10 Items You Must Pack For Costa Rica
Whether you’re heading to the beach or venturing to the rainforest, there are certain things you should consider packing for your trip to Costa Rica! As an avid backpack only traveler I promise they won’t take up much room! But, they will improve your adventures and make it more comfortable!
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Costa Rica is in a tropical climate so bug spray is a must pack! We visited in January when mosquitos tend to be at a minimum but over the 10 days we were there I was bit twice by mosquitos despite my efforts. I love this little aerosol can of OFF and the mini cans provide the perfect amount needed for a vacation.
Plus, aerosols under 3.4 ounces are allowed in your carry on! However, Costa Rica regulations are different and I had it confiscated at the end of our trip trying to go through security at San Jose. At this point I didn’t care since it was almost empty anyway. Check out the travel size on Amazon HERE
You. Guys. I LOVE these things. I am that weird person that really doesn’t like water socks, water shoes, whatever you want to call them. But I love these! The bottom is the perfect material so you can walk on the beach or pavement and they’re super thin so they take up almost no space in my bag. For a backpack only traveler, this is huge.
When we were in Costa Rica I would put these on and walk from our hotel room, down the street, across the beach and straight into the water. I never had to fuss with sand between my toes. I never had to wonder if I was going to step on a rock or coral and I never had to worry if a person (or a monkey) was running away with my sandals. Check out all of the cool patterns they offer HERE!
Costa Rica is warm! You don’t need a heavy raincoat but it is nice to have something for the rain that can double as a base layer for those cooler nights. Monteverde is especially windy so I found myself using my rain coat a lot just as a windbreaker. I love having a rain coat like this one so you can pack it up into a pouch- so handy! Check out the prices on these cute coats that condense down for easy packing HERE!
Maybe you’re sweating in the hot sun. Maybe you’re getting rained on in the rainforest, or maybe you’re playing in and out of the ocean. One way or another you will be hot, sticky and sweaty because Costa Rica is humid! Having quick drying clothes is just common sense. This great top offers UV protection and while it is technically a rash guard, it has enough style to be worn like a normal top too. With its quick drying material you’ll be a lot more comfortable! I stumbled upon this great top on Amazon HERE.
I love little travel sized bottles of everything so when I found out they made travel size Febreze, I was sold! You do quite a lot of sweating in Costa Rica and Febreze will help keep your clothes, and you, feeling fresh. Your travel companions will thank you! Check out this great little travel size version HERE!
Most of Costa Rica, especially the more popular spots, will happily take U.S. currency. You don’t really need to bother with exchanging for local currency. If your bank hits you with a fee for withdrawing cash out of foreign ATMs then make sure you bring plenty of cash. We found a lot of the businesses didn’t openly advertise that they took credit cards and would offer you a discount if you used cash. Even our hotel offered a discount if we paid in cash and one place we stayed at took cash only!
7. Water Bottle
Costa Rica’s tap water is amazing! Do not waste your money on buying water. Every single hostel and hotel we stayed at had a fridge or access to a fridge so just bring a water bottle and refill it every night. Personally, I absolutely LOVE my hydroflask because it keeps water cold for hours! There is nothing like hanging at the beach and having easy access to ice cold water. Take a look at all the cool colors this water bottle comes in HERE!
There is no shortage of wildlife in Costa Rica. You will see monkeys, sloths, toucans, lizards, coatis, frogs, parrots and a bunch of animals you probably don’t even know the name of! Monkeys and sloths love to hang out high in the trees and your best view will be with binoculars. Guides in the parks often have spotting scopes and if you’re serious about getting up close photos of wildlife, this is also a great option. But, binoculars will take up less room in your bag! Check out this handy palm sized pair HERE.
Sunscreen is surprisingly expensive in Costa Rica! We grabbed a travel sized aerosol of 30 SPF before we left and we had plenty for both my husband and me for a little over a week. Surprisingly, despite our sunscreen being an aerosol can and it being in the same bag as my aerosol bug spray, it wasn’t confiscated. Check out this little TSA proof bottle HERE.
If you get car sick or motion sick at all, you should bring this! The roads in general are rough all over Costa Rica. But, if you are venturing up into the rainforest or any less well known locations, the roads are horrible! Almost every road surrounding Monteverde is gravel for miles. The road from La Fortuna to Monteverde is riddled with giant potholes causing you to brake and swerve unexpectedly. I’m not prone to motion sickness but even I found myself a bit nauseous at times. It doesn’t take up much room so even if you don’t need it, you won’t regret taking it!
Are you excited for your adventure to Costa Rica? Is there anything you’d add to this “must pack” list? If you’re ready to book your trip, check out our 8 Day Itinerary HERE!
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