Packing for Costa Rica is not always the easiest. You’re dealing with a variety of microclimates here. Get ready for the rainforest, cloud forests, beaches, and different rainy seasons depending on where you are traveling.
Ugh! For such a small country, it sure doesn’t make it easy!
Here is our list of must-have gear for Costa Rica which we think all travelers will benefit from bringing.
We have a GoPro which is a few years old and we absolutely love it for Costa Rica adventures. Our GoPro is an older model so we had to buy a waterproof case, but the HERO 5 is waterproof up to 33 feet deep. Yeay!
We love the GoPro to film adventure activities such as ziplining or for capturing all the cool underwater life when we go snorkeling or diving.
It is not a “must have” but it is useful if you want to capture a lot of adventure.
Ankar Power Box
I like having power bozes when traveling so I never have to worry about my phone dying. The Ankar power box can fully charge most phones in about 30 minutes.
Lifestraw Water Bottle
The tap water is ok to drink in most towns in Costa Rica, but we always prefer to buy bottled water just in case.
Usually we just buy a gallon jug and refill our bottles as we need.
I’m a big fan of Lifestraw because their filtration system blocks all sorts of bacteria. So, if you do need to drink the sink water you should be fine when using this bottle.
If you are staying at a resort we suggest packing your luggage in a hard shell suitcase. Otherwise, we always prefer a camping style backpack.
It is not unusal in Costa Rica to have hotels or VRBO’s on hills with parking below. It is always easier to transport your stuff up on your back rather than carrying a suitcase. Also, a lot of roads aren’t paved or the sidewalks are less than ideal.
For day packs, we usually opt for a waterproof bag, especially during rainy season.
If you would like something lighter, I love backpacks that fold up in small pouches.
For a purse, I usually use my Longchamp bag. Things get dirty here and having something that can easily be wiped off is always helpful.
If you are staying at resort and want a beach bag we suggest something that is water resistant.
One of the many reasons you probably want to visit Costa Rica is for the wildlife. We love searching the trees for sloths and monkeys.
Pocket binoculars are great because they take up very little space in your luggage and will help you get a closer view of those hard to spot creatures.
We recently bought microfiber towels after having several friends here rave about them. Honestly, I don’t know how we didn’t buy them earlier. The material is a little strange to dry off with at first, but you get used to it.
The really great thing about microfiber towels is that they dry fast. Costa Rica is a country where once something gets wet it never seems to dry. The humidity can be a bit much here at times. If you leave your microfiber towel in the sun it will be fine to use not much later.
We feel pretty safe in Costa Rica but we think it’s always best to be a bit cautious especially if you are in busy areas. A money belt is not absolutely necessary, but some way o keeping your money hidden and secure is a good idea..
The sun sets at about 6pm all year round. That meands that you might have several waking hours in the evening oin which it is dark out. Having a headlamp or flashlight is so helpful when walking around at night.
First Aid Kit
You never know what minor medical issues you may face while traveling in a foreign country.
We recently bought one of these travel first aid kits and it has been so helpful. So far we have used it for splinters, cuts, and scrapes.
Hydroseal Blister Bandaids
These blister bandaids are a game changes for foot blisters. I don’t know about you, but I notoriously wear new shoes on vacations and then immediately regret that decision after a long day of walking.
These bandaids will save you from being stuck at your hotel while the rest of your group explores new things.
If you love to read while relaxing by the beach or pool, having a Kindle is always great.
I resisted purchasding one for years, and now I can’t imagine why. This thing is great!
The downside of bringing it on vacation is that you need to watch out for it and not leave it sitting on the beach while you are in the water. With a regular book you most likely don’t have to worry about anyone stealing it.
We love having a glasses strap in Costa Rica because you are most likely going to do a ton of adventure such as boat rides, zip lining etc. This strap will keep you from losing your glasses or sunglasses.
And, trust me, I have experience with the sheer panic of losing my glasses when a big wave hit me once while I was standing in the ocean. Somehow Thomas found my glasses, but I was in oure panic mode for a few minutes.