The Complete Costa Rica Packing List

The Complete Costa Rica Packing List

Costa Rica is a stunning destination for travellers of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive vacation, a family holiday or an intrepid backpacking adventure, Costa Rica accommodates. Its natural charm, coupled with various kinds of beautiful flora and fauna, creates a captivating environment that attracts people from around the world.

Once you’ve bought your tickets and organised your passport and visa, you’ll be ready to pack. But before you can start throwing everything into your suitcase or your backpack, you’ll need to work out what to take. This is exactly why we’ve put together a comprehensive Costa Rica packing checklist, to make the whole process smoother.

Luggage and Backpack

The first thing on the list, and the most important, is good quality luggage or a sturdy backpack. It’s important to choose the luggage type that best suits your trip, whether that’s a resort vacation or a backpacking holiday.

Checked Luggage

Checked luggage might be an unusual choice for a country like Costa Rica, since it’s brimming with activities and natural attractions. However, a suitcase is spacious, giving you the flexibility to pack everything you need while also allowing you to take home plenty of souvenirs. And a daypack will keep you mobile.


Costa Rica is home to well-preserved national parks and protected wild reserves. If you’re planning to explore every inch of its natural beauty, you will find a travel backpack a better companion than a suitcase. It’s much easier to carry around, allowing you to move more freely in rugged terrain, and hop from hostel to hostel.


A daypack is ideal for carrying essentials like water, snacks, a camera, and a light jacket while exploring everything Costa Rica has to offer.


You’ll need to pack a range of lightweight but durable clothing for this trip, to ensure you’re comfortable at all times!

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Costa Rica is close to the equator, meaning it’s hot and humid… you’ll probably be sweating as soon as you step off the plane! You’ll definitely benefit from packing breathable tops like cotton t-shirts, sports tops, tank tops, or singlets. At night, a long sleeved linen shirt offers great protection against insects and the cool breeze.


The same principle applies to packing your bottoms. Shorts are ideal for the warm temperatures in most parts of Costa Rica. They can provide comfort during hikes, walks, or a casual stroll around San Jose. For convenience, always pack at least one pair of pants - some activities in Costa Rica do require you to wear them.


Even during the dry season, rain is always a possibility in Costa Rica. It's a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket or poncho in case of unexpected rain, so that you remain dry and comfortable. For cooler evenings, especially at higher elevations, you should always have a sweater or light jacket handy.


While bathing suits are available for purchase virtually everywhere in the country, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find your size or style. Therefore, we’d recommend that you always pack at least two sets… and maybe more!

Hat and Sunglasses

A couple of hats and a few pairs of sunglasses will protect you from the sun throughout your visit to Costa Rica. Beat the glare, avoid sunburn, and reduce squinting.

Walking shoes or sandals

A trip to Costa Rica should involve plenty of exploration. The activities on offer include hiking volcanoes, canopy tours, white water rafting, and more. A pair of comfy walking shoes will prove to be a great companion in your journey through the Costa Rican environment. Keep a pair of sandals or flip flops handy for when you’re kicking back.

Skin Protection

Protect your skin from the sun at all times with these essentials. You’ll thank yourself later!

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The weather in Costa Rica is warm, yet not overly hot - the temperature doesn’t often exceed 90 degrees fahrenheit. However, sunscreen is still necessary to prevent sunburn. If you plan to take part in any water-related activities, such as rafting or surfing, wear waterproof sunscreen.


Costa Rica boasts incredible biodiversity. That also means you need to be careful with the insects that inhabit its ecosystems. Pack a reliable insect repellent to shield yourself from potential bug bites, especially in dense rainforests or remote areas.

Outdoor gear

Spending plenty of time outdoors? Add these items to your Costa Rica packing list.

Reusable water bottles and utensils

In Costa Rica, you might be visiting a range of biological reserves and national parks. To contribute to protecting the environment, reusable bottles and utensils are ideal for avoiding using single-use plastic.

Micro fibre towels

Not all tour operators provide towels on their tours. If you participate in water-based activities, pack a quick-drying towel that you can slip into your daypack. That will save you from the inconvenience of wearing damp clothing throughout the day.


It would be a shame to go all the way to Costa Rica without enjoying its incredible wildlife. A number of animals can only be spotted with binoculars, especially the birds. Pack lightweight, high-quality binoculars to enhance your wildlife-watching experience.


As with any trip, there are a few electronic devices that you shouldn’t go without.

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Good quality cameras

A reliable camera is essential for capturing your Costa Rican adventure. Pack extra batteries so you’ll always be able to snap the perfect shot. If you’re an enthusiastic bird-watcher, pack an appropriate lens for the best results.

Charging gear

It’s always a good idea to always keep a power bank by your side. Costa Rica also uses type A and B power sockets, so if yours are different, it is advisable to bring with you a travel adapter so you can keep that juice flowing.

Waterproof pouch and phone case

To keep your gadgets dry and functional, a waterproof pouch is going to be a lifesaver. The same applies to phones. You’ll want to add a waterproof phone case to your Costa Rica packing list, just in case the rain catches you out or you spend plenty of time in or on the water.


There are a few more items that you should include when packing for Costa Rica.

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Local shops and stores should have all the essential toiletries you need. However, there are a few items we recommend bringing with you when you’re packing, such as tampons for women, face wash, wet wipes, and your preferred moisturiser.


Pack any necessary prescriptions, personal medications, and a basic first aid kit. Make sure they last for the duration of your trip.

A language book

A pocket-size Spanish book will come in handy during your Costa Rican adventure. While many locals in tourist areas may speak English, having some basic Spanish phrases at your disposal can enhance your interactions and show respect for the local culture.

Embrace the adventure!

The most important thing is to embrace the adventure, and enjoy your trip. We’re positive that this list will ensure that packing for Costa Rica is a breeze. Still looking for luggage? Shop our full range of quality luggage today.