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17 Top Riviera Maya Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for the riviera maya
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From white-sand beaches to ancient ruins, Riviera Maya is one of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations. The Riviera Maya area sits on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo and faces the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to the Riviera Maya’s year-round warm weather, your packing list will call for less heavy layers and more sun-friendly attire.
Below you’ll find essential packing list items to bring on your trip to Riviera Maya, what NOT to bring there, and some frequently asked questions about Riviera Maya.

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What to Pack for Riviera Maya - 17 Essentials

  • 1. Packing Cubes

    This five-piece packing cube set is the perfect organizer for your clothes and dirty laundry. You can roll or fold up your clothes into each cube and zip them up for the most efficient way to pack your suitcase.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 2. Portable Charger

    Riviera Maya is an outdoor haven, and you will spend a lot of time on foot or outside at the beach and pool. This mini portable charger will keep your phone alive while you’re on the go, and it fits easily into a beach bag or daypack.

    Portable Charger

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Securing a VPN will protect your online privacy as you connect to different WiFi spots in Mexico. A VPN encrypts all your information, including your search history and saved credit card information, so hackers won’t be able to find it. Using a VPN also lets you keep using your home country’s streaming services and other sites that are normally blocked in foreign countries.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Neck Wallet

    To protect your identity and credit cards from pickpockets, this product keeps it all in a lightweight, flat wallet that stays in your line of sight. The long strap attached to it can be worn like a necklace with the wallet on your chest, or you can wear it as a crossbody.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 5. Life Straw Water Bottle

    Between airports and the hot Riviera Maya weather, this self-filtering water bottle will help keep you hydrated everywhere you go. It’s environmentally friendly and helps purify the tap water in Mexico so you don’t have to keep buying plastic water bottles.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 6. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The weather in Riviera Maya is warm year-round, but there is a rainy season that lasts for about six months. This windproof travel umbrella will come in handy when you get caught in the rain, and the windproof factor is ideal for when the sea breeze kicks in. It expands to a full-size umbrella, but it breaks down to fit in a small case.

    Hero Umbrella

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  • 7. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    This three-fold toiletry bag pulls together all of your toiletries into a compact, packable square making it easy to organize in your suitcase. It comes with a hook at the top, so you can hang it over the bathroom door of your hotel to free up space. The bag’s waterproof material will help keep all your belongings dry as you travel, too.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 8. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Instead of using a new hotel towel every time you visit the beach or pool, you can opt for this quick-dry travel towel. It folds up nicely into a small pouch so it’s the perfect packable towel you can reuse throughout your trip. It’s also great to have for day excursions when you may sweat or encounter some unexpected rain.

    travel towel

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  • 9. Daypack

    This mini daypack will be a versatile accessory for your trip to Mexico. It’s multi-functional and can work as your personal item on the plane, and its water-resistant material is great for bringing with you on excursions or to the beach.


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  • 10. Cooling Towel

    One thing you can count on in Riviera Maya is warm weather. You can use this cooling towel to soak up water, and the towel will hold onto it for up to an hour. You can wrap it around your neck and shoulders, or lay it over your face when you need a break from the Riviera Maya heat.

    Cooling Towel

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  • 11. Waterproof Phone Case

    With all the time you’ll be spending around the water, this waterproof phone case is essential. It will protect your phone from accidental slips into the pool and let you take photos in the water thanks to its clear case. The case has universal sizing, so nearly every cell phone fits into it comfortably.

    Waterproof Phone Case

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  • 12. Travel Insurance for Riviera Maya

    If you have health insurance, there are a lot of specifics about where it applies or whether it covers travel. Buying travel insurance for your trip to Riviera Maya will give you peace of mind that you’re covered in different travel situations from missing luggage to emergency hospital visits in a foreign country. We like to use to compare policies from top companies and find the best option for our family and travel plans.

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  • 13. Reef-Safe Sunscreen

    Snorkeling is a popular activity in Riviera Maya because of the area’s healthy underwater reefs. To protect marine life and your skin, this reef-friendly sunscreen is a conscious way to take care of yourself and the environment.

    Reef-Safe Sunscreen

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  • 14. Sand Proof Beach Blanket

    This sand-proof beach blanket spans about 10 feet long and wide, with plenty of room to fit a family. The sand in Riviera Maya sticks to you easily and feels like it takes all day to come off, so this beach blanket is a great way to keep the sand off of you. It’s also a lightweight nylon material that makes it easy to pick up and dust off when you need to.

    beach blanket

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  • 15. Beach Bag

    Instead of collecting sand in your bag, this mesh beach bag tote lets the sand fall through the holed lining. It’s got nine pockets along the outside and one, big tote opening that can fit up to 160 pounds worth of beach toys, towels, and anything else you’ll need for the outdoors.

    Beach Bag

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  • 16. Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

    You will love having some background music while you’re on vacation in Riviera Maya, and this waterproof Bluetooth speaker is small enough to clip onto any of your belongings. Even if it gets muddy or sandy, you can wash the speaker off with no problem.

    Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

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  • 17. Underwater Camera

    This underwater camera shoots video in 4k quality and comes with a remote control watch so you can hit record or take a photo from a distance. For all this camera can do, it’s one of the most affordable out there, and it’s a great way to collect travel memories.

    Underwater Camera

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What to Wear in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya is warm and sunny year-round, so you should plan on packing light, breathable clothes, comfortable beach sandals, and swimwear for your trip no matter what month you visit. Other beach accessories like sunglasses, hats, and insect repellent wristbands should also make your packing list.

Apart from the warm weather, Riviera Maya’s seasons are divided into a dry season and a rainy season. During the hot, dry season, you only need to pack one rain accessory like a windproof travel umbrella. But during the rainy season, you should come prepared with a little more, adding a lightweight rain jacket to your suitcase, too.

What Should Women Wear in Riviera Maya?- (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list.(All items link to for your convenience).

Lightweight, comfortable clothes will make up the bulk of women’s packing lists for Riviera Maya. Loose tank tops and shorts in breathable fabrics like cotton and linen will help keep you cool outside. Women will also want to pack swim cover-ups to throw on for days at the pool or beach. Accessories you’ll also want to consider are sunglasses, a sun hat, and beach sandals you don’t mind getting wet.

Flowy maxi dresses are an elegant and easy way to dress for the evenings in Riviera Maya. Whether you’re heading to dinner on resort property or venturing out, a nice pair of leather sandals and a maxi dress makes for an effortless beach night outfit.

What Should Men Wear in Riviera Maya?- (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list.(All items link to for your convenience).

Men will want to pack several pairs of loose tank tops and swim trunks for a trip to Riviera Maya. Accessories like a wide-brim bucket hat and sunglasses will also be essentials in the warm, humid weather. For the evenings, men can dress up an outfit with boat shoes and a linen, button-down shirt.

Packing for the Seasons in Riviera Maya

Rainy Season – May, June, July, August, September, October

Temperatures are consistent throughout the year in Riviera Maya, but the rainy season from May through October can be more humid. If you’ve never experienced heat and humidity together, it can be intense, so packing breathable fabrics this time of year is the best way to manage. Usually, the wettest months fall between late summer through October. They still average less than 10 rainy days a month, though, and it typically doesn’t rain all day. Make sure to pack a lightweight rain jacket and windproof travel umbrella during the rainy season, just in case!

Temperatures averages are consistent from May to October at an average high of 88℉ and evening lows of 76℉ (31℃ and 24℃).

Dry Season – November, December, January, February, March, April

The humidity lets up during the dry season in Riviera Maya, with dryer conditions from November to April. The average temperatures cool off slightly this time of year compared to the rainy season, and the dry weather makes the heat more tolerable. Women will still want lightweight daytime clothes like a sarong for the beach and pool, and tank tops to go with swim trunks for men. Evenings can be cool and comfortable during the dry season, so you can pack one lightweight denim jacket to layer over a sundress or linen shirt if you’re visiting this time of year.

Temperatures averages are consistent from November to April at an average high of 84℉ and evening lows of 70℉ (29℃ and 21℃).

Dressing appropriately for the activity– (Click to expand)

Nightlife: Nightlife attire in Riviera Maya is casual and comfortable. A button-down shirt and khaki shorts for men will be a great way to dress up at night. Leather sandals or boat shoes are the ideal footwear for an evening out. Women can opt for bright sundresses with platform sandals for an evening look, and simple jewelry like a watch or hoop earrings are the perfect compliments for your outfit.

Outdoor excursions: Many visitors like to plan a day excursion to the nearby Mayan ruins or cenotes – natural pools – while they are in this part of Mexico. For these excursions, you will be most comfortable in athletic gear like active shorts and tennis shoes. A daypack will also be the best way to carry your things while you’re on an excursion.

Beach and pool days: If you’ve planned a trip to Riviera Maya, it’s probably because you plan to spend a lot of time enjoying the beach and hotel pool. Women’s swim cover-ups and sarongs are the easiest things to throw over your suit. Loose tank tops and tropical-print swim trunks will be the go-to beach outfit for men. You will also need all of the sun accessories like a bucket hat, sunglasses, and water sandals.

What NOT to Bring to Riviera Maya

  • 1.DON’T Bring Dress Shoes

    Riviera Maya is tropical and casual. Stick to open-toe sandals or boat shoes if you prefer to have your feet more covered.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Oversized Backpacks or Handbags

    In the hot Riviera Maya weather, the last thing you will want to do is carry around heavy, oversized bags. Lightweight beach bags and suitcases will help save your energy.

  • 3.DON’T Bring Hiking Gear

    There are no mountain hikes near Riviera Maya. For day excursions to Mayan ruins or cenotes, the most activewear you will need is tennis shoes, shorts, and a sports tank top.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Thick Outerwear

    The coolest the evenings get during the year in Riviera Maya is about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the dry season. If you’re visiting during the coolest time of year, you only need one lightweight denim jacket or shoulder wrap for the evenings.

  • 5.DON’T Bring Unnecessary Valuables

    Riviera Maya is an outdoor-centric destination, so leave your designer bags and diamonds at home. You won’t want to wear them outside in the hot weather or worry about keeping them safe in your hotel room while you’re away at the beach.

What NOT to Wear in Riviera Maya – (Click to expand)

It’s best to pack sandals and shoes that you know are comfortable for your trip to Riviera Maya. Spending a lot of time with wet sandals can cause blisters, so make sure you have a nice pair of water-friendly shoes instead of cheap, rubber flip-flops. You can also avoid shirts with long sleeves, pants, and even denim shorts. The key in a year-round warm weather destination like Riviera Maya is loose, light fabrics and sleeveless tops.

FAQs about travel for Riviera Maya

  • 1. What’s the closest airport to Riviera Maya?

    The closest major airport to Riviera Maya is Cancun International Airport (CUN). It’s a busy airport offering shuttle bus services that can take you directly from the airport to your hotel or resort in Riviera Maya. The drive takes about an hour to 1.5 hours if there is traffic.

  • 2. When is the best time of year to visit Riviera Maya?

    When is the best time of year to visit Riviera Maya?

    One of the best times of year to visit Riviera Maya is December. December is the peak of the dry season, so you’re less likely to experience rainfall and mosquitos. The daytime is warm and sunny, and the evenings are cooler and comfortable. It’s also ideal for escaping the winter weather in your home city or town. Because of the Riviera Maya’s warm weather year-round, you can enjoy a trip to the area any time of year, though!

  • 3. What are the best things to do in Riviera Maya?

    The best things to do in Riviera Maya all revolve around the outdoors. Going to the beach, relaxing at the pool, or taking a day excursion to ancient ruins or the nearby cenotes are some of the top activities in the area.

  • 4. How do I get around Riviera Maya?

    How do I get around Riviera Maya?

    You can arrange a shuttle bus directly from the nearest airport, the Cancun International Airport, to your hotel in Riviera Maya. Once you’re in Riviera Maya, you can get around on foot. If you want to venture off of the property, you can arrange a day trip with your hotel or a tour company that will always transport you to and from your hotel. Taxis and Ubers are plentiful and safe options of transport. Renting a car is another great option. The roads are safe and fairly easy to navigate.

  • 5. Where is the best nightlife in Riviera Maya?

    If you’re staying at a resort or hotel, there are usually bars and restaurants on the property where you can go out at night. Off of the resort properties, Riviera Maya doesn’t offer many other nightlife options within a close distance. You would have to go to nearby Tulum about 45 minutes away.

  • 6. Where are the best places to stay in Riviera Maya?

    Where are the best places to stay in Riviera Maya?

    There are dozens of hotel and resort chains along the Riviera Maya coast. You can choose from all-inclusive, beachfront resorts or standard hotels where you pay per night for the room and any dining separately as you would at any other hotel. In general, the best places to stay are at accommodations with quick access to the beach. Airbnb has become very popular so there are tons of beautiful rentals to choose from.

  • 7. Are there ancient ruins in Riviera Maya?

    The Mayan pyramid Chichén Itzá is within a 2.5-hour drive from Riviera Maya, and many visitors plan an excursion there organized through their hotel or one of their tour service partners. There are also ancient ruins closer to Riviera Maya in Tulum, which is about 45 minutes away.

  • 8. What are the best day trips from Riviera Maya?

    What are the best day trips from Riviera Maya?

    A trip to Cenote Azul is the perfect place to swim among Mexico’s lush nature and experience a stunning natural pool. Cenote Azul is only a 15-minute drive from Riviera Maya. A day trip to Chichén Itzá is a long journey, but it’s worth seeing one of the most-visited archaeological sites in the world. The jungle town Tulum is only 45 minutes away if you’d like to see a different beach. They also have ancient ruins you can visit.