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The Ultimate Cabo Packing List (Everything Fits in Your Carry On)

The Ultimate Cabo Packing List (Everything Fits in Your Carry On)

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This list includes everything you need to pack for Cabo, Mexico and nothing you don’t.

Since I only travel with a carry-on bag, I’m very strategic with my outfits, shoes and travel essentials.

BUT, even though I have one bag, I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on bringing anything to Cabo with me. 

Everything I packed for my Cabo vacation is in this post, and it all fit in my carry-on bag (which I put in the overhead bin) and my personal item (which fit under the seat in front of me).

I’ve got a full video showing my carry on bag & personal item travel hacks for easier packing.

I’ve made a few trips to Los Cabos traveling with only one piece of carry-on luggage and a bag that fits under the seat, and this is all you need to pack for a week in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo.

This Cabo packing list can also be used for visiting other parts of Mexico and the Caribbean, too.

Whether you’re headed to Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Huatulco or Puerto Vallarta, most of these items still apply. 

The reason why I’m calling this the ultimate Cabo packing list is because:

  • It covers all the essentials, including items you might not think about (especially if you’ve never been to Cabo before;
  • It will save you money by avoiding paying high hotel & resort store fees in case you forgot something; and
  • It will help you avoid overpacking (we all hate bringing too much stuff that we never wear/use)

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!


Types of Clothing and Outfits to Pack for Cabo

The clothing style in Cabo Mexico is beach chic casual.

As far as color palettes, lots of light colors, beige and earthy tones is what you’ll find most people wear. And lots of light, airy and flowy fitting clothes.  

Swimsuits

Bringing swimsuits to Cabo might sound obvious, but I always pack at least 3 or 4 (more if you have room).

The reason for this is because of the humidity, things don’t really dry out, or it takes a really long time.

Since I don’t like putting on damp bathing suits, I recommend packing several.

Inside tip – even if you’re not flying with a carry-on bag, always pack a bathing suit in your carry-on or personal bag. In case your checked bag gets lost, you’ll still have a bathing suit to enjoy the pool. 

Carry-on tip: Even when I fly carry-on, I still pack a swimsuit in my personal bag.

  • Sometimes you arrive at your hotel or resort before check-in and your room might not be ready. This way, you’ve got easy access to your swimsuit without having to dig through your luggage bag that’s about to be stored away with the Bell Desk until your room is ready. 

Beach Cover Ups

a woman standing in front of a pool wearing a light beige dress

I like to bring one or two beach cover ups, where I can wear my swimsuit underneath, but still have enough coverage to feel comfortable walking around the resort.

Sometimes it can be a bit of a walk to get to pool, or you might have to walk through the lobby, and I prefer to wear a cover up or a light dress. 

Recommended: this boho chic cover up is ultra flattering and comes in lots of colors

Dinner Outfits 

woman modeling an evening dress in a tropical country

If you’re going to be in Cabo for a week, I recommend bringing at least 4 dresses or evening outfits.

If you have room, you could bring a different one for each night. But I don’t mind being an outfit repeater! 

Most all inclusive resorts have lovely restaurants for dinner in which you’ll want to get a little dressed up for.

Additionally, most even have a dress code for evening dinner service. 

For men, dinner dress codes usually mean a collared shirt, long pants or dress shorts and close toed shoes. 

I saw these mules (slip on loafers) all over the resort last time we were in Cabo. 

Athletic Wear

If you’re planning to do any sort of excursion or day trip, it’s important to pack something that you feel comfortable being lightly active in. 

Light Sweater or Jacket

If you’re traveling to Cabo anytime between November and April, a light sweater is a must bring item.

Because there’s a little less humidity in Cabo compared to other spots in Mexico, the evenings can get chilly. 

Shoes

There are 4 types of shoes I recommend bringing to Cabo. 

Walking Shoes

I usually wear a pair of close-toed sneakers or walking/athletic shoes on the plane.

On most trips to Cabo, I end up doing one or two excursions, or do some walking in town, and sometimes sandals aren’t the most comfortable.

If you’re not planning to do an excursion or any walking, you can disregard these and replace them with comfortable sandals. 

Sandals 

Naturalizer Womens Nxtgen-Bolt Slide Sandal Storm Blue Naturalizer Womens Nxtgen-Bolt Slide Sandal Storm Blue
$102.35

These were perfect for the pool, but also dressy enough to wear in the evening.

02/20/2024 10:33 pm GMT

One or two pairs of sandals or flips are essential to bring to Cabo for walking around the resort, the beach and the pools. 

Recommended: I wore these sandals!

They were perfect for the pool, but also dressy enough to wear in the evening.

Evening Shoes

I like to bring one pair of shoes to wear in the evenings, something with a little heel but not too much.

If you’re staying at a resort, there could be a lot of stairs or uneven pavement, so stiletto or really high-heeled shoes aren’t recommended. 

I packed a pair of these Steve Madden heeled sandals which were perfect. 

Slippers

Pack a pair of flat slippers (so they don’t take up much room in your luggage).

Most hotel rooms in Cabo are going to have a tile floor, which can be cold and hard to walk on.

I like wearing my slippers around while I get ready instead of my shoes. 

The Right Hat

Cabo gets very hot, and a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection is a must.

I like bringing my own hat, because if you wait to buy one at the resort, it’s going to be triple the price at the resort store. 

I love this beach hat because it was around $20, comes in several different shades and isn’t so big that it’s going to get in the way on the plane. 

Also, it can be windy by the beach, so while the big floppy hats are cute, they get in the way when it’s windy. 

I’ve tested this hat a lot – it’s been to Mexico several times and still looks brand new. It’s gotten wet and squished down and always keeps its shape. 

Hat Packing Tip – you can pack this hat upside down in your suitcase, and fill it with bathing suits or light shirts and it won’t get messed up!

Hats for Men

man in pool wearing a wide brim sun hat

My husband brings two types of hats with him to Cabo. 

This style of bucket hat is quite popular right now, and they come in all kinds of fun patterns. We saw several other guys wearing them in the pool. 

He likes it because it’s small, soft and can fold down to nothing. 

These bucket hats are also great, and come in 28 colors. 

When it’s really hot out and he needs a little more sun protection for the day, he wears this style of sun hat, which has a little wider of a brim.

He loves it because sides are mesh so it’s ultra breathable.

It also has a drawstring that comes in handy when the wind picks up, or he can hang it on the back of his neck walking around the resort. 

Sunscreen 

I like to bring my own sunscreen to Cabo, because buying it at the resort is going to be a lot more expensive. 

Also, it’s important to use reef-safe sunscreen if you’re going to be doing any snorkeling or swimming in the ocean. 

The Sea of Cortez (which surrounds Cabo), is full of marine life so it’s highly encouraged you use sunscreen that won’t damage the reefs. 

Inside tip – if you’re flying carry-on, pack a sunscreen stick like this one so it doesn’t count towards your liquids! 

Rash Guard with Sun Protection

a women sitting in a pool wearing a long sleeve blue shirt

Anytime I visit Cabo, I pack a rash guard with me and always end up wearing it at least a few times.

If you happen to get a little too sunburnt on the first couple of days, you can still hang out in the pool and not have to worry about making your sunburn worse. 

Or if you hate having to reapply sunscreen, this replaces that.

You can usually find them at the resort store or in town, but mine was under $30, and the ones at the store will run you $50-60+

Recommended: this rash guard has 50+ UPF protection.

Aloe Vera or After Sun Care

Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel, 2 oz (56 g) (Bundle of 3) Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel, 2 oz (56 g) (Bundle of 3)
$7.41 ($0.21 / Ounce)

Aloe Vera is essential for after-sun care and is always too expensive to buy at the resort!

02/20/2024 10:08 pm GMT

With Cabo being a desert, the climate is very arid and your skin dries out very quickly after a day in the sun.

Plus, keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized helps your tan last longer!

Again, buying any toiletries, skin care or cosmetics at the hotel or resort store is going to be more expensive. 

Recommended: this travel size aloe vera lotion

Towel Clips

Towel clips are a must bring item to Cabo, or any other all inclusive resort destination.

They’re even perfect for cruises. 

When you head down to the pool or beach for the day, you can secure your lounger with towel clips and not have to worry about leaving a hat, book, sunscreen or other items to ‘claim’ your chair. 

They also keep your towel secured in case the wind picks up. 

Recommended: these beach towel clips that come in fun designs like flamingos, pineapples, margaritas and toucans. 

Bonus – the towel clips can be used to hang wet swimsuits up to dry in your hotel room.

Pool Floatie

people on floaties in a pool

Brining a pool floatie is the perfect Cabo vacation hack. 

The pool hammocks pack flat, so they don’t take up much room. 

They also only have two small pillows to blow up on each end, so you can literally do it in a matter of seconds. 

Recommended: these pool hammocks for less than $20.

Anti Chafing Balm

My life changed when I first found and used an anti chafing balm on my tropical vacation.

Wearing shorts, dresses, skirts and tank tops when it’s hot and sweaty is never a problem anymore. 

If you know, you know. 

I’ve used this product countless times in Cabo and other parts of Mexico, and it lasts all day. 

I apply it in the morning, and I don’t have to reapply it, even after sweating and being in the pool all day. 

Recommended: Bodyglide Balm

Tip – they also have a Bodyglide balm made just for men

Waterproof Phone Case

If you plan to do any snorkeling or whale watching, a waterproof pouch for your phone can be a good idea.

Also for when you’re in the pool taking cute photos!

This waterproof phone pouch still allows you to use the touch screen, so it’s great to use in the pool.

It also has a lanyard, so no worries about dropping it!

I know I’m always scared to ask someone to take a photo of my husband and I because I’m worried they might drop the phone. Problem solved with the lanyard. 

Recommended: this phone pouch with a lanyard.

Tipping Money

In Cabo, USD is widely accepted. So if you plan to use US dollars, make sure you bring lots of small bills – ideally ones and fives.

Tips for food and drinks are always appreciated, and usually a great way to ensure fantastic service.

Even if you’re staying at an all inclusive resort in Cabo, it’s courteous to tip for the service you receive.

I tip the bartenders, serving staff, housekeeping, mini fridge staff, bell desk and anyone else who helps make you stay excellent.

You can also use Mexican pesos, and I like to use denominations of 20s, 50s and 100s for tips.

Things NOT to Pack for Cabo

The worst part of packing for any trip is bringing way more things than you end up needing.

Towels

Don’t worry about packing a travel towel. If you’re staying at an all inclusive resort, or a hotel with a pool, they will supply you with fresh towels each day.

Hair Straightener/Flat Iron

If you have any sort of wave to your hair, don’t worry about straightening it.

The humidity will make your hair frizzy as soon as you step out of your air conditioned room.

Jeans or Denim

The only month you might be able to get away with wearing jeans in Los Cabos is January (the coldest month).

Otherwise, it’s too hot for heavy denim, and you’ll be much more comfortable in light linen clothing.

Refillable Water Bottle

Since you can’t drink the tap water in Cabo, there’s no point in bringing a refillable water bottle.

Everyone drinks bottled water so you’re better off saving some packing space without this one.


Here’s a video detailing everything we packed for Cabo Mexico!


Read Next: 14 Brilliant Travel Hacks for Packing Toiletries

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