17 Top Cabo Packing List Items for 2020 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Updated on January 21, 2020 by Asher Fergusson

What should I bring on my Cabo San Lucas trip?

Cabo 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 17 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 – 17 Essentials

1) Athletic Shoes – Hiking 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 your closed-toed hiking shoes in your suitcase. Many of Cabo’s outdoor adventures involve trekking on uneven, rocky, or jungly terrain, so come prepared!

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2) Lifeproof Phone Case – A lifeproof phone case will protect your phone 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.

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3) Beach Blanket – There are plenty of outdoor spaces in Cabo to soak in the amazing views and have a picnic, especially on the beach! Bring a big round beach blanket like this one that can fold up nice and small in your daypack. It will make your beach days instagram-worthy, and save your picnic from getting sandy.

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4) Lightweight Tops – The weather stayed pretty hot and balmy year round in Cabo San Lucas. I would recommend bringing lightweight tank tops, or off the shoulder tops, that you can throw on over a swimsuit or sports bra to go hiking in. One like this is versatile for either activity, and can even be dressed up with a cute necklace if you’re going out to one of Cabo’s cool clubs.

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5) Loose Clothing – Because of the hot and humid climate in this area of Mexico, you will want to stick to loose clothing, so that your clothing doesn’t stick to you! Stay away from jeans, tight dresses, and form-fitting tops. Instead, bring flowy sundresses, cotton shorts, and tank tops. This dress is great for lounging by the pool or going downtown for a smoothie bowl.

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6) Swimsuits – Generally speaking, when in Cabo San Lucas, days are spent lounging by the beach or at your resort’s pool. Bring a few swimsuits so that you will always have a dry one to throw on when your others are hanging to dry. This one is perfect for boat rides, swim up bars, and everything in between.

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7) GoPro – A waterproof GoPro camera 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 kayak trip, snorkeling, underwater, cliff jumping, and anywhere else your trip takes you.

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8) Documents in a Waterproof Pouch – Especially if you are traveling internationally, you will need to make sure you bring all the important documents like your plane tickets, passports or visas. Before you leave home, sort out everything, pack all of your documents in a waterproof pouch, and store it in a safe place in your luggage or purse. Anything important that’s made of paper should go inside one of these pouches, just in case.

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9) Clothes Line – In 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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10) Visor or Sun Hat – Especially if you have fair skin, a good sun hat can be a lifesaver in Mexico. It’s always good to stick a sun hat on any children that you’re traveling with so that they don’t overheat. This one is inexpensive, and can be worn for a day at the beach or for more athletic endeavors like hiking or kayaking.

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11) Sarong – A lightweight sarong is something that will come in handy during every day of your Cabo trip. It can be worn as a coverup 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 is neutral and great for any occasion.

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12) Sandals – Sandals or flip flops are a must-have for any kind of beach getaway. Bring some that are easy to slip on and off for a day at the pool or beach. You can even wear them right into the shower at night if you bring a waterproof pair like these ones.

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13) Light Jacket – It can get chilly at night time, so make sure to bring a light jacket to bring out with you. The general style in Cabo San Lucas is laidback, so a flannel shirt is the perfect garment to keep you warm, or to tie around your waist to spice up your outfit.

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14) Activated Charcoal Pills – In case you get an an upset stomach, or food poisoning from the local cuisine, it is handy to have some activated charcoal pills with you. Activated charcoal pills contains small chambers and cavities that “capture” or bind-up 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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15) Beach Bag – You can’t go to the beach (or pool!) without a bag to put all your essentials in. Whatever bag you bring is likely to get sandy and wet, so a beach bag is a great accessory to bring on your trip to Cabo. This one is well-made and very spacious. Throw in your sunscreen, shades, sun hat, and a good book, and you’re ready to go.

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16) Sunscreen – Vacationing in Cabo San Lucas means lots and lots of sunshine. Whether you’re getting your tan on by one of the sparkling pools at your resort, or relaxing on Playa Bledito beach, don’t forget to bring a sunscreen that has a super strong SPF level. This one is hypoallergenic and safe for kids, too. Make sure you apply every hour if you’re getting in the water.

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17) Aloe Vera – If, and when, you get sunburned, you will be glad you brought some aloe vera. Aloe Vera is nature’s own first aid medicine. It’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and is the tried and true remedy for sunburns. It’s also fantastic for all-over hydration and rejuvenation of the skin.

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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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