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Packing List For Your Vacation to Playa Del Carmen

Packing list Playa Del Carmen You get to stop here at this beach in Isla Mujeres.

What to bring to Playa Del Carmen for vacation guide

Are you coming on vacation and wondering what to pack for Playa Del Carmen? Here are some helpful tips on what to pack and a packing list.

Packing list for one week in Playa Del Carmen

Since most people come for one week, here are the things we recommend.

  1. Light clothes that are cool, light and comfortable. Going out at night will require nicer clothes if eating on 5th Avenue, it’s not Gucci but there are a lot of nice restaurants. Men don’t wear ties, just a nice button down shirt, loose pants and nice sandals. Women wear light dresses, low heals and minimal jewelry. In December and January it might be cool in the evenings. We are talking 67 degrees, so a light cover-up possibly.Playa Del Carmen packing list
  2. A bathing suit or two or three, you must get in the beautiful ocean or a cenote. Due to the more humid climate, things do not dry as fast and you will also most likely spend several days at the beach, so bring several swimsuits. Cover-ups are easily bought on 5th Avenue and make for a nice souvenir.
  3. Two pairs of good sunglasses. It is almost always sunny and the sun is strong. Protect your eyes with good glasses. We suggest two pairs, one more casual and one more dressy for walking on 5th Avenue or going out to eat during the day. Having a hard case for them as well is helpful.
  4. Biodegradable sunscreen and bug spray. We suggest to bring this because you don’t want to spend your vacation shopping for things and it can be expensive here. You can buy  travel sizes or a big bottle and divide it into travel sizes. Biodegradable sunscreen is required for the eco parks and cenotes. The regular creams contain chemicals that harm the eco system. If you are going to an archeological site, then the bug spray might come in handy, depending on the time of year. In Playa there is not  a big need for spray.
  5. Beach bag. Maybe one of travel bags can double as something to take to the beach. This helps carry your music, e-reader, sunscreen, towel and other supplies for your days at the beach.
  6. Hats. Did we mention it is sunny a lot here? Hats can shade your face and pain of getting a little too much sun. Visors are great because they allow air to your head but shade your face. Men in the Yucatan traditionally wear woven hats, you can find these in Playa for about 120-150 pesos.
  7. Sandals. You are at the beach and in a beach town. They are easy to put on and saves the amount of socks you need. Sandals with arch support is great. We recommend Reef sandals for this fact. If by chance you get some rainy weather, sandals are good because the streets can get temporarily full of water from downpours and shoes with socks will get soaked.
  8. An e-reader for those sunny days at the beach or in a hammock somewhere.
  9. A good camera and a water camera. There are so many opportunities to take underwater photos. It can be at the beach, snorkeling, visiting an eco park, or while swimming in a cenote. Don’t miss some good underwater shots. Bring the chargers as well.
  10. Misc. Locks for your suitcase, zip lock bags for storing stuff, toiletries, medications,  money belt, travel alarm, emergency rain poncho, a pen for filling out forms on the plane.
  11.  If you have good snorkel equipment already and plan on doing a good amount of it, then it would be good to bring it. You can easily buy inexpensive stuff here for a day or twos worth of snorkeling. A lot of people like to use Under Amour long sleeve shirts to swim in to block out the sun.
  12. Aqua socks or water shoes. If you are going to be on a rocky beach or snorkeling in some places, it is good to have some foot protection.
    What to pack for Playa Del Carmen

    Yal Ku Lagoon inlet is a great place to bring water shoes to.


  13. Laptop or tablet plus chargers. Many places have Wi-Fi available. Mexico uses the same plugs as the US and Canada. You could bring a surge protector if you wanted to be extra safe. We have never had any problems except things getting a little warm when charging. The power can have fluctuations here.
  14. If you are traveling with a baby then having some sort of car seat/stroller going to be helpful. Not only for your walking around and strolling on 5th Avenue but also for a double use for restaurant seating for your baby or young child.

What not to bring to Playa Del Carmen

Airline regulations are changing all the time and some airlines are just downright crazy with charges for luggage. So packing too much can cost you. Here are some things not to bring.

  • Tourist look silly in print t-shirts, especially is they have your sports teams on them.
  • Don’t bring too many guide books. You can photo copy what you need or send copies of things to your email or tablet to bring with you.
  • If it is cold at home, wear a sweatshirt or several layers with a light windbreaker. This will avoid having a heavy jacket here in Mexico and the windbreaker can double as a rain jacket if need be.
  • Don’t bring the family jewels. Most women just have light jewelry here and having bling just draws too much attention to yourself. Plus it is fun to shop for a one of a kind piece here to remind you of your vacation.
  • Long sleeve shirts, thicker cotton and things that may be tight. When you have a tropical climate like we do here, having something tight will just feel uncomfortable. The same is true of long sleeves and thick cotton.
  • Ties and jackets for men are no needed. No restaurant requires them, so you can just relax a little more.
  • Over the top explorer gear. Don’t get crazy with getting jungle safari hat and pants, it is not like you are spending months in the Amazon. You will just look silly walking around here with them. You can however borrow from the technology and wear some cool fabric shirts for the days you do go to Mayan Ruins.
  • Towels for the beach. They take up too much space and your hotel is likely to have something for you. If not, you can easily buy them at Walmart and you have a souvenir.
  • Don’t bring too much stuff. You know how many days you will be here and having a super large suit case is just going to be extra weight from when you land to when you leave the hotel and return home.
  • Jeans, this can go either way, but in general jeans are too thick and hot to wear most of the year. Cotton, loose and light pants are best.
  • A boogie board or other excessive water equipment. You can buy these in Walmart along with beach balls and sand toys for the kids. Even inexpensive snorkels can be bought in the store or even rented at many locations.

We hope this article helps you with you packing so you can have the best vacation possible.

Now that you are on your way to Playa Del Carmen, see what is our best recommended way to get from the Cancun Airport to your hotel. They offer great rates to our readers for this private transfer service.

Have you been to Playa Del Carmen before? What did you bring with you that was something you were glad your brought? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

47 Comments on Packing List For Your Vacation to Playa Del Carmen

  1. Hey, this is a good list for packing. We are coming to Playa Del Carmen this net week and we had some questions. We found your site and it answered a lot of our questions.

    Kudos, I appreciate it!

    • If youare staying at an all inclusive hotel and booking specialty restaurants,gentlemen pack a pair of long dress pants and closed toe shoes.
      these are considered 5 star and it is nice to feel comfortable. The Maitre’de may ask you to leave or change. after the sun goes down it is cool! ladies dress up!!! you are on vacation.
      and please leave the “jack shirt” at home

  2. Thanks for the packing list. Going this week. So excited

    • Thanks for your comments Tanya. We hope you have a great trip to Playa Del Carmen and you bring just the right stuff for your trip. It is a beautiful beach day today as we write this. You can see the sunrise on our Facebook page today.

  3. Great tips for packing. It helps me out. See you soon in Playa!

  4. Just wondering what the weather will be like in december. That’s when we will be going??

  5. Meri Belfont // October 30, 2016 at 7:53 AM // Reply

    We had most of these things in our suitcases ready to go to Playa Del Carmen. We just need to get biodegradable sunscreen. See you soon.

  6. I will be in town on Sunday 🙂 First I will go to that cambio you suggested, if open, then what would you recommend we do for the first day ? We might not spend more than 2-3 days in Playa so it would be nice to take in the best of sites in 8-10h, if possible. Thank you once again.

    • Playa is all about walking on 5th Avenue and seeing the shops and sights. A nice beach club with relaxing could be in order. Inti Beach is a nice one between 4th and 6th Street. Playa Del Carmen is mainly about having a base to explore the area and appreciating the modern city with comforts of many restaurants, hotels and shopping. So if you are looking for just sights in the city, well it is mainly the beach and 5th Avenue. It is good to see 5th in the day and night since it changes in energy and there are street performers at night. There are things like the 3D museum , a few art shops and specialty stores, but not sure what your interest are. If there is something you might like, see the search box and see what pops up. Also our guide to 5th will point out some stuff to you. We hope you have a great time exploring.

  7. Thank you for already making our holidays more enjoyable with all this patience and free advices ! You are helping the tourism there a lot and the tourists too. Much appreciated.

    • Thank you for your comments Robert. We have some big ideas and way to help tourist and good businesses here for this year as well. It will be exciting to see how it goes. We hope you have a good trip.

  8. Hello there!
    could you please recommend good massage place or therapist(deep tissue,swedish massage) in Playa.
    Thank u.Cheers!

    • Sorry Mike. We don’t know enough of the massage people to recommend a good one. There are lots of people that do massage but often just on the cheap. We have never been to BRIC Spa on 5th near 10th Street. They might be a good place to check out.

  9. Hello Mr Yucatan, we are in Mexico, for a few days already, just wanted to say that we loved Playa, we are even giving it extra days, as it has soul, personality and a special feeling. In the same time, I’m dissapointed with Cancun, I was expecting it to be like Honolulu (Waikiki) but although the beach is wonderful, the hotel area side of the city seems just a wall of concrete enormous hotels separating the sea from the city, the distances are very big and there’s hardly any pedestrian friendly area except the malls (impressive ones). I couldn’t find there more than a few hours to spend, maybe we missed the important touristic point, if any other, please let me know. The downtown was ok, tried some food in Parque Las Palapas. And took a taxi from Kukulcan Plaza to Mayakoba, 750 pesos.

    • No, that is pretty much Cancun. That is why it is for package tourism and Playa is so different. You did. It miss really of the hidden”gems” of Cancun. You saw it!

  10. Also, could you please recommend a tequila ? Just bought Jose Cuervo, the reviews are not great, but I’m not a specialist 🙂
    As for food, I tried the Aguachiles restaurant in Playa, very good !

    • Jose Cuervo is for tourist. They have made a name but only deliver a very average product. For value you might consider Centenario brand. They have blanco and reposado. It just depends on your taste. I like white or blanco as it is called. A bottle is arounf 200-300 pesos and will get the job done. I swear it has more alcohol than Jose Cuervo but no according to the labeling.

  11. Thank you ! Today I used some of your photo location tips and especially took advantage of that gorgeous cenote / beach you mentioned, amazing ! Also went to Ah Cacao, as
    per your site, great choice ! And dinned at Loncheria Dona Mary, I don’t know if it’s on your list but maybe you should check it out, wonderful food!

  12. Any idea where i could get an iPad screen replaced in Playa and how much would it cost ? Thank you !

    • Hello Robert
      There are several small cell phone stores on 30th Avenue in front of Mega that do screen repairs. There is also a little more professional repair store on 20th street and the corner of 25th Avenue. We don’t have a price but it is reasonable to do.

      • Gracias ! It looks brand new now, I used the location you gave me, on Calle 20/25, 1200 pesos to get it done, for an older model. I dont know if its cheap or expensive, but its way less than what they charge in Canada.

  13. Thank you very much ! It’s a silly question but in Canada it’s pretty expensive. I did Sian Kaan today, speechless !

    • That is great you got to Sian Kaan. Glad you were speachless. I hope e if you get your scre n replaced itnis a better deal. At least with the exchange rate it should be better now.

  14. Hi..I will be coming first week of march and staying at royal hideway. Two questions, is it humid that time of year? Like sticky hot humid and do like this hotel? It was between this and royal play del Carmen. And my neighbor loved the hideaway so I booked that but my travel agent said royal playa del Carmen…I wanted quiet and chill hideawaynseemed better. But now I’m worrried I didn’t make the right choice…any comments on the food at hideaway..thanks!

  15. you asked what not to bring if you have been there before ? first time i brought my husband… twelve years and one divorce later, I am going with my boyfriend ~ will let you know how it goes!~

    • HAHAHA Nice one. We hope your trip goes well this time and you put your boyfriend on the packing list next time.

  16. Hi Mr Y,
    If we were to bring treats from the USA for the staff at the resort where we are staying in May, what would be appreciated the most? We are also visiting a Mayan village on our trip and would like to bring treats… any suggestions? >

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 2, 2017 at 5:34 PM // Reply

      That is so nice of you to think of others. Home made cookies are always nice but not necessarily the easiest to carry. Most Mexican bakeries are full of traditional bakes good but not really sweeter cookies or brownies. If you come from an area with fudge or taffy, those would be rare items here. Another idea for Mayan community is pencils, art supplies or other things that kids can use to be creative. Sweets are always nice but things that encourage creativity and fun are good as well.

  17. Hello, we are going 16 april to playa del carmen. Is it hot this time a year?

  18. Really helpful site, coming to Playa del Carmen in May for our honeymoon. Couldn’t be more excited. I always pack far too much , but this time I am going to try really hard and pack smart! See you all soon💕

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 17, 2017 at 7:42 AM // Reply

      Congratulations Linda! We hope you have a great time here and bring just what you need. Maybe you will have a little space in your suitcase for a souvenir to mark the occasion.

  19. What kind of activities do you recommened for a big family? We are staying at Grand Mayan, going in June.

  20. Good tips! Coming in two weeks to Playa! Looking forward to it. We have been using your website for our planning.

  21. Hi! We are travelling to Riviera Maya from 17th June to 30th June. We are a couple with three children aged 5, 10 and 12. We thought of spending 4 days in Playa, 4 in Tulum, 2 in Cozumel and 2 in Cancun, where we will be taking our flifht home. We only have the plane tickets, so we’ll appreciate suggestions for accomodation and places to visit. We like peaceful places and the beach, that’s why we want to stay in a hotel, condo, flat, etc (any is ok for us) but we do want it ON the beach. We hope you can help us organize our trip. Thanks a lot!!!!

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 27, 2017 at 12:34 PM // Reply

      Hello Lorena
      One of the first things we have to offer is the traveling with kids guide in the Riviera Maya. It is more of an overview because there is so much here.
      Playa is fun because you can walk everywhere and there are activities for kids. Tulum along the beach is more boutique hotels and not exactly kid friendly so you might have to search a little for something you like. Having a car in Tulum is good because the Hotel Zone is 3 k from downtown and you have limited eating options in the Hotel Zone and with picky kids, even fewer options. Besides the beach in Tulum, cenotes and visiting Coba ruins or Muyil are good with kids. You will like our Tulum guide with things to do here: Cozumel is spread out and the town is nice but more for cruise ship people. It is nice for diving or snorkeling but the back side of Cozumel has very little beach. You might end up at a resort that is family friendly but it will be just like a resort in the Riviera Maya, so you might even skip Cozumel or make it a day trip from Playa Del Carmen. Cancun or Isla Mujeres can be a place you can stay. Isla Mujeres has golf carts and the kids for sure would love a trip driving around there with you. The north end of Isla is the place for the beach. WE hope this helps get you started. Let us know if you have some more questions and the specifics of your budget.

  22. My son and me will travel for the first time to Playa del Carmen, at all to Mexiko.I`m very happy, that we`ve found your tips – it will be very helpful, thank you so much.

  23. Tonya Lemoine // October 2, 2017 at 3:38 PM // Reply

    I am traveling 10-18-17 till the 23. How will the weather be? What is going on at this time of year? Would like to swim with the dolphins. Can you tell me if you have ever done this?

    • Hello Tonya

      October can include some rain so it is good to have a rain jacket or emergency poncho for the day you take a tour. We are familiar with swimming with the dolphins. We do not have any on our website because it controversial due to the care and containment of these wild animals. We predict that in the next few years they will close. Currently there are about 10 places in the Riviera Maya that have dolphins. They all have similar names and are all similar in type of tour.

  24. We are going Veterans weekend. Will it still be rainy season.? How much would a taxi cost from Grand Sunset Princess to 5th Avenue? Thanks

    • November is usually a tranquil time for the weather. The major threat of storms is over. A taxi from the Grand Princess to 5th Avenue is supposed to 240 pesos each way. We say supposed because often they ask for a different amount. Just check before getting in and have pesos ready. If you only have dollars make sure you agree to an amount and ask if they will accept dollars.

  25. Hello. Family of four. Son is 19 and daughter is 16. Can you recommend a restaurant to celebrate NYE 31 December 2017? This a great site for information. Thanks for your time.

    • Hello
      With younger children you might find some of the more traditional restaurants a better option. Many of the restaurants have not announced what they will be doing yet. One that might be nice is C Grill at the Thompson. It is beachfront and if there are fireworks you will have a front row. It is also amore calm place, meaning no rock bands or concerts going on. Most of the restaurants on 5th Avenue will be open for multiple settings on New Years Eve. So you have many to choose from.

  26. Hi Im leaving the 27th of nov staying at thr rui any tips im planing on scuna diving and hitting a few dance spots what is the dress code and where should I go. I am also thinking about exrete im also 34 fyi very out doors person.

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