Costa Rica Packing List

Packing Advice

  • This packing list is just a recommended guideline for your reference. Everything is optional for you to choose from.
  • It’s best to leave all unnecessary valuables and jewelry at home.
  • Print a copy of your reservation and place it inside your checked baggage for identification purposes while you are traveling.
  • Reducing Plastic on Your Trip >>
  • More packing advice >>
  • AWR Gear Store >>


Your clothing should be lightweight, breathable, hand-washable, and quick-drying, preferably moisture-wicking and non-cotton.  You will want active wear for daily activities and casual dressy clothes for evening.

  • Long pants
  • Shorts
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Underwear, sports bra
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Jacket, sweater, windbreaker
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Belt
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit, coverup


Your daily activities may get your shoes dirty or muddy. Streets can be uneven. Light sandals are not good for daily tours and hikes, but they are nice for relaxing at your hotel.

  • Walking shoes (sturdy, comfortable, closed toe)
  • Tennis shoes, sandals, dressy shoes, and/or flip flops
  • Comfortable, breathable socks


  • Suitcase/duffel (check weight restrictions for internal flights)
  • Day pack for daily activities and easy access (rain cover is nice)
  • Packing cube, stuff sacks, compression bag for organizing gear and dirty clothing — Reducing Plastic on Your Trip >>
  • Clear toiletry bag for airplane
  • Money belt/security pouch, document organizer
  • Fold up bag/pack
  • Make sure all your luggage has your contact information.


Store electronics in dry bags. Remember to set the date and time on your cameras to local time.

  • Headlamp/flashlight, extra batteries
  • Cell phone, power cord, battery backup, headphones (Download Travel Apps)
  • Camera, lenses, memory disks, batteries, charger/power cord
  • GoPro/video camera, memory disks, batteries, charger/power cord
  • Kindle/iPad, power cord
  • Tripod (travel size)
  • Lens cleaning cloth
  • Watch/alarm clock
  • Electricity converter/adapter, multi-plug
  • Check with your cell phone provider for international use, or buy an unlocked cell phone with sim card locally.


  • Soap, shampoo, conditioner, gel
  • Hairbrush, comb, mirror
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving supplies
  • Nail clippers, nail file
  • Kleenex, toilet paper
  • Moist towelettes (handi-wipes)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Q-tips
  • Sewing kit
  • Small towel/washcloth
  • Insect repellent
  • Feminine products,  cosmetics, hair binders

First Aid

You really only need one first aid kit in your travel group, so coordinate with your travel companions.

  • Prescription medicines, Antibiotics (talk to doctor)
  • Vitamins
  • Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen/Aspirin
  • Diarrhea medicine (Imodium AD or similar)
  • Antihistamines
  • Melatonin, Acetazolamide, or other sleep aid
  • Throat lozenges
  • Bandaids/plasters
  • Disinfectant, antiseptic cream, antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze bandages and tape


  • Passport (make sure it is valid 6 months after your trip!)
  • Visas for all countries as necessary
  • Airline tickets, e-tickets (make sure name on ticket matches name on passport)
  • Copy of AWR travel itinerary
  • Medical insurance card
  • Document organizer
  • Make copies of passport, visas, drivers license, airline tickets/schedule, travel itinerary, credit cards (front and back), frequent flyer numbers, travel insurance, and emergency contact information.
  • Leave a copy with someone at home and store in Cloud. Put copies of your travel itinerary in each checked bag.


  • Cash (including some small bills, U.S. dollars must be newer and in good condition)
  • Credit cards, ATM card (check for international bank fees)
  • Trekking poles (collapsible)
  • Sunglasses, straps
  • Water bottles, Camelbak
  • Steripen/water filter/purification tablets
  • Pocketknife
  • Notebook, pens
  • Books, playing cards, games, crossword puzzles, frisbee, kite
  • Energy bars, hard candy, snacks, comfort foods
  • Duct tape (can be wrapped around water bottle)
  • Carabiners (for attaching things to your day pack or hanging things to dry)
  • Bandana (for dust, washing, etc.)
  • Guide books, maps, language books
  • Binoculars
  • Small umbrella
  • Gifts for guides and people you meet
  • Banner/flag/sentimental item to hold up in an important place
  • Eyeglasses/contacts, case, solution

Packing for the flight

  • Passport, flight e-tickets, AWR travel itinerary
  • Cell phone, headphones, charger
  • Books, magazines, Kindle/iPad, cards, games
  • U-shaped neck pillow
  • Eye shades, ear plugs
  • Toiletries (3 ounces/container, 1 quart clear bag)
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle (empty through security)
  • Kleenex, wet wipes
  • Melatonin or other sleep aid
  • Prescription medicines / Daily vitamins
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