Your Essential Guide to Packing for an Unforgettable Costa Rican Adventure

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Here’s your ultimate packing list to ensure you’re well-prepared for the diverse activities and climates you’ll encounter. From lush rainforests to pristine beaches, Costa Rica offers an array of experiences that demand the right gear. Let’s dive into what you’ll need!

Essential Items

  • Valid ID and travel documents
  • Travel insurance details
  • Emergency contact information

Clothing & Footwear

  • Lightweight, quick-dry clothing suitable for a tropical climate
  • Hiking clothes
  • Comfortable walking/hiking shoes
  • Flip flops or sandals
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho for unexpected rain showers
  • Swimsuit for river and/or beach activities
  • Extra swimsuit to ensure you always have a dry one ready
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing for sun protection if desired
  • Light jacket/sweater for cooler evenings and nights
  • Moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable
  • Lightweight, long-sleeve shirts and pants for extra sun and insect protection
  • Quick-dry underwear for comfort in humid conditions
  • Bandana or neck gaiter for sun protection and to keep sweat at bay
  • Water shoes for river and beach activities


  • Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Daypack for carrying personal items during activities
  • High-SPF sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Flashlight/headlamp & batteries
  • Binoculars for birdwatching and wildlife spotting if desired
  • Camera to capture memorable moments (if not relying on a smartphone)
  • Portable charger power bank (suggested but not required)
  • Dry bag to protect your belongings from rain and water activities
  • Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and fins) if you plan on exploring underwater life

Health & Safety

  • Personal medication and first-aid essentials
  • Hand sanitizer if desired
  • Any necessary prescription medication
  • Hydrocortisone cream or any other antihistamine to relieve itching and inflammation in case of insect bites
  • Towel & toiletries
  • Ear plugs to cancel out sounds you are not used to, such as howler monkeys, frogs, roosters, etc.


  • Spanish phrasebook or translation app for communicating with locals
  • Pack of cards or other entertainment
  • Snacks or energy bars for quick energy during activities
  • Cash for gratuities and any personal or unexpected expenses

Due to the variety of destinations and activities in Costa Rica, you might not need all the items listed. Please use this list as guidance and consider the weather of the places you will be visiting and the elements you will encounter during your activities. If camping, you might want to bring extra items or get in touch with us to see what gear and cooking utensils we have available. Read “Costa Rica Unplugged: Private Guided Camping Experience” for more details.

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