Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

What To Pack For A Trip To Costa Rica


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ophelia Courtney



Costa Rica, with its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse ecosystems, is a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and immersion in nature. Whether you are planning a beach getaway, hiking expedition, or exploring the stunning rainforests, packing the right essentials is crucial.


With its tropical climate and varied landscapes, Costa Rica presents unique packing challenges. Your choice of clothing, footwear, and gear should cater to the country’s hot and humid conditions, as well as the potential for sudden rain showers and cooler temperatures in higher elevations. To make your trip to Costa Rica smooth and enjoyable, we’ve created a comprehensive packing guide to ensure you have everything you need.


Before delving into the specific items, remember to pack light and practical. While it’s tempting to bring your entire wardrobe, keep in mind that Costa Rica offers numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Choose versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, and prioritize comfort over fashion. Additionally, consider the activities you have planned and pack accordingly, but try not to overpack to avoid unnecessary hassle during your journey.


Now, let’s dive into the essential items you should pack for a trip to Costa Rica!


Essential Clothing Items

When it comes to clothing, packing wisely for Costa Rica means selecting comfortable and lightweight options that can handle the tropical climate. Here are some essential clothing items to include in your suitcase:

  1. Lightweight and breathable tops: Opt for cotton or linen shirts that allow proper airflow and help you stay cool in the tropical heat. T-shirts, tank tops, and loose-fitting blouses are all great choices.
  2. Lightweight pants and shorts: Pack a mix of long pants and shorts to suit different activities and weather conditions. Lightweight and quick-drying options like cargo pants or nylon shorts are perfect for exploring rainforests or going on hikes.
  3. Swimsuit cover-ups: If you plan on spending time at the beach or lounging by the pool, pack a lightweight cover-up or sarong to throw on over your swimsuit.
  4. Sunhat and sunglasses: Protect yourself from the scorching sun by bringing a wide-brimmed hat and a good pair of sunglasses. These accessories will not only shield you from harmful UV rays but also add a stylish touch to your outfits.
  5. Layers for unpredictable weather: Costa Rica’s weather can be unpredictable, especially in mountainous regions. It’s a good idea to pack a lightweight sweater or jacket for cooler evenings or higher elevations.
  6. Rain jacket or poncho: Don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket or poncho to combat sudden rain showers. Look for lightweight and breathable options that can easily be packed into your daypack.

Remember to choose clothing in neutral colors that can be easily mixed and matched. Stick to lightweight and moisture-wicking fabrics to stay comfortable and dry in the humid conditions. And don’t forget to pack enough undergarments and socks to last your entire trip.


With these essential clothing items, you’ll be well-prepared to explore the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica while staying comfortable and stylish.



Choosing the right footwear is crucial for any trip, and in Costa Rica, it’s no different. With its diverse terrain and outdoor activities, having appropriate footwear will ensure your comfort and safety. Here are the essential footwear items to pack for a trip to Costa Rica:

  1. Hiking Shoes/Boots: If you plan on exploring Costa Rica’s beautiful national parks and hiking trails, a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots is a must. Look for waterproof options with good traction to navigate through muddy and uneven terrains.
  2. Sandals: A comfortable pair of sandals is essential for beach visits and casual outings. Opt for sandals with adjustable straps and good arch support to keep your feet comfortable during long walks.
  3. Water Shoes: If you’re planning water activities like snorkeling, river tubing, or walking on rocky beaches, pack a pair of water shoes. These will protect your feet from sharp rocks or rough underwater surfaces.
  4. Flip Flops: Perfect for lounging by the pool or walking around your accommodation, flip flops offer convenience and breathability. Look for durable and comfortable options that provide good grip.

When choosing footwear, prioritize comfort and functionality over style. Make sure to break in new shoes before your trip to avoid any discomfort or blisters. It’s also a good idea to bring a few pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry throughout the day.


By packing these essential footwear items, you’ll be prepared for any adventure that Costa Rica has to offer, from hiking through rainforests to enjoying the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean.


Swimwear and Beach Essentials

Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, making swimwear and beach essentials a must-pack for your trip. Whether you’re planning to relax on the beach, try out water sports, or explore tropical marine life, here are the essential items to remember:

  1. Swimsuits: Pack a few swimsuits to ensure you have options for different activities and preferences. Whether you prefer bikinis, one-pieces, or swim trunks, choose comfortable and quick-drying materials for maximum enjoyment.
  2. Beach Towel: Don’t forget to bring a lightweight and quick-drying beach towel. Look for compact options that won’t take up too much space in your baggage. Alternatively, you can consider packing a microfiber towel, which is known for its quick-drying properties.
  3. Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential during your beach excursions. Pack a high SPF sunscreen and apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body. Choose a reef-safe sunscreen to protect the marine ecosystem.
  4. Beach Bag: A practical beach bag will come in handy for carrying all your beach essentials. Look for a bag that is water-resistant, spacious enough, and has multiple compartments to keep your belongings organized.
  5. Waterproof Phone Case: If you plan on taking your phone with you to capture memorable beach moments, consider investing in a waterproof phone case to keep it protected from water and sand.
  6. Sun Hat and Sunglasses: In addition to protecting your skin, it’s crucial to shield your eyes and face from the sun. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to stay comfortable and stylish.
  7. Insect Repellent: Keep pesky mosquitoes and insects at bay with a high-quality insect repellent. Look for a product that contains DEET or other recommended ingredients to ensure effectiveness.
  8. Snorkeling Gear: If you’re interested in exploring the underwater world of Costa Rica, consider packing your own snorkeling gear. However, if you prefer to travel light, many beach towns and tour operators offer snorkeling equipment rentals.

Remember to respect the environment and follow responsible tourism practices while enjoying the beaches of Costa Rica. Avoid taking any souvenirs or damaging coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems. Leave only footprints and cherish the natural beauty that this incredible country has to offer!


Outdoor Gear

Costa Rica is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of adventurous activities. To make the most of your outdoor experiences, be sure to pack the essential gear. Whether you’re planning to hike through lush rainforests, zip-line across canopy tops, or embark on thrilling water sports, here are some must-have outdoor gear items:

  1. Daypack: A lightweight and durable daypack is essential for carrying your belongings during day trips and outdoor adventures. Look for a pack with multiple compartments and adjustable straps for comfort.
  2. Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial in Costa Rica’s warm climate. Bring a reusable water bottle to minimize plastic waste and fill it up with purified water whenever possible.
  3. Sun Protection: In addition to sunscreen, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight long-sleeved shirts, and lightweight pants to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
  4. Bug Spray: Costa Rica is home to many insects, particularly in the rainforest areas. Carry a reliable bug spray with you to protect against mosquitoes and other biting insects.
  5. Binoculars: Enhance your wildlife spotting experiences by packing a pair of binoculars. Costa Rica is teeming with diverse bird species, monkeys, and other wildlife, so having binoculars can help you spot them from a distance.
  6. Headlamp or Flashlight: If you plan on exploring the rainforest or participating in night tours, a headlamp or flashlight is essential for navigating the trails and observing wildlife in low-light conditions.
  7. Portable Power Bank: Keep your electronic devices charged during your outdoor adventures with a portable power bank. This is especially useful for longer hikes or when electricity may not be readily available.
  8. Waterproof Dry Bag: Protect your belongings from water damage during water-based activities by using a waterproof dry bag. This will keep your valuables, such as your phone, wallet, and camera, safe and dry.
  9. First Aid Kit: It’s always advisable to carry a basic first aid kit that includes band-aids, antiseptic, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.

Remember, the specific outdoor gear you pack will depend on the activities you have planned. Research the necessary equipment for your chosen adventures to ensure you’re fully prepared and safe during your Costa Rican escapades.


Toiletries and Personal Care Items

Having the right toiletries and personal care items is essential for maintaining hygiene and staying refreshed during your trip to Costa Rica. Here are the must-have items to include in your toiletries kit:

  1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Oral hygiene is important, so be sure to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  2. Shampoo and Conditioner: A travel-sized shampoo and conditioner will keep your hair clean and nourished.
  3. Soap and Body Wash: Bring a bar of soap or body wash to stay fresh and clean after adventurous activities.
  4. Deodorant: Combat the tropical heat with a deodorant to stay fresh throughout the day.
  5. Moisturizer: Keep your skin hydrated by packing a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. The sun and humidity can be harsh, so choose a lightweight and non-greasy formula.
  6. Razor and Shaving Cream: If you prefer shaving, don’t forget to pack a razor and shaving cream.
  7. Feminine Hygiene Products: Ladies, pack an adequate supply of tampons or sanitary pads, as some areas may have limited availability.
  8. Sunscreen: As mentioned earlier, sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Pack a suitable sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
  9. Insect Repellent: In addition to protecting yourself from the sun, it’s important to guard against mosquito bites. Pack a reliable insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay.
  10. Prescription Medications: If you take any medications, ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
  11. Baby Wipes or Hand Sanitizer: These items are convenient for freshening up on-the-go or when access to water and soap is limited.

Remember to pack these toiletries in travel-sized containers to save space in your luggage. Additionally, consider any personal care items specific to your needs or preferences, such as contact lenses and solution, extra eyeglasses, or any skincare products you regularly use.


By preparing a well-stocked toiletries kit, you’ll be able to maintain cleanliness and personal care throughout your Costa Rican adventures.


Travel Documents and Money

When traveling to Costa Rica, it’s important to have your necessary travel documents and money organized and easily accessible. Here are the essential items to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey:

  1. Passport: Check the expiration date of your passport and ensure it will be valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Costa Rica. Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate location as a backup.
  2. Visa: Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Costa Rica. Research the visa requirements well in advance and make sure to obtain the necessary visa or travel documents before your trip.
  3. Flight Tickets: Print out or have electronic copies of your flight tickets for easy access during check-in or any airport security checks.
  4. Travel Insurance: It’s highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation, and loss or theft of belongings. Keep a copy of your policy and emergency contact numbers with you.
  5. Driver’s License: If you plan on driving in Costa Rica, have a valid driver’s license from your home country and an International Driving Permit (IDP) if needed.
  6. Credit Cards and Cash: Bring a mix of credit cards and cash for your expenses in Costa Rica. Major credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to have some local currency (Costa Rican colones) for smaller establishments and markets.
  7. ATM Card: Check with your bank to ensure your ATM card will work internationally and inform them about your travel plans to avoid any issues with accessing your funds.
  8. Travel Wallet or Organizer: Keep all your travel documents, such as your passport, flight tickets, and insurance papers, organized in a dedicated travel wallet or organizer for easy retrieval.
  9. Emergency Contact Information: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including the local embassy or consulate, your bank’s helpline, and your travel insurance provider.

Store your travel documents and money in a secure and waterproof pouch or wallet and keep it on your person or in a safe place at all times. It’s also a good idea to have digital copies of your important documents stored in a secure cloud storage platform or email them to yourself for easy access in case of loss or theft.


By ensuring that all your travel documents and money are in order, you’ll have peace of mind and be ready to embark on your Costa Rican adventure.


Electronics and Gadgets

When traveling to Costa Rica, you may want to bring along a few essential electronics and gadgets to enhance your experience and capture lasting memories. Here are some items to consider packing:

  1. Camera: Costa Rica’s stunning landscapes and incredible biodiversity provide ample opportunities for photography. Bring a camera to capture the beauty of the rainforests, wildlife, and vibrant sunsets. Whether you choose a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a high-quality smartphone, make sure to pack extra memory cards and batteries.
  2. Smartphone or Tablet: A smartphone or tablet can be a valuable tool during your trip. Use it for navigation, translation, capturing photos and videos, and staying connected with loved ones. Download useful travel apps, maps, and language translation apps before your trip.
  3. Universal Power Adapter: Costa Rica uses Type A and Type B electrical outlets. Ensure you have a universal power adapter to suit your electronics and keep them charged throughout your trip.
  4. Portable Charger: A portable charger or power bank is handy for charging your devices on-the-go, especially during long hikes or excursions where access to power outlets may be limited.
  5. Portable Speaker: If you enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or having impromptu beach parties, consider packing a portable speaker for entertainment on the go.
  6. E-Reader: If you’re an avid reader, an e-reader can be a convenient way to carry your favorite books without adding extra weight to your luggage.
  7. Headphones: Enjoy your music, podcasts, or in-flight entertainment in peace with a good pair of headphones or earphones. Noise-canceling headphones can be a great investment for long flights or noisy environments.
  8. Binoculars: If you’re a nature enthusiast, carrying a pair of binoculars can enhance your wildlife spotting experiences, allowing you to observe birds, monkeys, and other wildlife from a distance.
  9. GoPro or Action Camera: If you plan on engaging in adventurous activities like zip-lining, surfing, or snorkeling, consider bringing a GoPro or action camera to capture adrenaline-fueled moments.

Remember to pack your electronics securely, preferably in a padded bag or case, to avoid any damage during transit. It’s also a good idea to invest in travel insurance that covers your electronic devices in case of theft, loss, or damage.


By packing these essential electronics and gadgets, you’ll be prepared to capture unforgettable memories and stay connected during your Costa Rican adventure.


Medications and First Aid Kit

Ensuring you have a well-stocked first aid kit and necessary medications is crucial when traveling to Costa Rica. While you hope for a safe and healthy trip, it’s always wise to be prepared for any unexpected situations. Here are some essential items to include:

  1. Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply to last your entire trip. Pack them in their original containers with clear labels.
  2. Over-the-Counter Medications: It’s a good idea to pack a selection of over-the-counter medications for common ailments such as headaches, stomachaches, allergies, and motion sickness. Consider bringing pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines, and motion sickness medication.
  3. Personal Prescriptions: If you wear glasses or contact lenses, bring an extra pair in case of loss or damage. Additionally, pack any necessary contact lens solutions, lens cases, or spare eyeglass frames.
  4. First Aid Kit: It’s essential to have a basic first aid kit handy for minor injuries and emergencies. Your kit should include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, medical tape, tweezers, scissors, and any personal medications or supplies specific to your needs.
  5. Insect Repellent: As mentioned before, insect repellent is a must-have item to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects. Choose a repellent that contains DEET or other recommended ingredients for effectiveness.
  6. Sunburn Relief: If you spend a lot of time outdoors, sunburn can happen, even with proper sunscreen application. Pack aloe vera gel or an after-sun lotion to soothe and moisturize sun-exposed skin.
  7. Diarrhea Relief: Changes in diet and water can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal issues. Pack diarrhea relief medication, as well as oral rehydration solutions to stay hydrated in case of dehydration.
  8. Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to maintain hand hygiene, especially in situations where access to soap and water is limited. Wet wipes are also useful for quick clean-ups and refreshing during your adventures.

It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to discuss any specific health concerns or necessary vaccinations for Costa Rica. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history and travel plans.


Remember to keep your medications and first aid supplies easily accessible in your carry-on or daypack in case of emergencies. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques or enroll in a first aid course before your trip to Costa Rica.


By taking the necessary precautions and having a well-prepared first aid kit, you’ll be ready to handle any minor health issues that may arise during your Costa Rican journey.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essentials mentioned earlier, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your experience and make your trip to Costa Rica more comfortable. While they may not be critical, they can certainly add convenience and ease to your travels. Here are some miscellaneous items to consider packing:

  1. Travel Pillow: A travel pillow can provide much-needed comfort during long flights or bus rides. Look for an inflatable or compressible option that is easy to pack and adjust to your desired level of support.
  2. Travel Adapter: Electrical outlets in Costa Rica usually have Type A and Type B sockets. Make sure to pack a travel adapter to plug in your electronic devices and chargers.
  3. Hiking Guidebook or Maps: If you plan on exploring Costa Rica’s stunning hiking trails and national parks, consider carrying a guidebook or printed maps to help navigate the routes and provide valuable information about the flora, fauna, and landmarks.
  4. Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated and minimize plastic waste by bringing a reusable water bottle. Look for a durable and BPA-free option that is easy to refill on-the-go.
  5. Lip Balm and Moisturizing Cream: The combination of sun, wind, and humidity can lead to dry lips and skin. Pack a lip balm with SPF and a moisturizing cream to keep your skin hydrated.
  6. Travel Locks: Keep your belongings secure by packing travel locks for your luggage, daypack, and any other bags you may be carrying.
  7. Travel Umbrella or Rain Poncho: Although rain showers can be unpredictable, bringing a compact travel umbrella or a rain poncho can keep you dry during unexpected downpours.
  8. Reusable Shopping Bag: Reduce plastic waste and be eco-friendly by carrying a reusable shopping bag for groceries or souvenirs.
  9. Snacks and Water: It’s always wise to carry some non-perishable snacks and a bottle of water, especially when embarking on day trips or longer excursions where food options may be limited.
  10. Swiss Army Knife or Multi-tool: A versatile tool like a Swiss Army Knife or multi-tool can come in handy for various situations, such as cutting fruits, opening bottles, or minor repairs.

These miscellaneous items can add extra comfort, convenience, and flexibility to your Costa Rican adventure. They may not be essential for everyone, so choose according to your preferences and travel style.


Remember to pack these miscellaneous items along with your essential belongings, and you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic journey through the wonders of Costa Rica.