THE ULTIMATE COSTA RICA PACKING LIST

The Ultimate Costa Rica Packing List

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Time to start getting ready!  One of the most important things is to determine what you'll be taking with you for your journey. We've put together a clear and comprehensive packing list for you. This way, you'll be well-prepared and won't forget anything.

Climate and Travel Seasons

Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with consistently high temperatures throughout the year and minimal temperature variations. Costa Rica experiences a rainy season from mid/end of May to November. Even outside this period, it can rain, especially on the Caribbean side of the country, where there's a chance of heavy showers year-round.

Due to differences in altitude, some places in Costa Rica can be relatively cool. Clothing that you can layer is highly recommended, particularly if you plan to visit volcanoes and go hiking.

During a journey in Costa Rica, you'll definitely encounter rain and experience lower temperatures in high-altitude areas. Therefore, packing rain gear and layered clothing is always advisable for your trip.

Traveling with a suitcase or backpack

The first choice you have to make when you go on a trip is whether you opt for a suitcase or a backpack. There are advantages to both, and the best choice depends on your travel itinerary, the activities you'll be doing, but mostly on your personal preference.

The biggest advantage of a backpack compared to a suitcase is that you can carry it on your back. In Costa Rica, you won't always find good sidewalks and paved roads, especially when traveling to more remote places outside of major cities, so a backpack can be the obvious choice. On the other hand, traveling with a suitcase is much more comfortable. You don't have to carry a suitcase on your back, making it more relaxed for longer walks.

An important difference is that a suitcase is heavier than a backpack. With a suitcase, you quickly reach the maximum weight for checked baggage. A backpack can be packed heavier, but it often has less space than a suitcase.

A backpack offers a lot of flexibility, but in most places, you can travel just fine with a suitcase. For example, in locations with only unpaved roads, you can usually take a taxi. It may be challenging to move your suitcase only in places where there are no taxis and no paved roads. So, consider your route carefully and choose what's best for you.

We often travel with our Eastpak travel bags. These have all the benefits of a suitcase, but they are essentially wheeled bags. This results in a lower weight than a suitcase, allowing you to bring more.

Tips for Your Packing List

  • Don't pack too many clothes. While traveling in Costa Rica, you can easily and inexpensively have your clothes washed at your hostel, hotel, or at a laundry service found everywhere.
  • Avoid bringing thick sweaters or jackets, but pack clothing that can be layered for higher-altitude places where it can get cooler in the evenings.
  • Think carefully about whether you really need everything. For example, we recommend not bringing expensive watches or jewelry to Costa Rica.

General

  • Passport + copies
  • Visa
  • Credit card(s) (with sufficient monthly limit)
  • Debit card (worldwide)
  • Cash
  • Medical passport
  • Vaccination passport
  • Copies of important documents such as health insurance, travel insurance, emergency numbers, contact information for family/friends
  • Passport photos
  • Boarding pass
  • Backpack/Daypack
  • Rain cover (for backpack/daypack)

Tip: Withdrawing cash abroad using your local bank card or credit card can be expensive. When withdrawing in a different currency, you often face unfavorable exchange rates and additional transaction fees. Our solution is Wise. For a one-time fee of $9 USD, you can open an account and receive a VISA debit card. You can hold and convert money in more than 50 currencies, always at a favorable rate. Additionally, you can spend money in over 170 countries without any extra charges.

Toiletries

Electronics

Clothing

About the authors

How nice that you are on our website and that you have read this article! We are Mirte and Matthew, two Dutch adventurers with a passion for traveling, discovering cultures, and gaining new experiences. We've translated our love for the world into this website. We hope our articles inspire you to go on adventures! You can learn more about us through the button below.
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