Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips for traveling to Costa Rica {part I}

Packing for a vacation can be so overwhelming, specially when you are going to somewhere new. Let me help you figure out what to pack for your upcoming trip to Costa Rica {because you are coming here soon, right?}.


Yes anywhere in the world you will find your essential toiletries, however when traveling all you want to do when you arrive at your destination is enjoy your trip. In addition you may find increased retail value on these items for example a mascara that would cost $4.99 - $7.99 in the U.S. may in fact cost anywhere from $20 - $30.00 in Costa Rica this is due to Customs clearance and duty taxes plus shipping and additional import fees.

I try to keep my makeup light due to the humidity, but once in a while I wear my full makeup {specially when we go out to dinner or lunch}. My friend Kate just shared the makeup she will be bringing to Costa Rica for her 5 month trip through Costa Rica so she has great tips as she is a  certified makeup artist from Canada.

One essential you do not want to travel without is deodorant, humidity is high in Costa Rica year round which is why it is so lush and green. Humidity varies from 80% - 95% and somedays could be higher. From experience I can tell you that you will sweat... a lot!

Sunblock is a must when being outdoors, however in Costa Rica you need it even more because it is located 10 degrees from the equator so even with clouds and rain the sun is pretty strong. Need proof? This happened with only 20 minutes of being outdoors on a cloudy day! 

Baby powder is a great way to stay dry, I learned from my neighbor to put a little baby powder around my neck so I don't break into sweat after I shower... and feel fresher longer.

Ponytail holders, if you are like me you don't like being sweaty and having your hair stick to your skin so a ponytail holder is another must. I always have one in my pocket. It's also easier when you go for a swim to keep your hair out of your face. If you have short hair then you'll do fine, unless you use a barrette to be more comfortable. 


Costa Rica is all about enjoying the outdoors, exploring and being adventurous. I highly suggest you bring your favorite pair of tennis shoes, comfortable enough to walk all day in them and light enough for them to get wet and dry quickly. Don't bring white ones as like I said they could get wet specially in rainy season when it rains daily {June - November}.

Flip flops are also another option to shoes, they help keep your feet cool in hot weather but also if it rains you don't have to worry about your shoes getting dirty. This is also a necessary item if you are visiting the beach. 

This is a tropical country, which means it is usually in the high to mid 80s year round. Dresses are a great option, they are easy to wear and airy. You can also wear one over your bathing suit since in the cities bathing suit is not optional for shopping or dining. They also save space in your suitcase. 

Bathing suit and cover ups, it may rain every day during rain season but that certainly doesn't mean it is not bathing suit season :D It's bathing suit year round here. So make sure you pack your favorite swim suit.


A cross body purse is the best option so you always have your hands free to experience all there is to do and you can carry your sunblock, chap stick and personal items in it comfortably. I suggest you get one that is not leather since you might go to explore the rainforest and it will most likely get wet. Choose a material that is lightweight and dries easily.

As with any other place you travel to, I suggest you keep jewelry to a minimum mostly because you don't need jewelry :D I rarely take jewelry when traveling because I don't want to have to worry about something getting lost. 


A lightweight poncho is great because it covers you up with your arms and hands free. This is also helpful when visiting Monteverde rainforest. You can also just pack a small umbrella that fits in your handbag or backpack so you can have with you at all times. 

Camera pouch, make sure your camera has a bag that protects it and allows you to carry it easily. You will zip line while here, you might horse back ride and you might go on a raft through the rivers so you want your camera to be easily reached and protected. 

You won't be needing a voltage adapter if you are traveling from the United States, Canada or Mexico. Voltage here is 120V. 

Remember to pack all your chargers {phone, camera and other electronic devices}. You will be using your camera and smartphone a lot here there is free wifi in almost all business' and you'll want to capture everything you see. 

Binoculars, this is something I've found useful specially when visiting a volcano crater or the Monteverde rain forests you will be able to see wildlife up close without scaring them away.

Final travel tips: 

As with any travel to anywhere in the world where you need a passport, I highly suggest you make photocopies of it I usually have 2 copies. I keep one with me at all times so I leave my original passport in the hotel room safe {that is of course unless you are making credit card purchases that is when business' require the original passport as an ID} the other copy I leave at home for just in case I lose my passport. Always know where your nearest embassy or consulate is.

Always have cash with you, not every business or taxi cab accepts credit cards. So cash is a must, I suggest at least ¢20,000 Colones which equals to $40.00 U.S. Dollars in case you go out for lunch or dinner and need to pay cash or make a big purchase.

...and remember to bring your sunglasses, it may rain everyday but the sun shines pretty bright. 


  1. Great Tips! Hair Ties are A MUST when Traveling!

    1. I agree! I personally don't like my hair in my face... so I always have hair ties with me.

  2. Love this list! It's got everything for almost any tropical vacation spot.

  3. Great tips, lots of things that I'd never think of carrying with me!

    1. Thank you :D I did too when I first traveled here... but now I know :D

  4. I love wearing perfume. Will that be a problem with the bugs?

    1. Hi Frances, while living there I tried not to wear as much perfume if I was going to be outdoors. However, I learned that some perfumes attracted more the bugs than others. You could also use bug repellant or at the local pharmacy they sell vitamin B12/Thiamine capsules, locals will crush them and apply them to skin in their body lotion OR take the capsules for some reason it does help repeal bugs.