You may fly into Cancun, which has all the luxuries of home, but as you trek south to your destination, you’ll see why it’s so important to bring these items—in these small, sleepy resort communities on the Yucatan coast, there are few places to purchase more than the bare necessities.

What Riviera Maya does have: world-class diving, stunning cenotes, beautiful eco-preserves and of course, the glorious Mayan ruins. You’ll have plenty more interesting things to do than spend time shopping for insect repellent. Be prepared for it all in Riviera Maya by bringing these items along:

Minimal Luggage

This isn’t the place to arrive with three trolleys full of luggage. With accommodations in Riviera Maya spanning more than 80 miles of coastline, from northernmost Puerto Morelos down south to Punta Allen, be prepared for a lengthy trek from Cancun International Airport to your hotel. Whether you plan to rent a car, hire a driver or brave a public bus, you don’t want to lug more baggage than is absolutely necessary. Buy luggage that can fit in the plane’s overhead compartment to ensure it can easily fit in the smallest rental car trunk or bus compartment. Wayfair carries suitcases in all sorts of styles and sizes.

Insect Repellent

Photo by Angelique800326 via Wikimedia Commons

With a tropical climate and near-perfect weather year round, Riviera Maya is the perfect environment for mosquitoes to thrive. Fortunately, most open-air resort rooms come with mosquito nets draped over the bed, but for your outside treks, come with ample amounts of insect repellent. Drugstore.com stocks dozens of brands of insect repellent.

Water Purification Tablets

The resorts only serve purified water, so you only need to worry about the tap water. Come prepared with water purification tablets in case you get stuck in a precarious situation (like you’re hiking in the jungle or exploring an eco-preserve and run out of water). Amazon sells 50-tablet bottles of Potable Aqua water purification tablets for $5.99.

Sun Protection

The sun’s rays are intense in this equatorial oasis, so pack lots of sun protection: waterproof sunscreen in at least SPF 30 and protective accessories like hats and sunglasses. Pack a small bottle of pure aloe vera gel just in case all this protection isn’t enough and you end up with a sunburn. The Vitamin Shoppe sells a four-ounce bottle of Aubrey Organics pure aloe vera gel for $5.69.

Water Shoes

As dorky as they may be, be sure to bring an inexpensive pair of water shoes to wear while exploring the many cenotes (natural sinkholes) of Riviera Maya. Save space in your daypack and look for a pair with decent tread so you can wear them on your trek to the cenote instead of wearing one pair of shoes on land and another in the water. Big 5 Sporting Goods carries a variety of water shoes for men, women and kids.

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