Costa Rica is a relatively easy country to travel to. The public transports system and the road are generally good, the health system is still one of the best one for South America. While it is a developed country, it is also very tropical and you need to prepare carefully for insect and tropical weather. We compiled in this article how to prepare your bag for Costa Rica and what to bring with you to your adventure!
You can take a suitcase or a bag, if you do not rent a car, a backpack however will be easier to handle especially with the amount of transfers you may have to do on boats or walking from one place to another.
How to prepare your bag to go to Costa Rica 🎒
⛑ Aid Kit
- Sunscreen 50+ SPF
- Arnica cream if you plan to do activity such as Rafting or Surfing
- Band-aids (always good to have some)
- Imodium for Diarhea (while the tap-water is drinkable across the country, it can sometimes be hazardous for the most fragile stomach)
- Painkillers (ibuprofen in case of intense sunburn)
- Aloe Vera gel, to treat sunburn
- Antiseptic to prevent little wounds from getting infected due to the humid climates
- Hydroalcoholic gel – antibacterial to wash your hands
- Anti-blister sticks
- Bariderm cream to protect your skin
- Nail clip
- Strong insect repellent
- Venimex – Aspirant Venom pump, if you plan to spend days in the park or hiking or with children
💼 Documents – to pack in a waterproof case
- Passports and other required papers to enter the country
- You can find the list of documents required on the Costa Rica government website
- Local Driver license and international driver license (for European country, the local driving license will be enough to rent and drive a car)
- Flights tickets : custom in Costa Rica may ask for your return ticket to enter the country upon arrival.
- Two credit cards, in case one get blocked due to over-withdrawal
- One Revolut card to not pay foreign exchange
- Some American Dollars in cash : USD are widely accepted in the country
- All documents should be stored in a waterproof case
🧶 Clothes – sun and rains in a tropical paradise
- K-way : it is raining regularly as it is a tropical country. K-Way are lifesavers.
- Two pairs of closed shoes, so you always have one when the other one is wet, one of them should be good for hiking
- A pair of flip-flop. Do not buy your flip-flop in Costa Rica, they are super expensive even compared to France.
- One quick-dry trouser for the jungle, to protect you from insect.
- One long-sleeve quick-dry t-shirt, to protect from your the sun and insect during hikes. We found it very comfortable for our last stop in Corcovado National Park.
- T-shirts and shorts.
- One sweat-shirt : the country is already very Americanized and buses and taxi can be cold due to A/C.
- One quick-dry microfiber towel.
🎒Other useful items to add to your bag
- Torchlight – there can be snakes on the path – just never walk in the dark.
- Whistle, in case of emergency. They can be heard from very far in the jungle (we did not bring one but if you plan to hike a lot on your own, you should).
- Batteries to charge cellphones and cameras
- Waterproof camera and phone cases. This is particularly useful if you visit the most rainy area of Costa Rica : Tortuguero National Park or Monteverde.
- Adapters if you are not on U.S plugs.
- Some teabags : boilers are often available in hotels but we never had tea bags at disposition.
- Three or four plastic bag to store the laundry, wet-shoes, wet-clothes, etc which end up being useful pretty often.
- Sunglasses and sunglasses neck trap.
- Water-bottle and its handle : in Costa Rica the water is drinkable and they are very against the use of plastic bottles.
- A camera with a good zoom to take pictures of animals. If you need any expensive camera to Costa Rica, make sure you bring as well waterproof protection.