Packing for a trip abroad is often subjective. Some people wing it and go the minimalist route while others overstuff multiple suitcases with things they don’t really need.

As a general rule, finding a middle ground between too much and too little by taking the time to lay out your expected itinerary is the best way to go. In this article, we explore the essentials you should bring with you when packing for Costa Rica.

Packing for Costa Rica: things to wear

Your first consideration when packing for Costa Rica will likely be the clothing you will need. Ideally, this should be a mix of lightweight, comfortable clothing and protective apparel.

Basic clothing

For basic clothing essentials, you will want lightweight apparel that doesn’t take up too much space including t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, long pants, socks, underwear, etc. Don’t overpack in this area because you will want to save room for beachwear, sandals and a good hat with a visor.

Protective apparel

When it comes to more protective apparel, you will want to include a waterproof coat, hiking boots for ecotours and fast-drying water shoes. You may also want to consider bringing a mesh bag to hold wet clothes.

Gear, toiletries and extras

Next, you will want to think about the gear, toiletries and accessories you will need.

Gear and accessories

The gear you bring when packing for Costa Rica will vary according to the activities you plan on doing. That said, here are some general recommendations:

  • A good pair of sunglasses (with a strap)
  • Towel
  • Collapsible bag
  • Waterproof map of Costa Rica
  • Books (wildlife guides, Spanish phrases, etc.)
  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • Camera and binoculars
  • Waterproof phone case


While you can find most of your toiletries in Costa Rica’s supermarkets and pharmacies, it doesn’t hurt to bring certain things and avoid wasting precious time in a line-up:

  • Sunscreen (SPF 45 or better)
  • First aid kit (band-aids, antibacterial cream, etc.)
  • Basic hygiene/feminine products
  • Tissues


The final, but perhaps most crucial, step in packing for Costa Rica is getting all your important documentation together.


The first and most obvious piece of documentation you need to pack is your passport. How else will you board the plane or visit impressive Costa Rica resorts?

Driver’s License and ID

Next up is your driver’s license and identification. This will be required if you want to rent a car in Costa Rica.

Insurance info

While not required, it is good to keep your insurance information on you in case of emergency.


As you can imagine, packing for Costa Rica requires slightly more forethought than a trip to a neighboring state or province. Always be sure to double and triple-check that you have everything you need.

If you are interested in having a rental car for your Costa Rica travels, don’t hesitate to contact us. Target Car Rental provides free GPS, extra driver and baby seats.