Packing For Costa Rica
How to Pack for Your Costa Rica Rainforest Experience
Traveling Costa Rica by car can make your life much easier when it comes to packing, but you still won’t want to be burdened with too much luggage. Knowing how to pack for your Costa Rica vacation will help you maximize the space in your suitcase…and in your rental car.
Having a rental car in Costa Rica means you have control over your travel around the country; you decide where to go and when, how long to stay in each place, and what sites to visit in any given destination. More importantly, you can carry everything you’ll need.
If you’re planning to travel in Costa Rica any time this summer, it’s essential to realize that it’s green season there, which means you’re likely to encounter some rain most afternoons. It also means the rainforests are bursting with an abundance of plant and animal life that will leave you awestruck.
There are the obvious things: sunscreen, insect repellent, swimsuit, and camera, as well as your usual complement of toiletries, medications, and underwear. Sunglasses and a broadbrimmed hat or ballcap are good ideas.
In San José or if you plan to visit a good restaurant, pack lightweight trousers and a sports shirt for men; women the same, or a summer dress or two. Choose cotton or a cotton blend, they breathe better and dry faster.
Naturally, if you’re spending a few days on the beach, especially around Jacó and Manuel Antonio National Park, you’ll want some shorts, T-shirts, and water shoes. If you’re venturing into the highlands around Arenal and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or planning a hike through the rainforest, you’ll need some sturdy shoes, long pants, and a light raincoat or poncho. You may also want a sweatshirt sweater because it gets chilly at higher elevations.
A daypack is a good idea; you can carry your valuables and passport with you when you leave your rental car. Insider tip: At most parking lots, even street parking and paid lots, there will be someone who offers to watch your car for a few dollars. Accept his or her offer, it’s insurance against vandalism that can sometimes happen to an unattended vehicle. Five dollars is worth avoiding the headache.
You won’t need to pack over-the-counter medications, such as Alka Seltzer or Pepto Bismol, drugstores (farmacias) carry such remedies and the pharmacist can recommend something for whatever ails you. Likewise, there’s no need to bring a wedge of cash with you. ATMs are available, and most places will charge your credit card in dollars.
Less obvious things to pack:
- Silica gel packs for your electronics, they’ll keep the humidity down
- Waterproof cover or hood for your expensive camera
- Universal waterproof for your smartphone
- Travel cubes to separate clean from dirty clothes/muddy shoes
- Sarong, doubles as a light blanket, shawl, privacy partition, and more
A rental car in Costa Rica offers freedom not found with organized tours, airport/hotel transfers, and other public transportation options. Don’t overburden yourself with extra baggage, pack light and enjoy the drive. Contact us for help with finding the right rental car for your itinerary.