What should I pack on my trip to Costa Rica?

December 5, 2017

If you want to know what items visitors to Costa Rica most often forget to bring – or regret bringing – just ask a hotel owner.

To create our “Insiders’ Guide to Costa Rica,” which you’ll find in Tico Times High Season Print Edition being distributed now nationwide, we asked some of our columnists and other long-time residents, as well as our favorite urban tourism guru, for their travel recommendations. One of our questions was what to pack. Pip Kelly, an Australian and Costa Rican citizen who is co-owner of the Casitas Tenorio B&B in the Northern Zone town of Bijagua, gave us such an extensive list that we decided to publish it in full, including her brilliant footwear hack.

Here’s Pip’s list:

  • A good travel flashlight.
  • A rechargeable battery that you can charge your cell phone from – the electricity goes off lots here!
  • Some nice natural bug spray so you don’t have to be covered in DEET the whole time.
  • A copy of your passport (and/or keep a photo of it on your phone).
  • Anti-itch cream for after you get bitten – and maybe some antihistamine tablets.
  • A travel umbrella and a lightweight poncho is good for visits to rainforest areas.
  • Some donations for the local community – an English picture dictionary is always a great thing to bring.
  • If you are debating whether to bring the “good camera,” just do it. Too many times we have guests complain that they didn’t pack their best equipment.
  • Bring a good road map; maps can be hard to find here. I recommend this nice waterproof map,
  • Pack lightweight clothes that dry easily. Leave the jeans at home.
  • Bring two pairs of shoes, and leave big, bulky hiking shoes behind; bring washable hiking sandals instead. (A great footwear hack: if you’ve got a muddy hike in mind, buy inexpensive rubber boots, botas de hule, at a local hardware store, then leave them at your hotel at the end of your trip.)
  • Pack a little first aid kit if you plan on doing lots of hiking.
  • Bring a soccer ball and a pump and play a game with the locals.
  • Ziploc bags are very useful.
  • Bring a couple of ATM cards in case one does not work. Bring cash ($US) and don’t exchange money at the airport- the rate is terrible!
  • Sounds crazy, but a travel hairdryer can come in handy – not just for drying hair, but shoes, a wet camera lens or moist passport.

Stay tuned for more information on where you can pick up your free copy of our High Season Print Edition for the full story, as well as an events calendar, columns and more.

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