When traveling to a different country, we always wonder what to pack and what not to. Though you can find most of the things in Costa Rica, why take the unnecessary trouble of having to look for an item when you can rather enjoy your trip?
Now, it is no secret that some people just HATE packing. If given a chance, they would rather have someone else do that for them. So let’s make the packing job easier for you.
Below, you will find a comprehensive list of items that are a must-bring, along with a list of good-to-haves, extras, and essentials for international tourists.
10 Absolute Essentials To Pack
Whether you are a Costa Rican taking a weekend trip or a tourist visiting Costa Rica from another country, below is a list of some essentials to pack in your bag.
This is a no-brainer that you always must carry sunscreen with you. Costa Rica lies near the equator so the sun is strong here.
Bring a minimum of SPF 30, and if you burn easily then SPF 50-70 is good. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before stepping out in the sun and reapply after every 3 hours.
- Sunglasses & Hat/Cap
It’s clear that the sun shines bright here in Costa Rica, so never forget your sunglasses and sun hat/cap at home.
- Hiking Boots or Sturdy Shoes
Costa Rica is not only about beaches. It is also home to a large number of national parks, waterfalls, and volcanoes. So, don’t forget to pack a pair of hiking boots or good sports shoes in addition to flip-flops (and not only flip-flops).
Costa Rica is full of beaches and waterfalls, so there are high chances you will end up taking a dip in the water. So always carry a pair of swimwear with you. JUST IN CASE!
- Beach Towel
A beach towel comes in handy in various situations. Whether you are admiring a view at a hillside, sitting near a waterfall, or find yourself in absence of beach chairs on a beach, a beach towel saves the day!
- Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitos are present all year round in Costa Rica, so it’s advisable to bring mosquito repellent with you. Coasts, national parks, and rainforests are the worst places for mosquitos, and you just cannot forget to apply one.
- Raincoat or Waterproof Jacket
Though Costa Rica has a wet season (May to December) and a dry season, we recommend always carrying a waterproof jacket or a poncho even if you are visiting in the dry season. It can rain at this time of the year too, especially if you are visiting rainforests and mountains.
- Waterproof Phone Pouch
These are really useful for light water activities like tubing and canyoning, or when you are taking a boat ride and have to brave the waves. These are also useful for hanging the phone around your neck when you are walking.
- Reusable Water Bottle
With the bright sun at most places and heat and humidity on the beaches, keeping water with you is an indispensable part of roaming around in Costa Rica. Mostly all national parks and tourist places here (with the exception of beaches) have water filling stations. So keep a reusable water bottle with you and fill it when you see a water station or simply ask the restaurant where you have your meals to fill it.
- Light Day Bag
Now how would you carry the above items with you if you don’t have a bag? It’s always better to carry a light day bag for storing those essential items. Well, the backpack doesn’t have to be a big or heavy one, it can be as small as 10 liters.
Essentials For An International Tourist (In addition to the above)
Now, if you are an international tourist visiting Costa Rica, you would have to keep some extra items in your mind. Don’t forget the above items though!
- Passport & Other Travel Documents: Carry all necessary documents needed during the travel
- Travel Insurance Proof: Never travel without insurance.
- Original Driver’s License: If you are planning to rent a car
- Medications: If you are on medication for a specific illness or disease
- Return Ticket: To show at the immigration. Printed or saved on your phone.
Packing in some extras never hurts, right?
- Binoculars: If you love watching wildlife and birds.
- Tampons: You don’t easily get tampons in Costa Rica. Better to carry some.
- Ear Plugs: If you are a light sleeper.
- Flashlights or Headlamps: For night tours, walking on dark streets, and times when there is no electricity.
- Portable Chargers: For times when you are out and your phone battery is about to die.
- Sarong: Good substitute for a towel, blanket, and beach cover.
- Water Shoes: Really useful for walking in water and on sharp rocks.
- Fast Dry Clothes: Useful for times when you sweat a lot or get wet.
- Dry Bag: To keep your valuables safe in the water.
- Umbrella: For protecting you from both sun and rain.
What Not To Pack
There are some items that you absolutely can leave at home. These are either too uncomfortable or invite unnecessary trouble.
- Expensive Items: Expensive laptops, tablets, watches, and other gadgets that you can do without.
- Jewelry: Rings, earrings, lockets, chains.
- Credit Cards: Carry only one credit card that you intend to use and maybe one as a backup.
- High Heels or Fancy Footwear: Most of the tourist places in Costa Rica require you to walk. So it’s better to ditch these uncomfortable footwear.
You are all set for your vacation in Costa Rica! And yes, don’t forget to leave some extra space in your bag for Costa Rican souvenirs.