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Your Costa Rica holiday is just around the corner, but what should you pack? Many people feel the same way when preparing for your trip. Costa Rica is a very diverse country. Sun and beach, cloud forest or rainforest, the government have several climate zones, and temperature differences of up to 20 degrees Celsius are not uncommon. That’s why we have compiled a list of the most important things that should not be missing from your suitcase.
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Sunscreen, insect repellent, beachwear, and a bath towel should be in your luggage. These four things are indispensable for the entire trip. Because even if you don’t spend your whole holiday on the beach, sun protection is a must, especially at high altitudes, such as on volcanoes, despite the cloudy climate, to avoid annoying sunburn. This includes sunglasses and headgear. Our tip: Buy sunscreen in Germany – sunscreen is disproportionately expensive in Costa Rica. After the sun is also worthwhile; if you didn’t bring any from Europe, you can perfectly replace it with aloe vera gel, so-called “Sábila,” which is available locally. Finally, mosquitoes are rampant throughout the country, so you should always be well-equipped with insect repellent. The preparation “Off” has proven itself in every supermarket.
Regarding shoes, you should not skimp on space in your luggage: Trekking shoes are best suited for hikes through the forest. Ankle-high models with good soles are predestined for this – the variant for mountaineering and hiking in European mountains is not necessary for Costa Rica. In addition, trainers or sneakers should not be missing; in the best case, they should also be allowed to get wet. This can happen on rafting tours or similar. Flip-flops or (trekking) sandals are best for beach time. This way, you are well prepared for shorter walks on the beach. In addition, we recommend a pair of nice shoes for going out. A couple of knee socks are also recommended in addition to regular socks: Often, you can borrow rubber boots at the lodges, so high socks are advantageous to avoid blisters.
Clothing should be very varied: Even if you expect the sun to always shine in Costa Rica, you should bring one or two long-sleeved tops and long trousers as protection against mosquitoes and low temperatures. It can get chilly, especially in the mountains. It would be best if you also packed a rain jacket or poncho for possible showers, which are not uncommon here, and of course, loose casual clothes. For women, a sports bra is also highly recommended for sporting activities. Finally, make sure to bring mainly quick-drying clothes. Especially in the rainforest, clothes tend to get wet and then do not dry properly for a long time.
If you also need particular medication or hygiene items, these should be on board to avoid unplanned incidents. Shower gel and tampons, in particular, should not be left at home: Ticos mainly use bars of soap, which are available in every supermarket, and shower gel is accordingly relatively uncommon. Tampons are also rarely used and are difficult or impossible to find; however, you can find small packs and only the version with an applicator in well-stocked supermarkets for emergencies.
All those who like to transfer photos directly to the laptop or need to do some work while on the road should not leave the computer at home. To stow everything well and have your hands accessible on the excursions, you should also not forget a backpack or bag. It would be best if you also had your camera in your luggage because flora and fauna are waiting for you to discover it and take it home with you as a great memory, of course only in the form of photos.
We also recommend you take your vaccination certificate with you on your trip, as this may be necessary for emergencies. You will also need your European driving license to rent a car. With this, you can drive a car without problems during the 90-day visa-free stay in Costa Rica. You should also not forget your credit cards. You can quickly pay with your card in most parts of the country. You will need cash in areas where it is not possible to use, but we will point this out to you if necessary.
Hiking is a must on any trip to Costa Rica. For the perfect excursion, we therefore definitely recommend binoculars. The incredible variety of colorful birds in the canopy, monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, and sloths, will allow you to discover nature up close. For your adventure, you should also bring a refillable water bottle. Since 2020, it has been no longer permitted to bring disposable water bottles into the national parks. To identify tropical animals and plants, we advise you to get a good guidebook or the app—Animal of Costa Rica by Stefan Kunz.
Last but not least, an absolute insider tip: Take a small umbrella with you on your hikes. You can buy them cheaply in supermarkets. Short but heavy showers can occur in the rainforest; this fixed solution protects you from water.
Travel with friends Blog is the most updated digital travel magazine of the Costa Rican market, property of the travel agency Bella Aventura Costa Rica S.A., where we publish weekly the best recommendations, destinations, and experiences you cannot miss during your trip to Costa Rica. Be encouraged to travel with friends who will advise you to have the best experience.
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