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Costa Rica – a packing list – peace. love. quinoa

Nov 17

Our trip to Costa Rica was lovely however it could have been burdensome and cruel without the proper gear. After we booked our trip to Costa Rica, we went crazy trying to figure out what to pack for our trip. I hear it’s the rainy season, did we need rain jackets? Wait, what’s the weather like? Will it get chilly at night? Do we need hiking boots? Should they be waterproof? Water shoes? Should we pack a travel safe to store our belongings? Someone told me there is a chance our car will get broken in to. Should we take our mobile phones? Will we be able to make phone calls from CR? Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. We had heard so many different things from so many different people, that it was hard to decide what we did need and what we didn’t need.

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Our trip included 6 days in Dominical, Costa Rica which is on the South Pacific during the winter/rainy season. During our trip we ziplined, hiked, climbed waterfalls, and laid around at the beach. We stayed at two beautiful rainforest resorts, our trip did not include any primitive stays. I will say that our trip within itself was fairly inexpensive, however we spent a great deal of money on accessories. This packing list that I am providing includes the items that worked for us. I have offered commentation on the big “why” behind the items listed. You may need to add to this packing list if you are staying longer, doing different activities than we did, attending an event, or if you are camping. 


  • Tanks & T-shirts
  • multiple pairs of Shorts
  • Moisture-Wicking Pants/Shorts
  • 2 Sundresses
  • Lightweight Hoodie or Sweater
  • Lightweight Water-Resistant Jacket
  • 3-4 Bathing Suits
  • comfortable Underwear
  • Sports Bras
  • Sleepwear

Whatever clothing you decide to pack for Costa Rica, be sure that it is lightweight and will dry out quickly especially if you are visiting during the rainy season (which is a beautiful time of year to visit.) I would not recommend taking heavy jeans or denim jackets. Most days we wore our swimsuits underneath our clothing in place of undergarments – you never know when you’ll come across a waterfall that you must jump in. I doubt you’ll need fancy clothing for your trip to costa Rica (unless you are attending a Wedding or an event.) The Ticos do not ever dress fancy –  if you choose to, you will look silly.  


  • Hats
  • multiple pairs of Sunglasses
  • Bandana / Headbands
  • Poncho
  • cheap waterproof Watch
  • small Umbrella

I struggled with deciding whether or not we would need to purchase expensive rain jackets and ponchos. Although we were in CR during the rainy season, the rain did not bother us much. The rain came around 2PM and was gone around 5:30PM. We came equipped with rain jackets and ponchos, we only wore our rain jackets once and it was because we were a little chilly, not because of the rain. We never wore our ponchos. You could probably get away with purchasing a $5.00 poncho and leave the Rain Jacket behind. I was so glad that I didn’t spend $200.00 on a rain jacket from REI (I found one at TJ Maxx for $15.00.)


  • comfortable Flip Flops
  • Hiking or Trail shoes
  • Waterproof Shoes, I recommend TEVA’s (for rafting or waterfall play) -find a pair that you can wear comfortably without socks
  • lightweight Hiking Socks

Whatever foot wear you decide to take, make sure that it is comfortable. You will not need fancy footwear (unless you are attending an event.) Take shoes that you are OK with ruining. I wouldn’t recommend taking your gym shoes that you’ll want to continue wearing to the gym when you get back. Purchasing a pair of Teva’s prior to the trip was the best decision we made. 


  • Bobby Pins
  • Hair Ties
  • Tweezers
  • Clips
  • Ziplock Bags (variety)
  • Nail Clippers / File
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm w/ SPF
  • Feminine Products
  • Insect Repellent
  • Cortisone Anti-Itch Cream
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • Small Roll of Toilet Paper (keep this in your day pack) 

Don’t expect to find any of these items in CR if you forget to pack them. Shopping in CR is minimal – close to non-existent, even for items like Bug Spray and Sunscreen. Take a small roll of toilet paper and keep it in your day pack. Just trust me on this one. 


  • Camera
  • Waterproof Video Camera, I recommend a GoPro Hero Cam
  • Laptop (I recommend you dump your memory cards at the end of each day)
  • Chargers
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Spare batteries
  • Spare Memory Cards
  • Flashlight

We took a lot of electronics with us with no regrets. We had a DSLR Camera with waterproof casing and a GoPro Hero Cam. Between these two, we got some phenomenal photos and video footage. Be sure to dump your memory cards at the end of each day, you never know if you’ll lose your camera or ruin your memory cards the next day. We did lose our Hero Cam to the ocean half way through the trip – thank goodness we dumped our memory cards and still came home with a decent amount of footage. One of the hotels we stayed at did not have an alarm clock or a TV, it was nice to not be worried about the time – but let’s face it, sometimes you need to know what the time is. 


  • Reading Books
  • Guidebook
  • Journal
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Lighter / Matches
  • Mesh Laundry Bag
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Travel Yoga Mat
  • Backpack Food (for hiking)
  • Airtight Waterproof Bags (variety of sizes)

We stored a variety of different things in the airtight/waterproof bags: money, electronics, toilet paper, our Passports, etc…


  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards (as backup – use mostly cash)
  • Travel Confirmations
  • Copies of your Passport & Credit Cards (or scan them and e-mail them to yourself)
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Numbers for Emergency Contacts
  • Numbers of CC companies

You may not have access to phones & e-mail while you are in CR so make copies of anything that is important to you JUST IN CASE. Before you travel, print off directions for your first destination if you are renting a vehicle. I recommend that you plan to pay for most everything with CASH in CR. Most places will take a credit card, but you will be charged international fees every time you swipe that card. One of the hotels we stayed at gave us a discounted rate because we paid in cash. 


  • Backpack
  • PacSafe (if you are hiking for multiple days)
  • TSA Approved padlocks

You will only need a PacSafe/Travel Safe if you are planning on camping if you are staying at a primitive hostel. If you are staying at a resort/hotel, your belongings should be safe. DO NOT ever leave your valuable items in the car, keep them on your person at all times. Although a few people mentioned Costa Rica not being safe with a risk of being robbed, we never felt that our safety is at risk and we were never robbed – or even messed with. 

Tagged with → Costa Rica • Dominical • packing list • Teva’s • travel 



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