What to pack for Costa Rica

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Most Viewed What to Pack in Costa Rica

  • bruingirl's Profile Photo

    Keep it light and simple!

    by bruingirl Written May 5, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: I brought one, small carry-on rolling bag and a backpack. Oh, and a small purse.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pancho, just in case
    Hiking boots for the mountains
    TEVA sandals for the hiking trails in Manuel Antonio
    Flip flops for the beach towns
    Convertible pants are definitely useful
    Bathing suit
    Sports bra
    Quick dry towel
    Beach towel
    Hat/visor
    Small, lightweight, cotton sundress

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Mosquito repellent of 75% or more DEET (REI has this great stuff)
    Antiseptic for bites/cuts
    Sunscreen
    Purell antibacterial wash
    Shampoo/conditioner

    Photo Equipment: Camera with telezoom lens
    Regular digital camera
    Waterproof disposable camera

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Surfboard
    Rash guard

    Miscellaneous: Small tupperware container for fragile souvenirs
    Binoculars

    Binoculars are very handy!!
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo

    Less than you think

    by BEETLE_VERTE Updated May 4, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Backpacking is the best way to travel in Costa Rica. You won't find very funny to try to roll a big suitcase in the devastated roads. Also bring a smaller backpack for hiking. Waterproof if possible. Fanny pack (not too obvious).
    I made myself color sacks to seperate all my clothes (2 squares of fabric sown together and closed at the top with a string): one for the t-shirts, one for the undergarnments, one for the pants and shorts, ... Every thing was easier to identify, access and pack and it kept breathing if not completely dry. A must!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shorts and t-shirts, bathing suit, towel for the beach (a quick drying towel would be a must and I missed having one), long pant, long leaves sweater, fleece, 2 paires of shoes (as one will get wet for sure), sandals, rainjacket, hat. No need for up-scales clothes except if you really want it. Don't bring too much (I epurated my luggage twice and still didn't use all my clothes!!)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen (a bottle per couple per week), mosquito repellent (althought we didn't used it as much as we anticipated), headaches medicine (the sun is too hard!!! or maybe it's the Imperial...), first aid kit, laundry soap. Eye drop and complete contact lenses kit (the dry dusty air in Jaco, Fortuna and Monteverde got the best of me...). Anti-malaria drugs (Aralen) if visiting the east coast. Everything you use on a daily basis.

    Photo Equipment: Zoom lens to catch the birds and monkeys. Polarising filter for the ocean pics. Tripod if you can. Films and battery are somewhat expensive there.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Quick drying towel. Sandals. Hat. Bathing suit. Little swiss knife (most useful for cuting mango and avocado...!). We bought a long knife, like a bread knife, once there (2$ at the supermarket) and carry it throught out the trip to cut big fruits like melon and pineapple. Left it at the last hotel.

    Miscellaneous: Spanish dictionnary, map, guide book, note pad and pen, bird watching book, shades, Ziploc bags of all sizes and garbage bags, binocular, flashlight, alarm and/or wrist-watch.
    What we brought and didn't use: phrasebook.
    What we didn't brought and missed: quickdrying towel, calculator (currency conversion).
    Best items: color coded sacks for the backpack
    Not every hotels, restaurant and tour operator accept credit cards and not every hotels, restaurant and tour operator accept travelers. If you don't want to carry everything in cash, I strongly suggest to carefuly balance your budget between cash, traveler checks and credit card (visa most accepted but I didn't had problem with my MC).

    hiking gear: hat against sun/rain, shades, bag...!
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Budget Travel

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  • kyoub's Profile Photo

    Don't forget your bins

    by kyoub Written Mar 26, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Don't take your finest, take something that you don't mind getting wet or muddy.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Long pants,long sleeves, sun hat, walking shoes or boots are all a must..
    You better have a rain poncho handy also in case of an afternoon shower.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take plenty of insect repellant, the mosquitoes can be fierce in some places.
    Witch Hazel is good to ease the itching on the bites that you do get.

    Photo Equipment: Take plenty of film or a very large memory card.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Take what you will need because it won't be available once you are out of the city.

    Miscellaneous: You must take your binoculars or you will miss a lot of birds.

    Bird watching
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Birdwatching
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • hotrodgirl's Profile Photo

    Ponchos & Umbrellas a Must

    by hotrodgirl Written Mar 6, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Something long sleeved, and convertible pants that zip off. A jacket at night in the mountains. Ponchos for the rainforest

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bandaids, sunscreen

    Photo Equipment: Digital SD cards and memory sticks are hard to find, but availavble in the larger towns. Definitely bring a camera with a good zoom, or bring a wide angle lens.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Ponchos and umbrellas for the rain and cloud forests. We used them often! A cap came in handy as well.

    Miscellaneous: Mosquito repellent is a must, with a good content of DEET. Even with this on, we were bitten several times. Binoculars and a flashlight are helpful, and batteries.

    Don't forget the Ponchos

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  • frank_delargy's Profile Photo

    A headlamp, binoculars and convertible pants

    by frank_delargy Updated Jan 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Bring something that you can carry your important documents and money in at all times.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Get those pants that you remove the legs and they turn into shorts.. lots of pockets for carrying stuff.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring everything you might need. Although they have medicine here, it is not the familiar brands and you could have an adventure just getting Pepto Bismo or Tums..

    Photo Equipment: You can buy film almost anywhere, but memory cards for digital cameras were harder to find and not cheap... bring an extra because you will use what you have!! Bring an extra battery too!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Our headlamps.. those things that you wear on your head were great for finding poison dart Frogs and other creatures at night because when you wear them the reflection of their eyes comes right back at you,. You can even see little tiny spider eyes everywhere (this is true everywhere)

    Miscellaneous: Binoculars are a requirement if you want to get a better look at that sloth that people are pointing to.
    I also like to bring a little magnifying glass or loupe to look at very small things (like insects)
    Plastic zip bags for putting stuff into that you don't want to get damp. This is especially useful in the more humid areas.

    frog
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Photography

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  • zweiblumen's Profile Photo

    Take Everything!

    by zweiblumen Written Dec 1, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dress for tropical conditions, loose fitting clothing. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers will help guard against insect bites, if you can find clothing that is pre-impregnated with insect repellent that is even better.

    Take waterproofs because it will rain and it can rain a lot and for a long time.

    As I always suggest, sturdy footwear .. that you don't mind getting muddy.

    A sunhat is essential.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Strong sunblock because when it's not raining it's sunning (?!) and it can sun a lot :-)

    I would also advise taking precautions against malaria Chloroquine tablets are recommended but consult your doctor/pharmacist beforehand for up to date advice.

    Photo Equipment: A good zoom lens for those wildlife pictures, I recommend a maximum zoom of at least 200mm.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Waterproofs, umbrella (ideal for when you want to take photos when it's raining)

    It can get a bit damp underfoot
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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  • daffodil's Profile Photo

    Travellers Sickness Prevention

    by daffodil Written Aug 27, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: This is an important thing to bring, Cipro. It is an antibiotic prescription that you can get filled before you leave so you have it with you in the event that you get Travellers sickness. Travellers sickness can be caught at many Central American and Carribean destintions and is almost always caused by E. coli bacteria.
    Although we were staying at a resort, one of the people in our group got very ill with cramping and other unpleasantness. If she had brought Cipro with her this it wouldn't have ruined half of her vacation. You take it at the first sign of any trouble and it is just 3 daily pills. So simple and peace of mind!
    If you can't get Cipro, make sure to bring Imodium, it might not cure the infection, but it will help relieve sypmtoms.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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  • daffodil's Profile Photo

    Sunbock, SPF, Sunscreen!

    by daffodil Written Aug 26, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The climate varies widely from the coast to the mountains so it is good to bring clothes for hot sunny weather and cool wet weather if you plan on visiting both places.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: They were available at the resort, but they seemed much more expensive than back home, because they were priced in American dollars.

    Photo Equipment: Same as the toiletries, so bring lots of batteries for you digicam or lots of film for you 35 mm.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Yes you need a bikini, a full piece swim suit is too hot!

    Miscellaneous: SUNBLOCK!!! You need it! The sun is STRONG and it is hot so you want to strip your clothes off. My husband forgot to put it on his back and in less than 20 minutes at 9 am he had a second degree burn. I did see it at the resort, but it was small bottles for a lot of money, and you will go through a lot of it.

    Beach, sand, surf and sun!!
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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  • Howlee's Profile Photo

    For surfers

    by Howlee Written Jul 19, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: I brought a backpack. Easier to deal with.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It consisted of 2 pairs of surf trunks, t shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, I nice shirt, Sandals, Tennis shoes (for any tours you may take), surfwax, LOTS of sunblock, a long sleeved rashguard, a beach towel, extra leash, power bars, protien mix....thats all I can think of. I was there for about 12 days and only managed to use half my clothes. I was pretty much walking around in my surf trunks and a different/same shirt everyday.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: First aid kit, lighter, knife....bug spray....

    Photo Equipment: Definitely bring a Camera. At least 3 Megs for a digital....good zoom capability. Wildlife everywhere.

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  • lunabelle's Profile Photo

    try to pack light &smart

    by lunabelle Written Jul 4, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Rain poncho, comfortable shoes for hiking-make sure you pack more than sandals (I didn't) because the mud is slick and gets between your feet and shoes if they are open which does not lead to surefooting.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen and bug repellant. I always try to find environmentally friendly versions so I won't bring any harmful chemicals into the lush, pristine environment.

    Photo Equipment: I brought a camera that I wasn't too attached to. If you bring expensive equipment, bring Ziplock bags to keep them protected from the moisture.

    Miscellaneous: I didn't pack a hairdryer because I didn't want to be a prissy city girl. However, we went in the rainy season and our clothes would never dry and actually got a bit moldy. A kind women gave me hers when she left and it made all the difference!

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  • doogienj's Profile Photo

    You don't need a sweater

    by doogienj Written May 3, 2004

    Luggage and bags: I travelled with a duffel bags on wheels. It turned out to be a good choice as I did not care if it got a bit dirty and messed up. The canvas also made is expandable. I also had a 2,400CU backpacks as carry-on.

    For the day trips I had a small Patagonia packpack with a 2 liter water hydration pack.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Clothing that is fast drying. Ankle high hiking shoes, tennis shoes, rain jacket and pants. I brought a think sweater wich I never needed. Even in the higher altitude it never dropped below 70 degrees at night.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A small first aid kit (that I did not have to use), bug repellent that I did not have to use either (big surprise).

    Photo Equipment: Digital camera with 64MB memory card. You don't need an adapter if you are coming from the U.S.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Fast drying batching suits

    Miscellaneous: Pocket knife, I-POD, sunscreen, water proof watch, energy bars.

    By the Tabacon Hot Springs
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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  • It's a jungle, duh!!!

    by Suzanne70 Written Apr 25, 2004

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Not sure what I was thinking when I brought semi-nice clothes...anyway, if I had to do it over again, I would definitely keep it casual, we didn't need anything nicer than shorts and t-shirts the whole time. There is lots of hiking to be had, bring the right shoes!!! Also, because it was so hot and humid, prepare for several changes of clothes a day.

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  • Suzie3's Profile Photo

    Pack light

    by Suzie3 Written Apr 25, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: To keep my luggage weight down I use a soft, medium sized backpack. This year I had enough clothes to last me 4 weeks plus add in a huge bag of souveniers from Sarchi.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Lightweight and layers are the key. It does get cool up in the mountains and in the central valley so having a long sleeve shirt/light sweater/light jacket is a good idea. I have a lightweight rain jacket that also doubles as a regular jacket if I get cool. The rainforests and clouds forests are named that for a reason so having some kind of rain gear is a good idea. Those very cheap emergency ponchos don't take up much room but come in handy. Those zip off long pants/shorts come in handy also. Keep in mind that if you are planning any in country flights, there is a 25lb weight limit on both your regular luggage and carry on. Laundry services are plentiful.
    For shoes, I like the lighter all terrain hiking shoes rather than boots. They dry fairly quickly and don't weigh as much. Tevas and or a pair of flip flops should be all you need. Except for a limited number of places, Costa Rica is a very casual place so dressing up is not done much.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring small bottles of the things you really like, inparticular, shampoos etc and toss them as you use them to create souvenier room. Most everyday toiletries can be purchased down there but NAFTA has not reached CR yet so they will be more expensive. Do remember plenty of DEET, Sun Tan Lotion and your medicines.

    Photo Equipment: Bring your battery charger but also bring plenty of batteries as there are places that don't have outlets to plug things in. Again, bring plenty of film as it is more expensive down there.

    Miscellaneous: Flashlight. Costa Rica is 95% electrified but it is a developing country and the lights do go out. There are also some wonderful places to go that do not have full electricity. There is also the chance you might want to go on a night hike.

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  • GinGinCoo's Profile Photo

    Must Haves!

    by GinGinCoo Updated Apr 16, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking Shoes - some of those trails are bad... if its muddy you might want to rent one of those Rubber Boots

    Photo Equipment: Disposable Water Proof Cameras - for those snorkeling trips or waterfall encounters

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Snorkeling Gear - We didnt bring ours because of the weight limit on the domestic plane but we should've. You can also rent them there.

    Miscellaneous: Insect Repellant - Some trails have really nasty mosquitoes that will follow you wherever you go.. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... I'm still scratching my legs as I type right now

    Flashlight - We brought them because we know we were going to be on a Night Tour but it actually came in handy when there was a black out in Monteverde

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Pack lite and bring suntan lotion

    by gcmm Updated Mar 6, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Please don't over pack. We found that one big suit case and a carry on per person was all we needed.
    Remember that most small airlines will charge you per pound on anything over 25lbs
    per person.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Please bring lite clothing, it gets very hot here. Suntan lotion and glasses you will need. Bring light shoes and a pair of sneakers for any hiking or quading you may do. a lite coat or parka if your going to the cloud forest in Monteverde.
    What i found useful was a pair of sweat pants that have the zipper bottoms , so you can make them into shorts.
    Wear these on the plane going down if you are leaving from the cold and take off the bottoms on the plane. Than on your way back just reverse the process.
    They also come in handy in the cloud forest....

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Depending on were you are most places have the basics. I do recommend that you bring some anti-biotics just in case...
    Bring all your perscription medicin with you also..
    Also any personal items you may want,tooth brush etc.

    Photo Equipment: Please bring plenty of film..If you have a digital camera than make sure you have a large card 256 meg at least.
    We have a Canon A80 4 Megapixel and i had it set to the highest settings , it was able to take over 300 .pictures.
    If you plan on going to the cloud forest make sure your camera is water proof...
    Also bring extra batteries if you don't want to pay alot more.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a towel for the beach

    Miscellaneous: Bring a small mesh bag for carrying things, maybe a tupperware bowl with cover and cotton balls so you can pack sea shells,and other things that you find so they won't break on your trip home.
    Also please remember that you have a $26 departure tax to pay if it was not part your trip.
    Bring your own suntan lotion and lots of it, otherwise expect to pay alot.
    Also expect when you leave the main airport that some one will grab your bags to bring to your transport and expect to be paid.They will almost take it out of your hands. If you don't feel comfortable with this just tell them no..
    ****Also please remember your passport.This is very important and it must not be read expire within 90 days of youe departure, ex if your travel date is say march 1 2004 and your passport expire april 1 2004 , they might not let you on the plane (leaving usa etc to go to costa rica). This happened at Atlanta airport to one lady who was in shock about this, so please check and make sure so you will not have any problems...

    coast of Montezuma

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