The Amazing Costa Rica Packing List

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A good and well-summarized Costa Rica packing list is an indispensable tool to have. As the country is so varied and there are different sorts of climates and adventures, it’s important to go explore and learn it all here, in the Amazing Costa Rica Packing List. 

What should I take to Costa Rica? That is a question we hear often. And yes, it is better to ask or get the most accurate guide possible. And we have created the best and most concise Costa Rica packing list.

The question is: What should I pack for Costa Rica? And it can have as many answers as Costa Rica has climates. The country is amazingly diverse, and its size does not tell you anything about the tremendous differences that there can be within an hour’s distance.

 So, we instead see first your itinerary in our country to answer that. And depending on where you go, we will directly advise you on your Costa Rica packing list.

Or, you can also read this guide, making  it easier for you.

We have to think of two rules and three words:

The Rules:

  • “Be practical.”
  • “Use common sense.”

The words are elasticity, impermeability, and breathability.

First, let’s cover the essentials for a packing list for Costa Rica:

Button shirts

Think about lightweight, UPF protection, quick-drying, antimicrobial, and airflow venting openings.

With convertible sleeves, if possible.

These are great when you are thinking about a hike in any of our forests. Not as much for adventures like rafting, rappelling, or ziplining. So, it depends on what you are doing on your trip to bring two, four, or six of these.

T-Shirts:

Short and long sleeved ones. Some of the sportswear shirts are the best for a great Costa Rica vacation.

Our advice is to use neutral colors—not too bright. (Unless you will spend your whole vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Guanacaste.)

If you are planning to go hiking in any rainforest, bright colors may attract not only hummingbirds but also wasps and bees. They will make you more evident to birds and animals, reducing your possibilities of seeing them. 

Long pants:

The best are convertible pants, comfortable to dry, with UV protection and light. Make them light.

Leggings are a good idea too.

Jeans are not a good idea. They get soaked, and they are rigid and hard to dry, and when it is warm, they get scalding. Not a good idea.

Shorts:

In the case of girls, be careful with the length. For activities that require harnesses, like zip lining or waterfall rappeling, small shorts can make your day miserable. Same as horseback riding.

Socks:

Think disposable. Especially in the rainy season (And you don’t know for sure that in the sunny season there won’t be a pouring rain somewhere.)

At least two per day. There is not such a phrase as “too many socks for a Costa Rican vacation.” You get them muddy, soaked, sweaty, and, at least, very dusty.

And after carrying that stinking plastic bag to two or three hotels, you may want to throw it away.

Underwear:

Think about how easy it is to dry and how comfortable it is to wear. Waterproof, light underwear is the best. Again, think elasticity, impermeability, and breathability.

PJs:

Comfortable, light, and easy. Lodges in the rainforest frequently only have ceiling fans.

Remember that Costa Rica is highly seismical, and even if big earthquakes don’t happen every day, it’s important to have something in hand just in case.

Bandanas:

Always helpful in your bag. From cleaning your sunglasses to dipping them in water to ease the heat, Bring some and, if possible, bring one with you every day; never mind the activity.

Dry Bag:

You can purchase it in any adventure store, and sometimes even in a big supermarket. Get a small one that can fit your phone and electronic devices.

 A light jacket (or windbreaker):

Even in warmer places, it may feel chilly at times, especially if you’re on a boat or in an open car.

Sweater or warm jacket:

If you go to the mountain regions, it might get very chilly (in the Talamanca Mountain Range, the temperature may drop to the thirties).

Swimsuit (for women):

If you are going to be surfing, kayaking, rafting, or even rappelling down a waterfall, women will be more comfortable wearing sports swimsuits because you don’t want the straps to snag on anything.

 At the hotel, in the swimming pool, the tanning version should suffice.

For the guys, the usual shorts are good enough.

Raingear:

Get a poncho. A resistant and open poncho (not a plastic bag like one). If it’s big enough, it will cover all your belongings.

Forget about umbrellas in the forest.

Shoes:

Bring your hiking boots to the ankle, tennis shoes, and sandals (strapped are better).

A word on sandals:

There are plenty of adventure activities where you have to wear closed shoes or at least strapped sandals: rafting, ziplining, rappelling, and horseback riding, to name a few.

In some rainforests, sandals are unthinkable; besides the mud, there might be ants, spiders, and worms, and a small viper can have a chance with your toes.

In the case of long hair:

Bring plenty of ponytail holders as a first step. In some of the adventures, like zip-lining, they won’t let you do it if your hair is loose, as horrible accidents may happen if your hair is caught.

Repellent and sunscreen are a must.

 Repellent: being cream and spraying one. Especially in a rainforest environment, when hiking, you will use the cream after the morning shower, then spray it over the clothes.

When you’re already in the rainforest and want to add some more, you should apply the cream, not the spray, to protect the surrounding living creatures.

First Aid Kit:

First aid kits are available in the hotel receptions as well as on buses and by tour guides in Costa Rica. However, it is a good idea to bring your own kit with what you know you need. No one in Costa Rica will give you medicine easily. So, ask your doctor about the best items to bring for your needs. Think about stomach issues, allergies, headaches (due to sun and heat exposure), and anti-flu and pain relievers.

To wrap it up:

In the following posts, you will read about what to take depending on where you go. You know you will always count on the expert guidance of the Amazing Costa Rica team! Ask your team in Costa Rica what is best for your personalized itinerary!

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