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The Ultimate Packing Guide for Your Costa Rica Backpacking Adventure

Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica and wondering what things you should have in your luggage? Our concise Costa Rica packing list includes all the essential information about what you'll need for your vacation without overpacking.


Sonnenuntergang am Strand von Costa Rica mit Meer, Strand und Urwald

 

Table of Contents

 

1. Climate in Costa Rica


Costa Rica has a tropical climate with consistently warm temperatures throughout the year. However, there are various climatic zones in the country, which differ depending on altitude and geographic location:

  • Caribbean Coast and Northern Lowland Rainforest: The climate here is consistently humid and warm year-round, with high humidity levels. The dry season typically lasts from February to March and from September to October, while the rainy season spans from April to August and from November to January.

  • Pacific Coast: The Pacific coast of Costa Rica experiences two main seasons - the dry season from December to April and the rainy season from May to November. During the dry season, the weather is sunny and hot, while the rainy season sees more frequent rainfall, although temperatures remain warm.

  • Highlands (Central Valley and Mountains): The highlands have milder temperatures compared to the coastal areas. Here, there's a distinct dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November.


Costa Rica Bucht mit Meer, Strand und Palmen


2. Luggage for Your Costa Rica Vacation


In principle, we recommend bringing along a backpack* as well as a smaller daypack* for excursions. During the flight, you can use the smaller backpack as carry-on luggage.


In the daypack*, you can store all your essential items such as your passport, which you should always have with you. Large backpacks often end up in the luggage compartment during bus transfers, whereas you can keep your daypack with you at all times.


A little tip from us: We have rain covers* for both our daypack and our trekking backpack. These not only protect against sudden rain showers but also potentially against pickpockets.



Vulkan Arenal in Costa Rica mit Wolken und Urwald


3. Costa Rica Packing List


Below, you'll find all the important items and documents you'll need for a trip to Costa Rica categorized. Try to ensure that the items are lightweight and compact to save on storage space and weight.


Costa Rica Packing List: Travel documents and Money


For a trip to Costa Rica, you should have the following documents with you:


  • Passport and a copy of your passport (kept in a separate location, e.g., in your trekking backpack)

  • Waterproof document pouch*

  • Wallet

  • Credit card

  • Health insurance card / Travel insurance

  • Cash

  • International driver's license

  • Optional: Vaccination record

  • Optional: Student ID card




Costa Rica Packing List: Cloths


Before you start packing, please note that you'll have opportunities to do laundry along the way - so don't overpack and opt for clothing that can be easily mixed and matched and takes up minimal space.


  • Underwear (including sports bras)

  • Socks and hiking socks

  • Swimwear (bikini, swimsuit, or similar)

  • Pajamas

  • 3-4 T-shirts

  • Performance shirt

  • Thin long-sleeve shirt

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 2 pairs of long pants

  • Sportswear

  • UV shirt* (for women/men)* for sun protection in the water, always handy to have

  • Dressier outfit (e.g., dress or shirt)

  • Trekking pants*

  • Cardigan

  • Fleece jacket or fleece pullover (for women/men)*

  • Rain jacket*

  • Multifunctional scarf*



Costa Rica Packing List: Shoes


Shoes take up a lot of space (and additional weight) in your luggage, so it's important to carefully consider the activities you have planned and which shoes you'll need for them. Make sure your shoes are well broken-in to avoid causing any pressure points or blisters.


  • Sneakers

  • Flip-flops, slides*, or similar

  • Water shoes*

  • Optional: Ballet flats

  • Optional: Hiking boots

Straße in Costa Rica, links und rechts Palmen

Costa Rica Pack List: Hygiene Items


For our hygiene items, we always ensure they are as compact and lightweight as possible. Additionally, minimal packaging is important to us. In the following list, you'll see everything we pack in our backpack for a trip to Costa Rica.


  • Toiletry bag

  • Shampoo, body wash, and conditioner

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

  • Cotton swabs

  • Nail care set*

  • Hairbrush

  • Hair ties

  • Makeup

  • Razor

  • Tweezers

  • Tampons, sanitary pads

  • Facial moisturizer

  • Body lotion

  • Small microfiber towel* for on-the-go use




Costa Rica Packing List: Travel Pharmacy


For your trip to Costa Rica, it's essential to think ahead about your travel pharmacy. We have compiled a separate post to inform you about the medications, in addition to a first aid kit, that are crucial to pack for your Costa Rica journey.


Click here for the Costa Rica Travel Pharmacy Guide



Costa Rica Packing List: Tech Items


Here's a list of our technical equipment, which is also part of our luggage:




Costa Rica Packing List: Others


Finally, here are a few more items that shouldn't be missing from our luggage:



 

You need inspiration for further planning your Costa Rica trip? The following articles could be helpful for you:


Are you looking for more insights into our travels? Check out our Instagram channels, tom_rbg_ and anna_mser! If you have any questions about the routes, feel free to contact us through these channels anytime!

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links does not incur any additional costs for you; you are simply rewarding our work.


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