjoying a Cancun cenote tour, USE NOTHING AT ALL PLEASE and shower to rinse off any chemicals before entering the water. If you MUST use sunblock or mosquito repellent, we urge you to ensure that it is a biodegradable and earth-friendly brand. Many theme parks in the Riviera Maya will confiscate your sunblock if it does not comply with ecological standards, always best to start out on the right foot and buy eco-friendly from the get go.

Ek Balam Acropolis view

What to wear on a Cancun excursion

Comfort is KEY, particularly on a long journey on a hot day. A Cancun tour is NOT the time to try out your pretty new strappy high heeled sandals! Closed-toe shoes are your friend, flip flops are a big no no, particularly on a Cancun zipline tour! Sandals made for adventure with thick rubber soles and closed toes are best, they have great grip and are made to dry quickly while letting your tootsies breathe. Tennis shoes are a good choice as long as you know they may get wet! New shoes are not recommended, blisters are a buzz kill, wear the ones you’ve broken in well and make your feet happy.

Wear your bathing suit under light, comfy clothes, preferably long sleeve cotton t-shirts or rash guards and board shorts. Hat and sunglasses are a no brainer. Ziplines require a harness that will wrap around your upper thighs and waist, short shorts are going to make this uncomfortable, a long pair of shorts or lycra pants will save you from the chafing (trust me!). Bring a change of clothes for the end of day and a plastic bag for wet or dirty clothes. A sweater or sweatshirt is recommended as sometimes the air conditioning on the bus can be a bit too much. A pareo is a great alternative to a towel, lightweight, folds up tiny, and dries much faster than a typical towel. A pareo also makes a great tent, hat, bandana, scarf, blanket, beach mat, sweat wiper and so much more (sheesh, I need to write a post on the magic of the pareo!)

And there you have it, the basics of packing a bag for any Cancun tour, whether you are climbing the pyramid at Coba or enjoying a Cancun jungle tour, you’ll be prepared but not burdened! Is there anything you would add to the list?



Kelly McLaughlin
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