What to pack for a 10-day trip to Costa Rica

It’s Pura Vida all the way, from the minute you start planning what to pack on your 10-day trip to Costa Rica, to every minute you spend exploring the incredible biodiversity of this Central American treasure and ease into its relaxed “pure” way of life.  

With a glorious 10 days ahead of you, you’ll have plenty of time to hit the beach and channel your inner adventurer in the steamy jungle or mystical cloud forests of Costa Rica.  

Consequently, planning on how to prepare for both experiences can be a task. But, we’ve got you covered with these useful tips on what to wear and pack for your trip to Costa Rica, so you can land feeling prepared and ready to roll!   

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Taking a trip to Costa Rica? 

Small in size but featuring staggeringly rich biodiversity, Costa Rica packs a punch in the nature stakes. You could switch up golden Caribbean and Pacific beaches for cloud rainforests and simmering volcanoes all in one day, but on your 10-day trip to Costa Rica, there’s time to soak it all in at a slow, steady pace.  

Simmering volcanoes are a highlight on your 10-day trip to Costa Rica

Beyond its extraordinary landscapes, it is the warmth of Costa Rica’s ticos (what the locals call each other) that will make this trip one you’ll remember forever. It’s little wonder Costa Rica gets the nod for being one of the happiest countries in the world. As a result, you’ll feel restored and reconnected after spending time with them.  

What you wear and pack for Costa Rica will depend greatly on where you’re going and when. From coast to coast, Costa Rica has several climate zones and the weather can switch from hot and dry at the coast, to chilly with rain in the interior. In fact, Costa Rica’s weather can be rather unpredictable year-round, especially in its celebrated cloud rainforests. Prepare to get wet and pack a few warm layers.  

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What to wear in Costa Rica 

Keep it casual and versatile. These two tips on what to wear in Costa Rica hold true, whether you’re switching your boardshorts for raingear.  

With so many climate zones in such a small space, packing light can be quite a challenge. But light and loose tends to work well down at the coast, while quick-dry attire is a non-negotiable to stay comfortable in the humid and wet interior. Pack a quick-dry towel and a strong rain poncho in your daypack, and add a waterproof bag to carry wet clothes.   

There’s no need to dress up or cover-up in Costa Rica. The locals are fairly relaxed when it comes to attire so you’ll be fine in shorts, T-shirts and flip flops for the most part, unless you’re planning to head into the rainforest where comfortable quick-dry longs are more appropriate.  

If you’re spending any time in the coastal areas, bring along two swimsuits, a swimsuit cover-up for the ladies and a loose long-sleeved shirt or sarong to protect your shoulders and arms from the searing sun. 

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What to pack for Costa Rica

Insect repellent

Don’t leave without it as mosquitoes are present year-round in Costa Rica’s coastal areas, not to mention other pesky bugs that bite. You’ll want to bring along a DEET-free mosquito repellent and apply this regularly to avoid their unwanted attention.  

Comfortable footwear

This is one destination you’ll likely need to pack a few pairs of shoes depending on where your adventures take you. Bring a pair of sandals or flipflops along for the beach, and a pair of hiking or running shoes for activities like hiking, zip-lining and walking in Costa Rica’s rainforests. You may also wish to throw in a pair of water shoes if you’re planning to take part in wet activities like white-water rafting.   

Water bottle with filter

Costa Rica is leading the charge against single-use plastics, so bring along a water bottle with built-in filter to refill wherever you go. The water quality in Costa Rica is largely fine, but may not always be to your taste. This way you’ll always have clean, tasty water even if you’re out in remote areas. 

Warm layers

Monteverde will be an unforgettable stop along your 10-day trip to Costa Rica

Pack a few warm laters if you’re travelling to higher-elevated areas such as Monteverde and Arenal, as the evenings can be very cool. You may also find that your overnight accommodation does not have internal heating so a warm pair of pyjamas, depending on when you visit, may also be good to pack.   

Hand sanitiser, sanitising hand wipes and tissues 

Pretty much a standard these days, along with a mask or two, are hand sanitiser, sanitising hand wipes and tissues. Public restrooms in Costa Rica are not always equipped with soap, toilet paper and napkins and you’ll be grateful you brought some along.  

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Ready to live out your fantasies of la Pura Vida? Let us know in the comments below what you’ve packed for your 10-day trip to Costa Rica. We’d love to hear from you! 

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