When traveling to Costa Rica you most likely need a little of everything in your suitcase. We created this Costa Rica men’s packing list to help you organize the essentials.
The country is filled with over a dozen microclimates, which means tons of different weather! The beaches tend to be crazy hot and sticky and the mountains are cool and rainy.
Of course, Costa Rica also has a rainy season which is different depending on which coast you are on….Basically packing for Costa Rica means bringing a little of everything. Ugh!
But, have no fear! Here is a complete Costa Rica packing list for men to help you out.
Packing Tips by Area & Season
As I mentioned above, the weather can vary a lot depending on where you go in Costa Rica. It may be a small country but there are several different microclimates.
Packing for Beach Towns
In general, the weather in beach towns on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts tends to be hot and humid. You will very rarely need warm layers there.
Packing for the Mountains
In the mountains (La Fortuna, Monteverde, Alajuela, Cartago, San Gerardo de Dota etc.) the weather can be a bit cooler. It is good to bring pants and some layers for these areas. In Monteverde and San Gerardo, it is always best to be prepared for rain.
Rainy Season vs. Dry Season
Keep in mind that Costa Rica does have a rainy season. The rainy season on the Pacific coast tends to run from late April until mid-December. It is always a good idea to pack a rain jacket and some rainproofing items for this time.
Check out our rainy season packing list!
I know this is all a bit confusing. To help you out, check out our Destination Guides for each place you are visiting. Each guide contains a section on the weather by season. This will give you a much better idea of what to wear in Costa Rica for the specific places you might be visiting.
Now on to the full packing list!
Clothing on the Costa Rica Packing List
We suggest packing something sporty for swimming, snorkeling, surfing etc. It is best to bring at least two pairs of shorts so you always have a dry pair.
By “dry shirt” we mean a shirt that is made for water. We suggest at least one short sleeve and one long sleeve version of this shirt. It is best to wear this while in the water to protect yourself from the strong sun.
Short Sleeve Shirts
We suggest a few t-shirt’s for everyday usage, a lightweight moisture-wicking shirt for hiking, and something like a polo or button-up for dinners out.
Long Sleeve Shirt
It can get cool in the evening sometimes. We suggest something button-up that you can just throw over a t-shirt.
You will most likely mostly wear shorts while here. We suggest bringing stuff that doesn’t wrinkle easily and dries fast.
One pair of pants is usually a good idea. Usually, something that can be worn for hiking is the best option.
This applies if traveling during the rainy season or if visiting a cloud forest destination like Monteverde or San Gerardo de Dota.
Bring a few extra pairs than you think you will need. It’s best to be prepared if things get wet.
Bring a few extra pairs than you think you’ll need.
Shoes for Costa Rica
We suggest flip-flops with a stable soles (the sidewalks here are not always in the best condition). It’s best to avoid anything leather and instead go with something that can get wet and dries easily. We like Teva a lot but suggest sizing up.
We love the brand Keen for shoes that you can hike in and also walk through water in.
Unless you plan on doing some strenuous trails, you most likely don’t need hiking boots in Costa Rica. Usually, sneakers will be just fine. I know you don’t want like 5 pairs of shoes in your luggage.
Accessories to Pack
We have learned the hard way that glasses can get lost easily here. From boat rides to wearing your sunglasses into the ocean, you just never know. Having a glasses strap is one of our must-haves now.
It’s Costa Rica, you need sunglasses. Nothing more to say on that one. 🙂
Because the sun is so powerful it is a good idea to have some head protection. We like either a lightweight ball cap (this one from Nike is great) or a fishing-style hat that provides full coverage.
Packing / Bags
Suitcase vs. Backpack
We usually suggest packing your stuff in a large camping-style backpack instead of a suitcase. The reason for this is, it is not unusual for accommodations to be up several stares and for towns to have really bad sidewalks. If you are traveling to multiple spots, this will just be easier.
If you are staying in one spot or are doing a resort-style vacation, a suitcase will be fine.
We recently switched from carrying a normal day pack when hiking to a nice dry bag, and it has made a world of difference. Things just always get wet here.
During the rainy season you never know when the rain will start and all year round you need to watch out for your stuff getting wet on boats or on the beach, So, a dry bag as your main day bag is the way to go.
This isn’t really a “must have” item, but if you are walking around it is safer to keep your money hidden rather than in your wallet in your pocket.
Again, not a must-have, but this can be nice to carry a few things in if walking around the downtown areas of towns or while out to dinner.
Clear Toiletry Bags
We like these clear toiletry bags for travel days. They are TSA-approved, so you can put all your small travel toiletries in it in your carry-on.
Packing cubes aren’t a total necessity, but I like them for when we will be staying at multiple hotels and we don’t want to completely unpack every few days. They make it easy to have all your stuff organized.
Ziplocks / Plastic Bags
We like to bring some large ziplock bags with us when we travel. They are great for separating wet clothes or using them to store food if you will be traveling to multiple destinations.
Gear for Costa Rica
The sun sets here between 5:30 and 6pm all year round. So, if you plan to go out in the evening it can be helpful to have a headlamp or flashlight.
First Aid Kit
You will be traveling in a foreign country and you never know what can happen. We like a travel first aid kit for any minor injuries.
We like pocket binoculars to easily travel with for spotting wildlife high up in trees.
You can always buy sunblock in Costa Rica, but if you plan to check a bag, why not bring some with you? We suggest SPF 50+ and something that is waterproof.
When the sun sets in the evening the mosquitos can be really nasty. Definitely load up on bug spray. Oh, and don’t forget to bring it with you if you plan to go out to dinner and sit outside!
A lot of hotels provide towels but specifically ask that you do not use them for the beach. The exception to this is at most resorts. They usually have beach towels for you.
Anyway, we like microfiber beach towels because they roll up small to fit in your luggage and they dry quickly.
Having a refillable water bottle is always helpful. The tap water is OK to drink in most towns, but we suggest just buying a gallon jug at the grocery store instead. You can then refill your bottle as you need. You never know how you will react to the water here.
We like Lifestraw because it filters out all sorts of bacteria if you do choose to drink the sink water.
You will most likely be doing a lot of hiking while in Costa Rica and might be wearing shoes you don’t wear very often. We love these blister bandaids that feel like a second skin. They help out a lot when you have a bad blister and don’t want to be stuck in your hotel.
Our Tips for Packing for Costa Rica
– If you need to get your clothes washed there are laundromats located all over the country.
– Definitely copy your passport before coming to Costa Rica and store it in a separate place. I also suggest emailing a copy to yourself. If you lose your passport having a copy makes it much easier to get a temporary one.
– If you want to stay connected with your cell phone you can check what the rates would be from your regular cell phone provider. The other option is to get a SIM card at the airport in San Jose. We have a full post about using your cell phone here.
– We created an Amazon storefront with packing lists for every area in Costa Rica if you need more detailed lists.
– The grocery stores in Costa Rica have everything you might need. If you are planning to travel only with a carry-on, have no fear! You can buy travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, etc at all larger grocery stores.
– Don’t forget to save space for souvenirs! We have a complete souvenir guide to help you out with that.
-Costa Rica’s voltage is the same as the US’s. In other words, if you are traveling from North America you do not need a special adapter for Costa Rica power outlets.
– If you would like a Costa Rica packing list for women, head on over here.
– Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before heading here. You never know what could happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Printable Costa Rica Packing List
We created a complete Costa Rica planning ebook for you for FREE! Inside there is a printable packing list to make your travel organization easier. Just print it out, write in what you think you need, and check each item off as you pack. Enjoy!
*note that this will also sign you up for our email list filled with great Costa Rica travel tips*
If you have any questions about Costa Rica packing please leave them in the comment section below and we’ll help you out.