18 Top Cabo Packing List Items for 2021 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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Updated on by Asher Fergusson

Cabo San Lucas is a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Cabo is known for its sun soaked beaches, water activities, and vibrant nightlife.

If you’re headed to Cabo, expect to spend your time soaking in the sunshine, dining at waterfront restaurants, and bar-hopping around Plaza Bonita. Don’t forget to pack any of these 18 essentials before you go! We’ll also help you learn what to wear in Cabo, what NOT to bring, and the answers to top Cabo San Lucas FAQs.

What to Pack for Cabo San Lucas – 18 Essentials

1. Neck Wallet

neck walletKeep your valuables organized and secure in a handy neck wallet which you can wear under your clothes. Large enough to carry your phone, wallet, and passport, a neck wallet is an invaluable item to bring with you to Cabo. Pickpocketing and petty theft is always a risk when traveling to any touristy destination, so this item will ensure your belongings remain protected.

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2. Affordable Waterproof Camera

underwater cameraA waterproof camera like this is the perfect tool for capturing those colorful Cabo moments with your friends or partner. This camera is made for vacations like this because it’s waterproof, small, and nearly indestructible. Take it with you on a kayaking trip, snorkeling, underwater, cliff jumping, and anywhere else your trip takes you.

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3. Cooling Towel

Cooling Towel Pink-blue Cabo can get hot. You don’t want to be stuck in the heat unprepared. Keeping a cooling towel on you during all of your outdoor excursions is a good idea to stay cool, comfortable, and safe. These cooling towels remain 20-30 degrees cooler than outside temperatures making for an incredibly refreshing relief when the heat hits. Simply get the towel wet, wring it out, and you have a cold towel no matter where you are or how hot it gets.

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4. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

waterproof phone caseA waterproof phone case will protect your smartphone from water splashes and beach sand getting in the cracks and crevices. It’s a necessity if you’re bringing your phone along for all the surfing, fishing, swimming, climbing, hiking, and partying that Cabo San Lucas has to offer. It even makes it possible to take underwater photos and videos (with sound)!

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5. HERO Packing Cubes

packing cubes for luggageThere’s nothing better to help you stay organized and avoid overpacking than using packing cubes. This set comes in a variety of bright colors and includes separate cases for shoes and dirty laundry. Label what’s inside each case on the outside slot and never dig through your luggage in search of that one specific shirt again!

Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

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6. Travel Insurance for Mexico

travel insuranceReliable travel insurance is absolutely essential, particularly when traveling outside your home country. You don’t want to get stuck in an unexpected emergency situation without a plan. We use TravelInsurance.com since they’re the best option for comparing the best policies that cover the costs of lost or stolen luggage, flight cancellations, and medical expenses, and will provide you with peace-of-mind.

Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

7. Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes: Women’s & Men’s

water shoesHiking is a very popular activity in Cabo San Lucas. In case you decide to hike Fox Canyon to the hidden waterfall, or scale Mount Solmar, definitely throw a pair of these water shoes in your suitcase. Many of Cabo’s outdoor adventures involve trekking on wet, uneven, rocky, or jungly terrain, so come prepared!

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8. Lipstick-Size Portable Charger

portable chargerNo need to worry about your smartphone running out of battery at an inopportune moment when you bring along a handy lipstick-sized portable charger. This external battery is a great and easy thing to throw into your purse or daypack to keep your phone working for photos, music, navigation, and more.

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9. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

HERO Travel Towel - BlueA microfiber quick dry travel towel is a must-have for your trip to Mexico. Bring it to the beach or use it on an impromptu waterfall hike. This will also come in handy if your accommodation doesn’t provide a bath towel or if the provided towel is unclean, such as at hostels or budget accommodations. This one is lightweight and compact enough to toss into your daypack.

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10. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

virtual private networkUsing a VPN is a great option whenever you plan to travel abroad. Use it to keep your personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, secure and out of reach for hackers, especially when connecting to WiFi in public places such as hotels, airports, and internet cafes. A VPN will also allow you to access websites from your home country that may be blocked or censored in the destination you’re traveling to.

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11. Swimsuit Cover-up

In Cabo San Lucas, you’re likely to spend the majority of your days lounging by the beach or at your resort’s pool. Bring a swimsuit cover up so that you will always have something to throw on over your suit. This one is perfect for boat rides, beach bars, and everything in between.

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12. Clothes Line

Clothes LineIn Cabo, you’ll end up with loads of wet towels and swimsuits every day. Dry them out quickly on your balcony or porch by bringing a clothesline with you. This one is awesome because of its stretchy, braided design. You can securely hang up anything without using clothespins, and attach it nearly anywhere.

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13. Activated Charcoal

 Activated CharcoalIn case you get an upset stomach or food poisoning from the local cuisine, it’s handy to have some activated charcoal pills with you. Activated charcoal contains small chambers and cavities that “capture” or bind unwanted materials and gas and carry it safely through the digestive system. They are my go-to for big and small stomach troubles while I am traveling.

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14. Long-sleeved Swim Rash Guard: Women’s & Men’s

rash guardThe sun in Cabo is super strong even in the winter. Especially if you have fair skin (like me!) a rash guard can be a lifesaver in Mexico. This one is inexpensive, stylish and can be worn for a day at the beach or for more athletic endeavors like hiking and kayaking.

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15. Sarong

sarongA lightweight sarong is something that will come in handy during every day of your Cabo trip. It can be used as a beach towel as you soak in the Baja sun, or a shawl when you’re out at night and the air gets a little chilly. This one comes in several different colors and is great for any occasion.

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16. LifeStraw Water Bottle

LifeStraw Water Bottle Though the tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico, you’ll likely have plenty of access to filtered water during your stay. Cut down on single-use plastic water bottles and opt for a more environmentally friendly option, like this awesome LifeStraw filtered water bottle. This will filter your water to ensure it’s safe to drink and will keep you hydrated in the hot Mexican sun.

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17. Gorgeous Outfit

Gorgeous OutfitOn your trip to Cabo, it’s likely you’ll want to spend at least one night out on the town exploring the happening bar scene or enjoying a nice dinner. Be prepared with a gorgeous outfit like this one which is perfect for the warm Mexican weather, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and looks great on a wide variety of body types.

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18. Beach Bag

beach bagDon’t forget to pack a beach bag for your trip to Cabo! Perfect for bringing everything you need with you to the beach. This one’s awesome because it comes with an insulated cooler in the bottom so you can keep your drinks and snacks cool all day long.

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Other packing list items for Cabo San Lucas:

What should I wear in Cabo?

In Cabo, breezy and laidback is the accepted style. Bring swimsuits, tank tops, shorts, cover ups and sundresses. When you go out for drinks or dinner, beachy and cute outfits are good, so bring some casual-cute clothing like simple dresses, a nice pair of khakis, and simple sandals. A hat and sunglasses are also a good idea too. For any athletic activities, shorts and a tank top are good to beat the heat. No matter what, bring comfortable walking shoes.

What NOT to take to Cabo

1) 🚫 Refillable Water Bottle – Anyone who has ever been to Mexico will tell you not to drink the water. It’s true – not even the locals drink the tap water! Leave the refillable water bottle at home, and make sure to only drink bottled water in Cabo.
2) 🚫 Jeans – Don’t make yourself uncomfortable with stiff, inhibiting jeans in this heat! Denim and Cabo don’t mix well.
3) 🚫 Nice Jewelry – Don’t make yourself a target for pickpockets.

FAQs about Cabo San Lucas travel

1) What’s the best time of year to go to Cabo?

The best time to visit Cabo is from May to June, when the Spring crowds have gone home and the summertime storms have yet to hit. October and November are also nice months to visit, but you’ll need to begin your hotel search early unless you want to end up spending loads more money!

2) What language is spoken in Cabo San Lucas?

Spanish, but many people also speak English. If you are staying at a resort, the staff will definitely be fluent in English.

3) What currency is used in Cabo San Lucas?

Mexico’s currency is the Peso. U.S. Dollars are widely accepted in Cabo, but don’t expect great exchange rates if you choose to use dollars. Plan ahead, and exchange money before your trip.

4) What are some good beach reads?

We all have different taste in books, but if you’re in the mood for a juicy but light-hearted vacation read, check out this list.

5) How can I avoid overpacking?

Before you commit to bringing anything, make a list of what activities you’ll be doing throughout the whole trip. Plan out each day’s outfit, and try to stick to items that can be re-worn and repurposed. For example, bringing a simple black dress that you can wear to the beach with sandals can probably be dressed up at night time with some lipstick and cute jewelry. By bringing multipurpose clothing items, you can pack much lighter.

6) Should I tip in Cabo? What is Cabo’s tipping culture?

Tipping is appreciated, though not required. Keep in mind that pre-tipping a little bit can sometimes help you get faster, higher-quality service, especially when being served drinks or snacks by resort staff. Don’t leave US coins as a tip, though – the person you’re tipping may have a heck of a time exchanging them, making it more of a pain than a compliment.

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Please note: We have over 200 packing lists covering practically every popular travel destination in the world. Access them all on our packing list overview page ➜