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The essentials for your stay in Costa Rica

The key to a successful trip is good preparation. There’s nothing more unpleasant than when, at the other end of the world, you discover that you’ve forgotten the essentials, such as your razor, the flashlight that will come in so handy or your little one’s blankie.

Costa Rica Découverte gives you a few tips to help you prepare for your trip, and above all not to forget the essentials.

Before heading to Costa Rica:

  • check your travel documents and assemble them in a folder,
  • copies of your passports and driving licenses.
  • original driver’s license (no need for an international license)

First-aid kit essentials:

  • Paracetamol (avoid aspirin)
  • Antiseptic spray or individual packs
  • Gauze, plasters, bandages
  • Anti-diarrheal such as Peptobismol
  • High-protection sun cream
  • Safety pins
  • Mosquito repellent – In Costa Rica, you’ll find highly effective OFF in all grocery stores.

Carry on luggage, the essentials

Always pack a full carry-on bag so that you have 2 or 3 days’ worth of personal belongings in case your hold baggage doesn’t arrive.

Make a list about 15 days before departure, so that you have time to buy the last few things you need.
Prepare a light toiletry kit for the cabin.


  • Keep samples of hotel shampoos, soaps and creams, or buy small bottles to transfer your own products. If you have a regular perfume shop, ask them for a sample of your perfume (e.g. Yves Rocher, Sephora) and your usual creams. Mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick are allowed.
  • Exclude sharp objects: scissors, nail clippers, razor… If you shave mechanically, you’ll need to bring a small can of shaving foam or gel, as conventional formats will be rejected. You can try a razor, but there’s no guarantee that it will be accepted. If it is refused, you’ll find them at most airports.
  • If you are taking medical treatment, remember to take the corresponding prescription to prove the need for the medication.
  • Bring 2/3 days worth of clothing in the cabin, taking into account any excursions planned on arrival. Ideally, one piece of luggage per person. Bring comfortable shoes and always wear something a little warmer, even in the tropics.
  • If you plan to take part in rafting, canopy or canyoning activities, pack the necessary footwear and clothing in this bag.

Checked baggage


Make sure your clothing is light, in cotton, linen… Avoid synthetics. Lightweight pants for coastal areas and the dry season (jeans are to be avoided). If you’re staying in Tortuguero, on the Osa Peninsula, make sure your clothing dries quickly. Humidity levels are very high and thick cottons have difficulty drying.

The poncho is the ideal garment for a trip even in rainy weather. Cameras and binoculars are protected and easily accessible.

Bring a fleece or warmer clothing for all seasons. If you’re planning high-altitude visits, such as to the Poas and Irazu volcanoes, Turrialba and Chirripo, you’ll need warm clothing.


  • water bottle
  • binoculars and/or cameras
  • swimsuits and pareos instead of towels – the latter are very hard to dry.
  • cap or hat
  • sunglasses
  • plastic sandals
  • hiking and trekking shoes or plastic boots (ideal!)
  • Ziploc-type plastic bags of various sizes (for cameras and wet items)
  • electric torch (in the hold)
  • water bottle
  • Swiss Army knife (in hold)

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