Last Updated: Jun 18, 2012
Be prepared with our ultimate packing list of tried and tested travel items, many of which are unavailable in Costa Rica. From quick-dry clothing to comprehensive field guides, these items are a must for any Costa Rican adventure!
Let’s Go: This guide is full of reliable recommendations and accurate maps, perfect for independent travelers.
Lonely Planet: The go-to source for budget travelers, Lonely Planet shows you how to travel large on a small budget.
Moon: Highlighting every important detail, this travel guide covers everything from local fauna to Costa Rica’s most recommended sights.
Frommer's: Gorgeous photographs and in-depth travel information bring Costa Rica to life in this updated guidebook.
The Birds of Costa Rica: Serious birders will love this comprehensive field guide that describes more than 820 local species.
Costa Rica's National Parks and Preserves: Discover recommended hikes, learn park history, and know what to expect when you're visiting Costa Rica’s national parks.
Mammals of Costa Rica: Going beyond mere species identification, this field guide provides scientific information and the conservation status of each animal.
Pocket Naturalist Guides: These waterproof, foldable guides are perfect to throw in your daypack. Choose from Wildlife, Butterflies & Moths, and Birds.
Travellers’ Wildlife Guide: Delve into Costa Rica’s ecology and natural history with this all-in-one field guide.
Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A detailed guide with more than 540 photographs illustrating plants from Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems.
Guide to Costa Rican Spanish: Written by an expat, this helpful book features Spanish vocabulary and phrases as well as idioms unique to Costa Rica.
Latin American Spanish Phrasebook: Covering the local Spanish of Latin American countries, this phrasebook breaks vocabulary down into categories.
Hiking boots (men, women, and kids): Outdoor lovers will want a great pair of waterproof hiking shoes – and we love Hi-Tec’s versions.
Multisport Shoes (men, women, and kids): These lightweight shoes are ideal for varying terrains, making them the multi-tasker of the shoe world.
Quick-dry, convertible pants (men and women): Whether you’re whitewater rafting or waterfall rappelling, you’ll love having a great pair of convertible, quick-dry pants.
Quick-dry shirt (men and women): This shirt will dry completely overnight, making it a great option for packing light and staying clean.
Quick-dry socks (men and women): A couple pairs of quick-dry socks will serve you well on rainforest expeditions, aquatic excursions, and any other Costa Rican adventure.
Poncho: Keep warm and dry during a rainforest shower with a full-coverage poncho.
Rain jacket or wind slicker (men and women): Don one of these waterproof jackets to repel the elements.
River/reef sandals (men, women and kids): Heavy-duty sandals are a great pick for water-based adventure activities or a light hike.
Shoe bags: When your shoes get muddy, these bags will protect the contents of your suitcase.
Sun Hat (adult and kids): Shield your head and eyes from the tropical sun with this lightweight traveler’s sun hat.
Vacuum-seal packing bags: Pack twice as much with these compressible packing bags – no vacuum required.
Waterproof Camera: This rugged Panasonic Lumix is not only waterproof and shockproof, it has all the bells and whistles you’d want in your everyday camera, too.
Upscale Point & Shoot: This high-tech camera will help you catch all of Costa Rica’s amazing moments with some of the most impressive specs on the market, including a 16x optical zoom.
DSLR Camera: Serious photographers should consider a digital SLR camera to capture Costa Rica’s beauty in the finest detail.
16GB memory card: Don’t risk running out of storage space – take along a 16GB SD memory camera card.
Camera Carabiner: Keep your camera secure during canopy tours, whitewater rafting, and other adventure activities.
Netbook: Perfect for staying in touch and reviewing photos, this mini-laptop has WiFi capability and plenty of hard drive space.
8GB Flash Drive: A memory stick will come in handy when you need to transfer files or get a new friend’s photos.
Travel surge protector: Protect your electronics from sudden power surges.
iPod / mp3 player: Pass the time with your favorite tunes and videos on a compact Sansa Clip, iPod Nano, or high-capacity iPod Classic.
Binoculars: Waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof binoculars are a must for bird and wildlife watching.
Binocular Harness: This harness takes the weight off your neck and frees up your hands during hikes.
Handheld GPS: Never get lost with this portable device!
Headlamp: This hands-free flashlight is ideal for night hikes, cave spelunking, and other low-light expeditions.
Klean Kanteen: You can drink the tap water in Costa Rica, so ditch the plastic water bottle in favor of an eco-friendly, stainless steel canteen.
Backpack/daypack: A day pack that efficiently balances weight, allowing you to comfortably carry up to 30 pounds.
Waterproof travel journal kit: If you’re serious about documenting your trip, consider a waterproof notebook and pen set – guaranteed to survive all your explorations!
Dry Sack: A lightweight quality dry sack helps you keep water out – or, in the case of packing, separate wet items from dry.
Waterproof electronics dry pack: Keep your camera and electronics safe and dry in a waterproof electronics pouch.
Water-resistant watch: Divers, water enthusiasts, and hikers will appreciate this durable, waterproof watch.
First-aid kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is a smart addition to your packing list.
Mini toiletry containers: Travel with your favorite shampoos, lotions, and other toiletry products with this airplane-compliant carry-on kit.
Money belt: Carry cash safely in a comfortable money belt, worn underneath your clothing.
Travel Toothbrush: A folding toothbrush is compact and easy to throw into your carry-on or daypack.
Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun with an SPF 30+ waterproof sunscreen.
Insect Repellent: This waterproof insect repellent comes in a moisturizing, waterproof lotion.
After Bite: Erase the itch with this gentle antiseptic gel.
Travel pillow: Travel in comfort with an inflatable travel pillow – ideal for the plane, bus, or rental car backseat!
TSA-approved luggage locks: Guard your bags with TSA-approved, sturdy combination locks.