Traveling to Costa Rica can be one fabulous adventure after another – whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, birdwatching, zorbing, or just bathing on the beach. With so many activities to choose from, it can be tricky to know exactly what items should end up in your suitcase. Luckily, I recently traveled to Costa Rica and came back with a very handy list I just had to share.
Nearly 50% of Costa Rica is covered by rainforest. If you want to explore it and all its wonders – stunning plants, exotic animals, colorful birds, etc. – you are bound to get wet, either from the rain itself or the water dripping off the trees. Costa Rica can also be warm, so it’s best to get a breathable, 100% waterproof jacket with a hood. As for pants, you don’t necessarily need those to be waterproof, but a quick drying fabric would be wise.
If you’re planning on any walks or hikes in the rainforest, bring along a pair of waterproof shoes or hiking boots, and make sure they are closed-toe because many tour operators won’t allow open toe sandals on their hikes. If you want to hike in tennis shoes, no problem. Just bring along an extra pair to wear while your other shoes dry out.
Whitewater rafting and river tubing are two of Costa Rica’s biggest adventures. You’ll laugh, scream, smile – and get wet. Your feet will too. It can also be rocky and slippery under the water, so you’ll want to bring something along to protect your feet.
Sure there’s the lush rainforest, but Costa Rica also has great beaches and bright sunshine. Even if you are on some sort of adrenaline-packed adventure, you’ll be in and out of the sun, so come prepared.
Bring along a video camera to capture all the waves on a whitewater rafting trip; flocks of parrots flying outside your window; howler monkeys doing what they do best; the slow-motion moves of a sloth; or in this case, my husband capturing me rolling, tumbling, and laughing all the way down a hill inside a zorb.
Most restaurants, vendors, and taxi drivers will accept U.S. cash. Make sure you bring along bills in small denominations ($5’s and $1’s) for tipping, bartering, and buying.
The only way to get up close to some of the wild animals that call Costa Rica home is to spot them with binoculars. You’ll hear a howler monkey long before you see one, so aim for the branches moving in the background, and bingo! If you’re quick you can catch them going from limb to limb through the trees.
Odd as it seems, if you are visiting the rain or cloud forest, the weather can be cool at times. It’s best to bring along a light-weight jacket or polar fleece to wear under your raincoat if need be.
Costa Rica is so much more than a beautiful beach destination, so get out and explore it! Hike through a rainforest or around an ancient volcano, go kayaking on the ocean, zip line through the trees, soak in natural hot springs, try new foods – your options are endless. Most resorts offer half-day and full-day tours or you can conveniently split your stay between the beach and the rainforest.
Everyone flying out of Costa Rica is required to pay a departure tax of approximately $29 U.S. dollars, and it is not included in the price of your ticket. You can pay with U.S. dollars, Costa Rican Colones, or a Visa® credit card – but note: an additional fee of approximately $15 applies when using a Visa® credit card. Fees are approximate and subject to change.
Lori is a content writer at Sun Country Airlines. When it comes to what she loves most about Sun Country, it’s all about the affordability and nonstop flights from MSP (oh, and the ease of Terminal 2). Her favorite destinations are the ones she hasn’t been to yet, but can’t wait to explore, including Portland, Austin, and Santa Rosa.