Packing List

Everything you need to bring in your Luggage

With several different micro climates it can become difficult to pack for you trip to Costa Rica.

You can be on an extremely humid beach one day and then find yourself deep in a cool cloud forest the next.

You probably don’t want to travel with multiple suitcases, so we are here to help you pack everything you need as efficiently as possible.

costa rica packing list

Costa Rica Packing Tip

If possible, we like to travel with a large backpack rather than a suitcase while in Costa Rica. It just makes life easier if you are visiting multiple spots. 

Most accommodations don’t have elevators so it is much easier to get up and down stairs with a backpack.

Also, the sidewalks here are often horrible. You don’t want to be wheeling a suitcase and have a wheel pop off.

This is especially important if you are planning to backpack through Costa Rica and possibly visit more Central American countries. 

costa rica nicargua border

Costa Rica Packing tips by area

In the beach towns of Costa Rica it tends to be really hot during the day. It does usually cool off a bit at night, but not by much! 

We suggest packing very lightweight clothing for the beach. Keep in mind that the sun is super strong here. Try to avoid wearing things which will expose your skin too much! 

In Monteverde and San Gerardo de Dota (cloud forests) it is usually a bit chilly. You will want long pants, long sleeve shirts, and a sweatshirt. 

La Fortuna is usually warm, but sometimes it can get cooler during the rainy season. We suggest bringing at least one pair of pants and a sweatshirt for cool evenings.

If you are visiting the Central Valley area (San Jose, Alajuela, or Cartago) it is usually warm during the day but you will want long pants and a long sleeve shirt for the evenings. If you are staying at a higher elevation it can get a bit chilly.

For more info on packing by location we included weather tips in all of our destination guides. This will help you to plan better depending on when you are visiting. 

Packing for Women

– A bathing suit (obviously)

– Lightweight shorts

– A fast drying shirt

– A rain jacket during rainy season

– A good sun hat

– Lightweight dresses for dinner

Check out our complete Costa Rica packing list for women.

This includes a FREE printable packing list. 

Packing for men

– Swim Shorts

– A hat

– Sunglasses

– A fast drying shirt

– A rain jacket (during rainy season)

– Lightweight clothing

Check out our complete Costa Rica packing list for men.

This includes a FREE printable packing list. 

Packing TIP

Have you thought about what you will bring back home with you? In other words, do you plan on buying any souvenirs while in Costa Rica? 

One of our favorite places to buy souvenirs is actually at the grocery store. Everyone on our list loves coffee or chocolate and all grocery stores have plenty of authentic Costa Rica items.

Check out our guide to souvenirs in Costa Rica for more tips including the best place to buy items from local artists!

costa rica souvenirs

Packing by season

Costa Rica has a dry season (mid December until late April) and a rainy season (the rest of the year). 

The confusing thing is that this applies to the Pacific coast and the center of Costa Rica. The Caribbean coast has the opposite rainy season.

This is important to keep in mind while packing. Depending on the time of year, you may need rain gear.

You can find out more with our rainy season packing list.

Also, don’t forget that every destination guide on our site includes information about the weather by time of year.

Travel Tip

We definitely suggest purchasing travel insurance before you travel to Costa Rica. Not only does travel insurance protect you from things that can happen while in the country but it also protects you from travel day problems such as lost luggage. 

We have been through the whole lost luggage thing and having travel insurance that reimbursed us for lost items was such a blessing! 

You can read all about our travel insurance suggestions for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Gear we Love

There are a few essential gear items that we always pack while traveling in Costa Rica. This country is not cheap. When possible, it is always best to bring as much gear from home as possible. 

Here are a few of our must have gear items…..

-A micro fiber towel (nothing ever dries here because of the humidity. Micro fiber is fast drying and easy to pack)

– Bug spray (the mosquitos can be bad here and some do carry diseases such as Zika)

– Sun protection (the sun here is intense! Costa Rica is not that far from the Equator)

– A waterproof backpack (this is so helpful for the beach and during rainy season)

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