While packing for Costa Rica, traveler must consider hot, humid and rainy weather of Costa Rica. As a whole, Costa Rica is hot and humid. Also it rains a lot during rainy season – between May through November in Costa Rica. Packing will vary slightly based on the time of the year you are planning to visit Costa Rica. Following packing list guideline will provide you some tips on packing for your next trip to Costa Rica.
Make sure to pack your clothes that you would usually wear in any tropical destination. Yes, light weight, cotton t-shirts, shirts, pants or shorts. Apart from season consideration, always pack casual clothes for Costa Rica trip. Stay away from formal office wear.
Keep long sleeved cotton T-Shirts for rainforest hikes and activities. Activewear will help you hike more efficiently without getting exhausted.
For night parties and/or nightclubs carry dressy pants. Avoid jeans as much as you can, because hot and humid weather will make you uncomfortable.
If you are visiting San Jose then make sure to carry some fancy clothes. Believe it or not, San Jose got fashion compared to beach and mountain areas of Costa Rica.
It rains a lot in Costa Rica, so make sure to carry rain poncho and umbrella with you. It rains everywhere in Costa Rica anywhere you go 🙂
Carry swimsuits or any light clothing for beach outing that fits your lifestyle.
As in general pack sandals, flip flops, hiking shoes and/or sneakers for your visit to Costa Rica. If you are planning to go for dinner at fine restaurant or places which requires formal dressing then pack dress or formal shoes.
Do not wear fancy shoes during hiking or rainforest activities. Consider to carry good hiking shoes or at least running shoes to protect your feets. Especially when you are exploring forests in Costa Rica, you may encounter small lizards or snakes. Hiking shoes will protect you from all kinds of small creatures and unexpected encounters with snakes in rainforest. Not only that, walking trail in rainforest will be muddy and drenched due to continuous rain. Pair of hiking shoes
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Pack pair of flip flop for beach and pool activities.
For waterfall tours and whitewater rafting activities make sure to bring water shoes. They are very useful on slippery rocks and uneven surface of waterfalls. Here is the list of Water shoes.
Sunglasses are must to protect your eyes from strong sun strokes. Do not forget to wear summer hat to avoid strong sun heat.
If you are planning to go for a hike or explore rainforests then do not forget to carry mosquito spray. Otherwise, you will be lunch and dinner for mosquitoes 🙂 You may not like to carry full size bug spray bottles but consider to carry travel size spray bottles.
There are many good outdoor restaurants for dinner. You may encounter mosquitoes while having dinner in outdoor open space. These bug sprays and wipes come handy if you decide to go for dinner at one of those outdoor restaurants.
Costa Rica is blessed with natural beauty. If possible then carry good quality digital SLR Camera. I used my Nikon D3200 for capturing some excellent pictures in Costa Rica rainforests and mountains.
Get hydration backpack if you are planning to go for hour long hiking. It will come handy during hiking. I used my Outdoor Products mist hydration pack. It holds 2 liter of water – more than enough for hiking or rainforest activities. It has expandable stash mesh front pocket for easy access to carry protein bars or some small size things. It provides plenty of room to carry additional accessories.
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To protect your skin from sunburns, make sure to carry and use sunblock lotion and/or spray. Always use sunblock whether you are enjoying the beach or hanging out at the pool.
First Aid Kit
It is always good to carry portable medical kit with you anywhere you travel. I always carry first aid medical kit especially that one that comes in waterproof packing. Check out waterproof medical kit that meets your needs for Costa Rica trip. If you do not want to carry any medical kit then I recommend you to carry at least few bandages for safeside. Rainforests are wet and slippery so bandages may come handy during unexpected small accidents.
Try to carry cash with you. Keep single dollar bills as you will need them to tip at the resort or restaurants. What I have learned that at resorts and activities, workers rely on tip and tourism. Also, wherever possible, do not use credit card to avoid extra international transaction fee. Not only that, lot of businesses do not accept credit cards in Costa Rica.
If you are planning to visit Guanacaste region or any tourist region then you will not have hard time communicating in English. But, if you are planning to explore towns and rural area by yourself without a guide then you will definitely need a spanish dictionary. If you know spanish, you are perfectly fine otherwise you are in trouble. So make sure to carry spanish dictionary and if possible learn basic sentence to communicate with locals. I was surprised during my visit to Costa Rica that I didn’t have problem at Guanacaste region but I had tough time in San Jose. Yes, believe it or not, even if San Jose is metro city, people do not speak english as much as they speak in rural area of Guanacaste. Tourism in Guanacaste is driving english language in the region.
Here is the list of Spanish Dictionary for Costa Rica trip.
I hope my Costa Rica packing list guide will give you enough information to get started with your packing list for your next Costa Rica vacation. If you still have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave comment with your question in General Section of my travel forums.
Pura Vida – Costa Rica !