The first thing to keep in mind when beginning to pack is the length of your trip. This will obviously affect the amount of clothing you choose to bring, and not always in the most obvious fashion.
Laundry services will be available to you at most of your hotels; thus, while six pairs of underwear for a six-day trip might make some sense, twelve pairs of underwear for a twelve day trip begins to look like paranoia. You can probably do six pairs, and have laundry done at the midway point.
Please note that laundromats are not common in Costa Rica and most hotels charge a fee for laundry services.
- Casual clothing for traveling in cities
- Shirts –long and short sleeved
- Sweater, light fleece, or jacket
- Trousers – cotton hiking pants or light weight pants (jeans not recommended-too slow to dry)
- Hiking shorts
- Socks – bring extra in case feet get wet
- Swimsuits, 1-2
- Light Rain Gear – poncho, raincoat, or small umbrella
- Hat(s) – with visor for rain and sun protection (the bigger the visor, the more protection)
- Small, lightweight flashlight with new batteries for hiking at twilight and moving between buildings at more remote Eco lodges.
- Camera and extra memory cards, batteries, and chargers
- Extra prescription glasses (if applicable), it is not that uncommon that people loose and break their reading glasses.
- The necessary prescription medication (if applicable) for your trip, add 6 extra days just in case
- Sunscreen 30+SPF
- Insect repellent
- Reusable water bottle – especially for hikes
- Binoculars (8×42) recommended, 7×32 minimum (getting a closer look at wildlife is really rewarding)
- Chargers for all electronic devices. Especially your camera and if you plan on using it your phone!
- For European travelers: a 220V to 110V outlet adaptor
- If you are bringing anything with a 3-prong plug (like an Apnea monitor) then bring adaptors to plug 3 prong (which are not common in Costa Rica) cables into 2 prong outlets
- For heat sensitive travelers, especially those coming between December and May, it is convenient to bring a gel bandana, which is great for keeping cool.
- If you are used to hiking with a walking stick, bring a collapsible one
If you are snorkeling it is NOT necessary for you to bring your own equipment unless you use a prescription mask.
Should I bring my big, very expensive camera?
- YES: if you have an interest in wildlife photography, even an amateur´s one. You are going to have some unique opportunities for photographing birds and animals, on the go and from a distance. Your Guides will find you the wildlife. If you have been looking for a chance to see what your new camera can do then this will be a great opportunity. Our guides say they often hear a guest lamenting that he or she chose not to bring his best camera, in order to keep it safe.
- NO: if your goal is more to take pictures of your travelling companions having fun, or if you are someone who just likes to snap quick shots of the world around them without worrying about “the lighting”. You will probably be better off with a simple point and click digital that you can keep somewhere easily accessible, as opposed to having to stop and pull a monster camera out of your backpack every time you want to take a picture.
Bring long tube socks with good strong elastic at the top for wearing with rubber boots (sometimes you would visit remote areas and hike in the forests)
What not to bring:
Excessive amounts of jewelry: You will probably not wear it, but only worry about it as you move it from one hotel safe to another.
Important notes: Most of the recommended items such as batteries, flashlights, reusable water bottles, insect repellent, sun lotion, sunblock and others can be found in most supermarkets and convenient stores in Costa Rica
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