Our departure date for Costa Rica is coming up quickly, in March to be exact, and we're so excited to be heading back. One of the most stressful parts of traveling is packing, and especially if it's your first time heading somewhere you might not not know what to pack. Worry not, we've got your back! We've put together a short list of must-haves if you're traveling to Costa Rica for the first time (or any time), that we've noticed are great to have.
1. Water-Proof Adventure Shoes
Obviously you'll want a good pair of flip flops with you while you leisurely walk around, but if you're planning on doing any sort of waterfall hikes you'll definitely want a pair of adventure shoes, as we call them. Our favourite brand that most of our responders wear are TEVA, they have tons of great options in various colours to satisfy everyones needs!
Their HURRICANE XLT2 are a must-have to all of your hiking adventures!
2. Water-Resistant Jacket
Depending on what time of the year you're planning on traveling to Costa Rica in, it can be quite rainy. Although most of the time you'll just get some sprinkles of rain throughout the day, followed by sunlight, it's best to bring some sort of water-resistant jacket to ensure you aren't caught off-guard if you get stuck with a rainy cloud.
3. Local Currency
This one may go without saying, but taking out some local cash before you fly in, or at the airport, is the best way to navigate around the country. Although most tourist places may accept cards and USD, it's always best to carry the local currency with you to help support the local economy. In smaller towns they may not have machines and will only accept Colóns, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Fun fact: The Colón consists of bright, colourful bills that depict some of Costa Rica's most beautiful animals - sharks, monkeys, sloths, and butterflies.
4. Long-Sleeve, Cotton Shirt
If you're heading to Costa Rica with us, you'll be taken on an amazing surf lesson, which means you'll need a long-sleeve shirt that will prevent rashes and sun-burn. Even if you don't plan on surfing, it's good to bring one for hiking, walking around, and tanning, especially if you are sensitive to sunlight. The sun in Costa Rica can be very intense, since it's so close to the equator, so it's best to bring something to keep you out of the sun, especially on days with a high Sun Index. The typical Sun Index in Costa Rica is between 9-11.
5. Insect Protection - Repellent and Clothing
During the rainy season you'll be attacked by mosquitos, though in certain areas of Costa Rica, they can be quite brutal all year round, so it's smart to bring some insect protection with you no matter what. Bringing some light-weight pants and long-sleeve shirts for the night time, when the insects are especially present is a great first step in keeping yourself protect - we'll admit, we came back with quite a few itchy bites, so their mosquitos are no joke!
In addition to clothing, make sure you pack some sort of insect repellent for mosquitos and anything else that may be lurking about. Since you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors (most restaurants are open air, including our lodge), we recommend spraying yourself, especially your legs, before you head out and bringing it with you to double up as the night goes on. If you're looking for more natural options, deTERRA makes a great all-natural spray that combines Lemongrass, Thyme, Cedarwood, Geranium, and Peppermint.
Something that's on our packing list for any sunny destination is at least one beach towel and a sarong. Unless you're planning on staying at a hotel you'll most likely have to just find some open space on the beach to lay on so having a beach towel will make that experience a lot more comfortable. Sarong's are great if you're spending the day on the beach and want to walk around to explore, especially places like Santa Teresa.
7. First-Aid Kit
It's smart to have a small first-aid kit with you, especially if you're planning on surfing or hiking. It should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Save $100 off your first trip.
Your weekly dose of good travel.
Tips for exploring in a way that makes you (and the planet) feel nice, good travel gear + incredible human stories.