We had a fabulous time in Costa Rica to kickoff the new year, and you could say I’m about ready for another tropical vacay. 😉 Especially if/when you’re adventuring somewhere new-to-you, hitting copy/paste on someone else’s successful packing can make it all seem a bit less overwhelming. If only we could copy/paste the whole luggage situation and just transport into the tropics, right? I know every country is obviously a different packing experience depending on climate, activities, duration of stay etc, so bear in mind this was my Costa Rica packing list for a little under a week at an all-inclusive resort, with a few adventurous excursions on the agenda.
COSTA RICA PACKING LIST – WHAT TO BRING:
- Packing cubes – Something I can never travel without! They make packing 100000x easier and more efficient, increasing space AND organization in your suitcase. Bless up.
- SUNSCREEN – That Central American sun ain’t no joke. These are some of my favorite “clean” sunscreens:
- Multiple swimsuits – I’d recommend at least 2/day, so that you’re never without a dry suit!
- A more modest coverup – For walking from your resort room (if you’re doing an all-inclusive) to the pool areas
- Cash (especially singles!) – Whether for negotiating prices of anything off-resort or tipping drivers or wait staff, it’s always helpful to have smaller bills on hand.
- Bug spray – The gift shop attempted to charge us $30 for two small bottles of OFF. Um, no.
- Hand sanitizer + Purell wipes – While there is sanitizer stationed often, we encountered empty jugs and definitely benefited from just having our own on hand always.
- Vacation clothes for Costa Rica – namely, nicer “resortwear.” While at least our resort wasn’t as strict as some resorts I’ve visited in Mexico, for example, there still is *some* semblance of dress code to abide by, especially at dinnertime.
- For the girls: Long maxis, wedges, dresses or skirts all suffice.
- For the guys: Linen pants, collared shirts, pants/shorts that come below the knee (some DO care about this – J had to run back up to the room one night to put on pants HA).
- Sunglasses – If you jet off to sunny Costa Rica without sunglasses, I should be allowed to take your place. HA. Here are some favorite Amazon sunglasses under $20 – including designer look-for-less options!
- Lightweight cardigans for evenings – This one is a personal favorite – it’s squishy soft, is light and flowy, and looks tres chic.
- Sneakers for excursions, hiking, etc – One of our Costa Rica excursions involved hiking down to a waterfall – others offered included ATV treks, etc. Whether you’re getting active in wildlife or just at the on-property gym, you’ll want your Nikes (or other hiking-friendly kicks) in tow.
- Rain jacket for wet season (May to December) – Just make sure it’s a totally waterproof one.
- Tylenol/Motrin – Poolside margaritas may be a-flowin’. Headaches don’t have to be. 😉
- Pepto Bismol/Tums – Another lesson learned – don’t pay $15 for a bottle of Tums at the resort gift shop. Just bring your own dangit.
- A few Band-aids – In case of blister! Or scrape! Or boo boo!
- After-sun moisturizer – Sunburn sucks and ain’t cute, yo…
- Lip balm – …and neither are chapped lips.
- Hair ties/Claw clips – Between the sand, sweat and surf, I think I had my hair down all of once. Did I mention wind? Definitely prepare to keep it easy and up as much as possible.
- Silicone hot tools case – A must if you’re traveling with your curling wand or flat iron!
- A Spanish dictionary – The language barrier in Costa Rica was honestly much bigger than we expected. While I do know some Spanish, it was a much more noticeable language barrier than when we’ve been in Mexico – one that did make traveling a bit more complicated/annoying at times. So just mentally prep as much as possible accordingly! Bring along an index card, or a few words on your phone, and download Google Translate! Try to learn a few basic greetings, how to ask for things, say thankyou, etc. It’s a little nicety that can go a long way even in just showing appreciation for another culture!
- Tech accessory case – Keep your chargers and cords organized in one place!
- Portable chargers – This has been my favorite for YEARS. It comes with built-in ports so that you have NO other cords to pack. One charge lasts a LONG time, and you can simultaneously charge the portable charger AND your device!
- Jewelry roll organizer – Although I don’t actually recommend bringing any fancy or expensive jewelry – it’s just unnecessary. I wore the same necklace + basic earrings all trip and didn’t actually wear ONE of the other fun pieces I had brought. Save the space!
- Passport + COVID card – Most important for getting back in the US (if that’s from where you’re hailing). Check your expiration dates!
- Sweats for your room – I’m someone who switches into comfy clothes the SECOND the opportunity presents. Especially if you like cranking up the AC to keep your room cool when the outside temps are hothothot, pack extra sweatpants for cozying around!
- Small backpack – For adventuring off property.
- Water shoes – Whether for the ocean, waterfalls, hot springs…your feet will get BEAT without them. Trust.
- Waterproof phone case – Definitely a necessity if you’re wanting to get great shots in the wild!
- Turn on roaming data + contact your phone company
Have you ever been to CR? Anything you’d add to my Costa Rica packing list?
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