When I set out to pack and get things together for my trip I looked online for packing lists and what to bring for ages. I found some stuff helpful, but other things I had to learn on my own. This little list is what after being in Costa Rica for about a month now I know I couldn't get by without! I also included links for stuff to amazon to make it easy :)
Go Pro- Like I said in my last post, getting a Go Pro is a GREAT idea for Costa Rica. It is small, compact, offers great resolution, you can take it anywhere including water, get unique POV shots, and they are not that expensive. I got the HERO 4 silver (which has the built in screen- big bonus) for $325 brand new off craigslist! Also, you want to keep a low profile and not carry around big expensive equipment here or you might be targeted. Going swimming? Bring it with you in the ocean instead of leaving it on the beach to get stolen. Also, when backpacking this keeps your bag nice and light!
Vinyl purse- This is great thing to have. I have a knockoff Longchamp tote that is great for travel because it folds up nice and small when it is empty and I can slide it in my backpack. It is water proof (big bonus) and it is sturdy. I throw my 13 in Macbook in there, my go pro, my wallet with money/passport/ credit cards, snacks, my water bottle and a few other things on travel days and it all fits! I even spilled coffee on the outside of it and my things inside stayed dry and the bag looks fine on the outside! Maybe because I got the coffee colored bag that's why :) for $19.99 it is stylish and super functional. I added a button with the link to Amazon below!
Rubber Flip Flops- Okay, these are a MUST HAVE. I wear them basically 24/7. It is so hot you don't want to wear shoes, or even think about socks. You will need a pair of flip flops that can get wet and dry quickly for the beach, pool, and the most important one, showers. I have a pair of thicker strapped Havaiana's and they are good quality and a decent price if you shop around amazon for a cheaper color.
Reusable water bottle- This is a huge one. Costa Rican water is drinkable in most places. Only one place I visited (Santa Teresa in the Nicoya peninsula) I was advised NOT to drink the water. With a reusable water bottle, you can fill up at regular taps and save money on water. I actually prefer to drink bottled water anyway and so at the grocery store you can buy bigger 6 liter containers of water and just fill up from there. It is more earth friendly and cheaper than single serving small water bottles :) I have a nalgene type bottle with a carabeaner attached so I can clip it to anything.
Clothesline- This is incredibly useful for washing clothes on your own and being able to hang them to dry. Also its great for hanging bathing suits and other clothes when they get wet or stinky! The one I have is super thick/ strong elastic and has hooks to hook it on almost anything. Also, with the twisted elastic design you can save space and just tuck a corner of your clothes into the twist and it will hold!
Cheap Sunglasses- Protect your eyes! The sun is more more strong (being closer to the equator) and if you bring an expensive pair most likely you will loose them or break them. So brink a $5 pair and do all the extreme sports you want!
Bug Spray and Anti Itch- This is a huge one. Bug spray can be found here in stores for sure but is a lot more expensive for the american brands or ones with deet. I use OFF! Deep woods with 25% deet. If mosquitos like you, like they like me, you will get eaten alive. For me the bugs were worse at the beach cities than in the central valleys and mountains. Also, when you get bitten, a little hydrocortisone cream will do wonders when you are tormented at night while trying to sleep with a thousand itching bug bites.
No fee credit card- Last but not least, this is my favorite thing I brought. Having a credit card that doesn't charge an international fee is brilliant. At places that do take cards (grocery stores, most restaurants, most tour companies, most transportation companies, some hotels... not usually hostels though) it is really nice to just be able to pay with a card with the same freedom you would at home. With no fee added, you can swipe your card in the local currency and Visa decides the exchange rate, which is basically an up to the minute market rate. So you get the best price as well! Win! I have the Capital One Venture Visa Signature. If you spend 3 grand in the first month you get 40,000 bonus miles which is like $400 that you can spend on travel, cash, or whatever you want!
That is my short list of things I couldn't live without. I think in just about any tropical country all these things would come in handy. Happy Travels!
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Love and Light,