By Alisa W., guest blogger studying Spanish in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Over my trip I have constantly been evaluating my packing choices. I thought it might be useful for those traveling to Playa del Carmen, or anywhere that has a similar climate. The climate here in Playa is, well, HOT. It isn't necessarily the temperature, however, that gets you. It's the humidity. The humidity is often very high. I walked past a thermometer that said the humidity was 80%. The temperature is usually only around 85-90 degrees. Being from Texas, this does not seem that hot, however, combined with the humidity, it often feels hotter than Texas. You spend most of the day very sweaty, but don't worry about it too much, because everyone is sweating!
Fortunately for me, I had some help when packing from my sister who had just returned from a month in Costa Rica. The first thing I will say not to bring is denim jeans, or really any type of pants for that matter. You don't need them, and you will likely be uncomfortable trying to wear them. Yes, the locals will wear them, but you will find yourself wondering why?? If you insist on bringing some, wear the pair you want to bring on the plane, that way you can save space in your suitcase. Ladies, I don't recommend bringing make-up, I gave up on all of it after the first few days. I did wear it when we went out at night, but not much, as it is likely to melt off of your face. The essentials: shorts (lots of them), bathing suits, tank tops, and very light t-shirts, and for girls I recommend light sundresses or cover-ups. Fortunately, here in Playa, the style is more casual, and people aren't quite as modest since most people spend their time in bathing suits anyways. I'm not implying, however, that it is OK to walk around everywhere in your string-bikini, because it's not. A few things that I had wished I had brought were a few more things to dress-up with, the style is still fairly casual, but people do get dressed up to go out to the club or bar. Ultimately, it's up to you. I have found that I feel the most confident and outgoing when I am comfortable with what I'm wearing. Wear what you like, you don't always have to conform to the styles that are in fashion right now. Wear what makes you feel good. In playa, I have found, less equals more.
Another good idea is to bring an old beach towel that you don't mind leaving behind. You will get a lot of use out of your towel any time you stay somewhere with a beach, and if you can leave it behind you will have more room for your souvenirs and gifts on the way home. Another good idea is a hat and sunglasses. I brought a cheap pair of sunglasses so I didn't have to worry about scratching them, breaking them, losing them, etc. etc, and they got scratched badly, so I'm definitely glad I chose to bring the $5.00 pair. Most importantly, don't forget the sunscreen! Sunscreen is expensive here in Playa, so I recommend bringing your own. An umbrella is also a good idea, as it does rain off and on fairly often, and it's not fun getting caught walking home in it.
Fortunately, don't worry too much if you forget something. You can always buy it at your destination!
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