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Luggage-for-Costa-Rica

What to pack for Costa Rica? That is a question we hear often. And yes, it is better to ask or to get the most accurate guide possible. And we have created one.

 

What to pack for Costa Rica? 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 distance.

 

So, we instead see first your itinerary in our country to answer that.

Or! you can also read this guide.

 

So, we decided to make it easier on you creating a post involving regions and preferable clothes to wear or articles to bring for the different spots.

Two rules and three words:

The Rules:

“Be practical.”

“Use common sense.”

The words:

elasticity, impermeability, breathability.

 

Let’s first address the Costa Rica packing list basics:

 

4-6 Button Shirts

What to pack for Costa Rica? A link to the Columbia Store online
What to pack for Costa Rica? A link to the Columbia Store online

Think about lightweight, UPF protection, quick-drying, antimicrobial, with 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 are you doing on your trip to bring two, four or six of these.

 

 

4-5 T-Shirts:

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

Our advise it 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 hummingbirds, but also wasps and bees. As they will make you more evident to birds and animals, reducing your possibilities of seeing them.

 

 

1-2 Long pants:

What to pack for Costa Rica?

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 is warm they get to be scalding. Not a good idea.

 

2-3 Pairs of 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 in two or three hotels, you may want to throw it away.

 

Underwear:

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

 

PJs:

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

If you are into sleeping commando, that is all right! However, a word of precaution for an emergency, if you must go out of your hotel room, better have something on. Remember that in Costa Rica there are earthquakes, and even if they do not happen every day or often enough to be concerned, but better have something on if it happens.

 

Light Jacket or Windbreaker:

What to pack for Costa Rica? A light jacket or sweater is important to bring (Link to Amazon)
What to pack for Costa Rica? A light jacket or sweater is important to bring (Link to Amazon)

 

Even in warmer areas, it might get chilly now and then, especially when you are on a boat or in an open vehicle.

Sweater or Jacket:

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

 

2-3 bandanas:

What to pack for Costa Rica?

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

 

Dry Bag:

What to pack for Costa Rica? Dry Bags (ALink to Amazon Store)
What to pack for Costa Rica? Dry Bags (A link to Amazon Store)

 

Depending on where you go or what you do, having a dry bag for the camera, the cell phone or electronic device is convenient.

 

Swimsuit:

What to pack for Costa Rica? A special swimsuit for adventures (Link to Amazon)

 

For girls, preferably a comfy sports swimsuit if you are doing rafting, kayaking, waterfall rappelling or even surfing, you don’t want the straps to be moving around.

For the swimming pool at your beach resort, the tanning version its, of course, a pleasure to wear.

For the guys, the usual should work.

Raingear:

Try to get a poncho. Something that would allow you to cover your belongings.

Shoes:

What to pack for Costa Rica (Link to Amazon)
(Link to Amazon)

Bring is possible hiking boots to the ankle. At least tennis shoes. And sandals, strapped if possible.

There are plenty of adventure activities where you have to wear closed shoes or at least strapped sandals: Rafting, Ziplining, Rappelling, Horseback Riding to name a few.

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

In case of long hair:

The first thing is to bring enough ponytail holders. In some of the adventures, like zip-lining, they won’t let you do it if your hair is loose.

 

Repellent and Sunscreen are a must.

 

Repellent:

What to pack for Costa Rica?

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

When you are already in the rainforest, and you want to put some more. You will want to use the cream, not to be diffusing the repellent over the ecosystem.

First Aid Kit:

A positive thing in Costa Rica is that tour guides, and usually, tour buses and hotels have first aid kits. By law.

But! Bring your own!

You will never find a pill in anyone aid-kit in Costa Rica. So, please see your doctor, think about possible headaches (Due to the sun exposure), stomach disturbances (Even if all water in Costa Rica -unless advised- is drinkable, your intestinal flora might not be ready for it), allergies and painkillers. Think also about any anti-flu possibilities.

Sometimes the radical weather changes of Costa Rica have consequences for some people.

Now what to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to San Jose:

San Jose is about 4000 ft (1000 meters) above sea level. Due to this, it may get chilly sometimes.

March and April: Bright and hot

May to October: it may rain in the afternoons.

December, January and occasionally February, it’s sunny it may be fresh and windy (Whenever there is a North front) or hot and bright.

  • Light jacket.
  • If you are walking around San José: Closed shoes
  • Long pants might also be a good idea, not a must unless you go to the National Theater or similar place.
  • Something dressy if you are considering to dine out or a night tour.

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the Caribbean Coast:

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the Caribbean

 

The Caribbean Coast is split into two main areas to visit: the zone of Tortuguero National Park in the North and the South Caribbean, call it Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo.

The rainy season goes from May to late August or early September, and then again from November to February.

January and February are wet in this area (these months may be sunny once in a while).

If you visit the Caribbean make sure you bring fresh clothes, shorts, a short skirt, sleeveless shirts (use lots of repellents).

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to Tortuguero:

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to Costa Rica?
Tortuguero

There are two types of tours, Either boat or hikes. The boat tours don’t require anything except a decent rain poncho, and the right shoes for hiking.

  • Fresh Clothes
  • A rain cape is handy at Tortuguero.
  • Long or convertible pants
  • Waterproof boots.
  • Swimsuit
  • Camera
  • Dry Bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars

If you travel in the turtle season (July to September) to bring dark clothes like black, blue or brown are mandatory to wear for the turtle nesting tour.

 

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the South Caribbean

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the South Caribbean

Typical activities are hikes, snorkeling, volunteering, and there are some great walks to the indigenous reserves.

You may require:

  • Convertible Pants
  • Fresh Clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain Poncho
  • Tennis Shoes (For lighter hikes or bike rides)
  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Bandana
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars

 

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the North Area

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the North Region

Most popular activities are rainforest hikes, horseback rides, boat trips. Paths might be muddy at times.

If you visit Arenal Volcano, Sarapiqui, Rio Celeste, Tenorio, Bijagua, Pital, Boca Tapada, there are specific items that will help you, such as:

  • Convertible Pants
  • Fresh Clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain Cape
  • Tennis Shoes
  • Swimsuit (For Hot Springs, if in Arenal)
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Camera
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars
  • A pair of long pants for horseback rides.

 

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to Los Santos region:

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going into the high mountains

Savegre, Santa María De Dota, San Gerardo de Rivas.

You may require:

  • Long pants
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Sweater or jacket
  • Hiking Boots
  • Rain Gear or Poncho
  • Binoculars

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to Perez Zeledon

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to Perez Zeledon and surroundings?

Hacienda Altagracia, and places like Pejibaye, Terbi, Los Cusingos, and even Nauyaca Waterfalls and Dominical Beach area.

You may require:

Convertible Pants

  • Fresh Clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain Cape
  • Tennis Shoes
  • Swimsuit (For Hot Springs, if in Arenal)
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Camera
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars
  • A pair of long pants for horseback rides.
  • If in Altagracia some more formal clothes are appreciated.

 

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the North Pacific

What to pack if you are going to the North Pacific?

Monteverde:

  • Sweater or jacket
  • Hiking Boots
  • Long or convertible pants
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Rain Gear or Poncho
  • Binoculars

 

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the North Pacific Mountains

What to pack if you are going to the North Pacific Mountains?

Rincon de la Vieja, Bagaces, Tenorio, Miravalles:

  • Convertible Pants
  • Fresh Clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Tennis Shoes (For lighter hikes or bike rides)
  • Swimsuit (For Hot Springs, if in Rincon de la Vieja or Bagaces)
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Bandana
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the North Pacific Beaches

What to pack if you are going to the North Pacific beaches?

The Nicoya Peninsula is the sunniest and driest area of Costa Rica.

In various of the hotels in the Nicoya Peninsula, there are very nice restaurants that require to be well dressed.

  • Swimsuit
  • Sandals
  • Dressy sandals
  • Water shoes
  • Shorts
  • Short skirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Flip-flops
  • Pareos
  • Casual Dressy Clothes: Pants, dress, shoes, etc.

What to pack for Costa Rica if you are going to the South Pacific Beaches

What to pack if you are going to the South Pacific?

Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Corcovado, Jimenez, Golfo Dulce, etc.

Like the South Caribbean, it’s hot, humid and abundant of the rainforest.

The tours around the area are usually hikes, snorkeling, volunteering, as well as zip-lining tours, rafting, etc.

You may require:

  • Convertible Pants
  • Fresh Clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Tennis Shoes (For lighter hikes or bike rides)
  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts
  • Bandana
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars

 

 

 

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