What Do I Need to Pack for a Trip to Costa Rica?

Whatever kind of vacation you’re planning in Costa Rica, it’s essential to pack wisely for the most seamless and enjoyable experience possible. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all packing list perfect for everyone, but there are some broad guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re ready for adventure, relaxation, and everything in between.

When it comes to the adrenaline-pumping side of your vacation, look no further than our exhilarating canyoning and waterfall experiences from Jaco and our wider range of thrilling Jaco adventure activities. The Costa Rica Waterfall Tours team is always happy to help, so please contact us if you have any questions about our excursions — including what to wear!

For now, though, let’s take a look at what you need to pack for a trip to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Packing List: Clothing Essentials

When it comes to clothing, think lightweight and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable in Costa Rica’s warm and humid climate. Here’s what you should consider packing:

  • Quick-dry clothing: When you join our waterfall tours and canyoning adventures, you will get wet, so opt for moisture-wicking shirts and shorts that dry quickly. Your clothes will be ready for another adventure in no time! The same logic applies to any clothes you may need to wash. Clothes that dry quickly are an absolute must.
  • Swimwear: Don’t forget your swimsuit for cooling off in pristine waterfall pools or lounging on the beautiful beaches.
  • Hiking shoes: Sturdy, closed-toe shoes with good traction are a must for exploring Costa Rica’s rugged terrain. Sneakers or hiking sandals are also suitable for lighter trails.
  • Rain gear: Be prepared for sporadic rain showers with a lightweight rain jacket or poncho. A small umbrella can also come in handy. Rain gear is even more important if you’re traveling during the rainy season.

If you plan to spend time in San José or other large cities, visiting respected institutions, or eating at more formal restaurants, you should wear standard, lightweight city wear such as linen shirts, shorts, and long, flowy dresses. Just remember, comfort is key!

Read our blog When is the Best Time to Travel to Costa Rica? for local insights and advice about what conditions you can expect throughout the year.

Costa Rica Packing Essentials: Sun Protection

With its proximity to the equator, Costa Rica experiences strong sun rays year-round. Protect yourself from sunburn and heat exhaustion with these essentials:

  • Sunscreen: Pack a high-SPF sunscreen and reapply regularly, especially if you’ll be spending extended periods outdoors. Consider a minimum of SPF 30, or SPF 50 to 70 if you burn easily. And don’t forget aftersun care too! If you’re planning to spend time in the ocean, make sure your sunscreen is reef-safe.
  • Hat and sunglasses: Shield your face and eyes from the sun’s glare with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Lightweight clothing: Long-sleeved shirts and pants made from breathable fabrics offer additional protection from the sun.

There are so many incredible things to do in Costa Rica for outdoor lovers, so don’t let the effects of sunburn and heat exhaustion ruin a trip that you’ve been looking forward to. When you’re protected, you’re far less likely to miss out on unforgettable experiences and adventures.

Costa Rica Packing List: Insect Repellent

While Costa Rica is home to abundant wildlife and lush vegetation, it’s also home to mosquitoes and other biting insects. Ward off pesky bugs with a reliable insect repellent containing DEET or a natural alternative like citronella oil. If you have a preferred brand that works for you, be sure you buy it at home and bring it with you as you may not be able to find it here.

Think Carefully About Medications and First Aid

Be prepared for minor ailments and injuries with a basic first aid kit containing:

  • Pain relievers: Pack over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for headaches or muscle soreness.
  • Antihistamines: Allergy medication can provide relief from insect bites or allergic reactions.
  • Bandages and antiseptic wipes: Treat minor cuts and scrapes with adhesive bandages and antiseptic wipes.
  • Prescription medications: Bring an ample supply of any prescription medications you may need during your trip.

Are you also wondering about what kind of food you can expect to find here in Costa Rica? Check out our Guide to Typical Costa Rican Food for the perfect introduction.

Other Essentials to Pack for Costa Rica

Don’t forget these miscellaneous items that can enhance your Costa Rican adventure:

  • Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated while reducing plastic waste by carrying a refillable water bottle. But only fill it from water sources that you know are safe.
  • Cash and credit cards: While credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases or in case of emergencies. The colón is the national currency, but US dollars are widely accepted.
  • Microfiber towel: These highly absorbent, quick-drying towels are ideal for wiping away sweat and drying off at the beach.
  • Daypack: Carry essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and a camera in a lightweight daypack during your adventures, such as tackling the best hikes in Costa Rica.

If you’re joining us for canyoning and other extreme adventures, we provide all necessary safety equipment, so you don’t need to bring any of this with you.

If you’re traveling from the US, you also don’t need to bring a travel adapter. Costa Rica uses the same voltage (110 volts) and electrical outlets as the United States. For anyone not traveling from the US, we recommend checking if you will need an adapter for your devices before departure.

Don’t Miss Out on Thrilling Adventure Activities in Jaco, Costa Rica!

Now that you know what to pack for a trip to Costa Rica, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do when you’re here! Browsing our range of Jaco canyoning and waterfall experiences and adventure activities in Jaco is the perfect place to start. 

Do you have any pre-booking questions for us? Please just get in touch for the answers you need.

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