Depending on how you plan to spend your Costa Rican vacation, here are some of our recommendations for what to pack. Hiking/walking shoes with socks, flips flops, shorts, long pants – especially the ones with zip off legs, swim suits, hat with a brim, SUNSCREEN, binoculars, bug spray (I don’t often need it at the house – but it always safe to have as you may need it by the beach). A light wind jacket that is waterproof (or fleece). Costa Rica is near the equator, but it still gets chilly at higher elevations (Poas Volcano crater for instance) or out on a boat. It can also get chilly at night especially during the green season after the rains cool things off a bit. Fabrics that dry quickly and can be easily rinsed out are great to keep in mind while packing.
We are sometimes asked if our home includes items like linens and towels when renting it, or if it is necessary to bring these items down, so I thought I would make a quick list of things you can expect to see and things you should expect to bring (or purchase when you arrive).
What we provide the following:
- linens including some extra blankets – yes, you may need those if it gets cool at night) and towels, including beach towels.
- beach mats
- paper products such as : toilet paper (2 rolls per bathroom), paper towels (1 roll), tissue.
- fully equipped kitchen including all pots & pans, knives, silverware, blender, toaster, lots of utensils, Gas BBQ with all the utensils.
- misc spices – nothing is standard – it really depends, but you may want to give a look before heading to the store which is not far. Some herbs may be found outside the kitchen area.
- some books are available in our cabinet to read.
- a few DVDs and Cds – please be sure to return them to the cabinet after watching them on your computer
- stereo with speakers, stream to wifi/bluetooth.
- high speed wireless internet
What we do NOT provide 😦
- Shampoo, conditioner, body/facial soap, q-tips, toothbrush etc, or other bathroom sundries
- Sunscreen, bug spray etc… – all of these things can be purchased in Atenas if you have forgotten anything.
Here is a list of a few things you will want to bring on your trip:
- Camera !!
- Binoculars – There is a pair at the house but a bit large and old.
- Bug spray or lotion & suncreen – you can always buy some in town also. Not a lot of bugs at the house but the little “noseeums” might come nibbling at dusk if you’re tasty ;).
- Hat /sunglasses – everyone loves the sun, but no one wants skin cancer…. the sun is strong
- Trail/hiking shoes/sneakers – flip flops are cute but if you plan to find your way to a waterfall you often need to hike a trail down to or along a river – so something with a tread is really important to have.
- Water shoes – they are good for the waterfalls too, but also for beaches that might have a lot of rocks – or for white water rafting
- Light sweater /jacket – it often cools down about 15º at night – which is lovely sleeping weather but can be a bit cool especially if you got some sun earlier.
- Lightweight pants – want to go on a trail/rainforest hike? You’ll be glad you brought pants.
- Tunes – you can hook yours upon stream to the speakers at the house.
- Car adapter or Extra battery for your phone especially if you plan to take a lot of pictures/video with your phone – which eat up battery life. Most rental cars have a USB port. You don’t want to be caught midday with a dead battery.
- a copy of your passport – you can leave the original home in the safe , but you are required to have a copy on you – not that you’ll get asked, but best to be safe.
- Casual clothing – most every place you go in Costa Rica will be pretty casual.
- Rain jacket/shell – Costa Rica is warm year round but there are some cooler areas such as cloud forests like Monteverde or Bajos del Toro which are beautiful and have lots of birds, but it can rain or be misty and as a result it tends to be much cooler than the rest of the country.
- A Spanish dictionary or app
- A portable flashlight with fresh batteries – yes there is one on your phone – but it’s not that great. besides you might want to go on a night hike – and a flashlight is a must then.
- GPS – It’s essential to have GPS in CR. The signage is poor. Waze works very well in Costa Rica – but just make sure you have an international plan on your phone first OR rent a wifi hotspot with your car (you need to rent it separately). Google maps has tried to drive us through someone’s farm before so Waze is much more trustworthy. Car rentals might still rent GPS’s also.
- a great attitude and an open heart!
Other options you may want to consider depending on where you’ll explore :
- money belt
- umbrella – in the rainy season
- drybag – helpful on the white water rafting days or super rainy days in the forest