Packing essentials for your trip to Costa Rica.

By Silvanna Pacheco, August 2nd, 2023

When coming to Costa Rica, you are likely to visit national parks, beaches, volcanoes and cloud forests. These locations vary in elevation, weather and activities. So, what should you pack? Here are some suggestions to make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Clothes and Shoes
For this you must consider there are only two seasons in Costa Rica: rainy season and dry season. During the rainy season which goes from May to November, you should bring a light rain jacket, plenty of socks and comfortable hiking shoes. Sandals, swimsuits, long and short sleeved shirts, pants and shorts are basics for anytime in Costa Rica. Try to keep it casual and to bring light weight fabrics. Light colors will be more comfortable in the hot sun than darker shades. Sunglasses and a sun hat are great options during your beach time. 

Personal items
Sunscreen (SPF 50+) is a must! Insect repellent is recommended especially during those rainforest hikes and as soon as the sun goes down. Items like toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, nail clipper, makeup and medicines are important to pack. Most personal items you can find at your hotel or a local grocery store but if you bring your own you will be saving time and money. Also you might find the selection of these products in Costa Rica is not as wide as in other countries.

Credit cards are usually accepted everywhere in Costa Rica. However it’s ideal to carry some local currency, Costa Rican colones, for easy transactions at smaller businesses. When walking around a beach or a small town you might want to buy a souvenir or a local tasty treat. It is best to pay in colones so that you don’t have to worry about the exchange rate you’re getting. The best place to get colones is at the bank and you are required to bring your original passport. You can also exchange currency at the international airports and hotels, however you will not get the best exchange rate. US dollars are usually accepted but other currencies should be exchanged.

Plugs and voltages are the same in Costa Rica as the U.S. (120V flat prongs). Feel free to bring your computer, tablet and phone plus chargers. Internet connection is available at most of the hotels and most restaurants. Other items that might be useful are: flashlight, camera and binoculars to use on your expeditions.

Travel Insurance
It’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance for your trip so that you’re covered in case of an emergency. Usually your medical insurance from home won’t cover you abroad. We recommend visiting which lets you compare hundreds of insurance products from more than 20 different insurance providers.

Personal Documents
It is advisable to make a photocopy of your passport in case the original is lost. Visitors to Costa Rica must have a valid passport as well as a return flight ticket. If you plan to rent a car you will need your valid driver’s license and a credit card. 

Bottle of Water
Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the continent where it is safe to drink tap water. You can bring your bottle of water from home. Always take a bottle of water with you during your tours to stay hydrated.