Chances are if you are heading to Cancun on vacation, you are staying at a resort. There are so many cool places to stay and when you save up for your big vacation, you want to take cute pictures in perfect outfits, feel like you are dressed appropriately, and feel comfortable. This Cancun packing list will tell you exactly what to take for a resorts stay as well as exact outfits you can choose to wear in Cancun.

Cancun Packing List + What to Wear in Cancun

Most resort stays are around 5-6 nights but make sure not to overpack. Why stress about what to wear once you reach there? See how many day and night outfits you need and take JUST that many. PS not all these photos are from Cancun! I didn’t have a lot, so added in photos from other places in Mexico and Central American resorts that are the same style I am mentioning in the post.

Clothing: What to Wear in Cancun at a Resort

In General

You’ll want to stick with dresses. Most resorts will have a little bit of a fancy vibe and in jean shorts you might feel under-dressed. Of course, if you are staying at a resort that has a “young” party vibe, then you could do shorts as well. Overall, dresses are the way to go.

I recommend taking one for each day, so around 5 day-dresses that will be loose, light, and short (not short-short but not maxi dresses that look formal). Think light cotton, linen, things that flow. I would take a few that are colorful along with a white and black dress. Wear something that makes you comfortable during that day that could even be used as a swimsuit coverup as you’ll be going from lunch, to the beach, to the pool.

These looks are from my Panama trip and around Goa, but you get the same idea:

I also love to take two-piece sets because they feel more styled and put-together than a dress sometimes. I like silk crops with textured skirts or two-piece sets that match and are a little more for style rather than comfort. A jumpsuit is also a great idea!

what to wear in panama

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Swimsuits & Cover-Ups

While you can use those dresses as cover-ups, you should also take sarongs and swimsuit cover-ups with you. A simple white coverup can go a long way! I love having one that looks like a swimsuit coverup but I also take sarongs. L*Space makes some of the best bikinis and cover-ups. I also love the little bit pricier Melissa Odabash. You could just find something great at Target, too!


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Little towels, scarves, and sarongs can be used to tie around your waist as a skirt – not just wrapped around like a traditional sarong and it’s a style that I love.


Where to Stay Gulf of Chiriqui Isla Palenque

Extra Sun Protection

Adding on accessories like scarves in your hair, a baseball hat, or a floppy beach hat can make all the difference in an outfit and also just save you from getting brassy hair or a sunburn. I make sure to pack a pair of good polarized sunglasses, too. (Check out my favorite brands here) The sun is so hot in Cancun!

If you pop onto the ferry over to somewhere like Isla Mujeres, you’ll likely be laying out on a beach without an umbrella so you’ll want protection. I like to take a light pair of linen pants to throw on and a very light linen button-up top that will look cute but protect my skin a bit once I’ve had enough sun for the day but am not ready to go inside.

For Evening

For dinners, you’ll want a dress, jumpsuit, or nice outfit each night that will feel a little fancier. Most resorts have different types of restaurants so you can go to a causal one or nice one and you often need reservations ahead of time. While I tend to stay in a beachy boho look, you might prefer white capris and a nice shirt. It’s all up to you.


In a resort, you’ll have people coming to your room to clean and such, so make sure to bring PJs.

For Excursions

You’ll want to bring two pairs of “plane clothes” (I like to take loose culotte type pants and a favorite tee shirt, which I mention in my post on essential travel items).

You will want “excursion” clothing, too. You can go to the Mayan Ruins, cenotes, and more. For that, you will want to bring comfortable walking shoes, maybe water shoes if you’re worried about slipping at the cenote, and I like to take a Patagonia fanny pack or a small backpack like my favorite LeSportsac basic backpack. For the Mayan Ruins you can either do a cute dress or shorts and a tank, but it’s very hot there and you’ll want a hat and sunglasses. I recommend closed-toe shoes because it’s very dusty. You should take wet wipes with you to clean off a bit before the car/bus ride back to the resort. This is key!


If you’re going into town on a tour, you might want to take a casual outfit that is a little bit fun and colorful. I like to wear cropped pants like the white H&M ones below with a bright shirt or wear colorful loose culottes with a little tank top.

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Don’t forget a towel (Tesalate is a favorite. You can use the code “hippieinheels15″ to get 15% off your order.), flip-flops (I love Reef leather ones), a good book or [easyazon_link identifier=”B07CXG6C9W” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link], and your [easyazon_link identifier=”B00X409O6O” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]camera[/easyazon_link]!

As a bonus, I recommend taking a few spa items with you. You’re on vacation! Some nights you might want to chill in room so take a face mask, eye patches, and some other goodies you can do to help you relax. Since you’re staying in one place only, you can relax unwind and really get settled in.

For more Mexico travel

Pin this Cancun packing list and ideas on what to wear in Cancun at a resort for later