There’s nothing like the sudden stop-realize-dread combo to make you wonder whether you’ve forgotten any ultra-essential things to bring to Costa Rica: Panic ensues. You pull out your phone and start scouring the internet. All is lost.
Only, it’s not. Here’s the truest truth: If it’s essential to Costa Rica, we have it here. Because we need it, too! So, don’t panic; almost anything forgotten can be purchased locally. That said, if you’re seeing this any time before you’re sitting at your airplane gate, then do have a read. Because we’ve been there, done that. And we’ve learned what things to pack for Costa Rica.
Things to Bring to Costa Rica (Year-Round)
There are some things you’ll need year-round, no matter the weather. These are those things.
For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave out the standard packing recommendations. In other words, we won’t recommend you pack shirts or a bathing suit; we’ll assume they’re a given! What we are including are all those other things to bring to Costa Rica – the ones you may not realize you need. Off we go!
✅ Windbreaker or Lightweight Jacket
If you’re going anywhere but the beach – and by that, we mean even a rainforest hike – then we’d recommend packing a long-sleeved, lightweight something. The Costa Rica rule of thumb: As the altitude climbs, temperatures drop. What’s more, even getting wet or sweaty can lead to shivers (thanks to tropical breezes and humidity, which hits different here!).
✅ Dressy Clothing
No, we’re not talking black-tie formal but we do suggest you pack at least an outfit or two for a night on the town. While you won’t find any formal fine dining in Costa Rica, you will find that many people choose to swap out their swimsuit and flip-flops for something a little more formal for an evening out.
✅ Sneakers or Hiking Boots
If you plan to hike anywhere in Costa Rica, pack good footwear. This not only assures you’ll stay comfortable on a long hike – some of the heftier adventures have you on the trail for 4+ hours – but will help protect you from thorny plants, insects, snakes, and other bothers.
✅ Water Shoes
If you’ll be at the beach or plan to hike waterfalls, you may want to consider packing secure, water-safe shoes to help you navigate rocky beaches and rivers.
✅ Waterproof Day Pack or Dry Pack
Again, if you plan to do a little adventuring in Costa Rica, then a waterproof bag (of some sort) should be on your list of things to pack for Costa Rica. If you’re going on a whitewater rafting trip, waterfall rappelling, or some other definitely-going-to-be-wet day trip, then a dry pack is recommended for your phone, wallet, camera, etc.; if you’re just hiking the rainforest, a waterproof day pack will probably cut it.
✅ Long Pants
Speaking of hikes, again – if you’re planning to do some trail hiking, then you should pack at least one pair of comfortable pants as an additional layer of protection from flora and fauna.
✅ Hat, Sun Visor, Etc.
Even if it’s not your everyday style, we’d recommend packing a hat in your bag. Whether it’s a sun hat, a baseball cap, a sun visor, or any other variety, a hat will help keep your head and face protected from the Costa Rican sun. At just 9º north of the equator, it’s strong down here!
See above. Please trust us!
✅ Your Favorite Toiletries
Luxury Villas Hacienda Pinilla supplies upscale toiletries (hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) at your vacation home. That said, if you require specific products, have sensitive skin, or simply don’t want to get by without your favorites, then these are definitely things to bring to Costa Rica, as many products can be hard (or impossible) to source locally.
✅ Reef-Safe Sunblock
We know that “sunblock,” generally, is a given. That said, please consider packing only high-factor, reef-safe sunblock, as these products do not contain ingredients that contribute to coral bleaching.
✅ Insect Repellent
It’s a jungle out there – literally! Depending on your location, you could encounter little to no biting insects. But in the event that you run into them (and, worse, they into you!), it’s much, much better to be prepared.
✅ Water Bottle
Costa Rica’s tap water is potable (except in very, very rural areas where signs state otherwise) and you’ll find ample fill-up stations in many national parks, beaches, and other points throughout the country. Do Mother Nature a favor and pack a refillable bottle!
✅ Travel Surge Protector
We always recommend carrying a travel surge protector for connecting electronics and charging phones. Note that modern Costa Rican construction uses three-pronged Type-B plugs (similar to what you’d find in the U.S.); the standard voltage is 120 V.
✅ Specialty Gear (ex. Birdwatching)
If you have special interests, such as wildlife or birdwatching, then good binoculars, field guides, and other gear should be on your list of things to bring to Costa Rica.
Additional Things to Pack for Costa Rica (Dry Season)
In addition to the above list, there are a few additional packing items you may want to consider, if you’re traveling to Costa Rica during the dry season (roughly, December-April).
Because, while you probably won’t encounter much rain – unless you’re adding Arenal, the Caribbean, or the rainforest into your travel mix – Costa Rican weather still encourages a few extra provisions.
✅ Lightweight Clothing
If you’re planning on doing anything more than lounging at the beach or pool, you’ll appreciate having lightweight, natural-fiber clothing in your suitcase. If you sweat a lot, you may want to consider adding some quick-dry options to the mix.
No, seriously. We know we already have this on our list above, but we cannot emphasize this enough: Wear sunblock! We are closer to the equator and, therefore, closer to the sun. Pack water-resistant sunblock for land activities and reef-proof sunscreen for ocean adventures.
Additional Things to Bring to Costa Rica (Rainy Season)
Honestly, there’s not much additional to pack for a trip during the rainy season. For the most part, you’ll have lightweight, often beach-ready clothes (ones that can get wet) already packed, so it’s merely a matter of adding a few additional things to pack for Costa Rica.
✅ Rain Jacket
You will get caught in a rainstorm. (It’s part of the fun and experience!) Be prepared and pack a lightweight rain jacket that’ll keep you dry without heating you up. (The humidity is real.)
For reasons already covered, we’d recommend carrying a small umbrella in your day pack, purse, or other bag.
✅ Quick-Dry, Water-Wicking Socks
It’s almost inevitable that your feet will get wet during the rainy season. Fast-drying, water-wicking socks will make your life better on rainy-season hikes and other adventures.
✅ Waterproof Phone Case
Look, we know – we keep talking about water, water, water. But until you’ve found yourself in the middle of a Costa Rican rainstorm, it’s easy to underestimate just how much rain can fall here. Do yourself a favor and protect your smartphone (and any other electronics you’ll carry with you) with a waterproof case and/or dry bag (see above).
Where to Stay: Casa Orchidea
6 Beds | 4.5 Baths | 13 Guests
A Spanish-style mansion that ticks every box, Casa Orchidea is a celebration of the outdoor, tropical lifestyle – every time of year. Welcome to your private infinity pool. Balconies. Wet bar. Gourmet kitchen. Streaming sunlight. Expansive terraces. It’s the complete vacation-in-paradise package, and we haven’t even mentioned (yet) that the home’s onsite staff prepare your breakfast every day (except Sundays and holidays).
What’s more: Privacy, privacy, privacy! If you’re looking for a home to host a sedate, yet memorable escape with family and friends, then Casa Orchidea fits the bill. With a natural garden hedge that creates a privacy wall around the property, this home promises a quiet and secluded vacation enjoyed outdoors. It’s just you, your nearest and dearest, and Hacienda Pinilla!
Where to Stay: Casa Leon
8 Beds | 8 Baths | 16 Guests
Just steps to the beach and a leisurely stroll to Hacienda Pinilla’s luxury Beach Club, this hidden treasure that promises a world of extraordinary promise and unfettered joy. Indeed, Casa Leon is a perfect choice for large families, groups, and friends traveling together – a truly special villa that offers all the luxury amenities you’d expect, including a private pool and gourmet kitchen, expansive interiors and indoor-outdoor living.
Pair that with daily breakfast preparation and Hacienda Pinilla’s arguably best location – literal steps to the sand and, from there, a 60-yard stroll to the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club – and it’s easy to see why Casa Leon is an easy favorite for beach lovers, surfers, and anyone who loves to walk the beach at sunset.
Free Concierge Services at Hacienda Pinilla
Readying for your vacation is about a lot more than prepping your things to bring to Costa Rica; it’s all about dreaming up what you’ll do, once you’re here!
Did you know that, when you reserve your Hacienda Pinilla vacation home with us, you gain access to our full concierge services? And by that, we mean an on-the-ground expert whose job is to explore, engage, and do everything. Cris knows her national parks in Guanacaste, Costa Rica!
When you book with us, we’ll get in touch to help you plan all the details of your stay. Our job is to get to know you, so we can help you plan the trip of your dreams. Whether you just need help arranging transportation or would like a full itinerary – everything from your airport shuttle to a full trip’s worth of activities, private chef services, and golf cart rental – we’re happy to help.
Even better, our concierge services are always free. So, why wait? Get in touch and let’s get started!