The Ultimate Guide To Best Costa Rica Packing List for Rainy Season
By: Jenni and Chase
Preparing for a trip to Costa Rica? What to pack for Costa Rica Rainy Season is a fantastic question so we have broken it down for women and men.
When we pack for trips we always opt in for the minimalistic route. We pack clothing and gear that can be multi-functional. In a location like Costa Rica, you need to protect yourself from two things; the sun and the bugs. The weather is extremely warm regardless of if it’s a dry or wet season so finding a few pair of pants that are breathable, flexible, and comfortable are essential. Bringing a jacket that is waterproof/resistant should also be a priority. With all the camera equipment below we also suggest you waterproof your camera bag as much as possible.
For Women: Best Costa Rica Packing List for Rainy Season (May)
1: Camera: Canon 70D DSLR
3: 3 batteries, charger, and 2 64gb memory cards
Deuter Act Lite 60+10L
Hiking Shoes: Keen Versatrail hiking shoe in shark and lilac pastel.
This hiking/running shoe hybrid is lightweight and perfect to pack and wear for any occasion- whether you want to wear it casually or for a challenging trail. These are my favorite hiking shoes and I absolutely recommend to anyone who’s looking for a versatile hiking shoe because they are the most comfortable hiking shoes I own, and they have a really practical draw lace so you don’t have to worry about your laces coming undone.
Rain Jacket: The North Face Kindling jacket
This waterproof jacket is made from recycled plastic bottles, with reflective elements that make it easy to spot you in dark conditions and adjustable sides that allow you to make the jacket appear more A-line and fitted. I love the traditional bright yellow raincoat to contrast the lush greens in the rainforests of Costa Rica.
- 1 pair of nude flip flops -easy to match with a variety of outfits and practical for the beach.
- 1 pair of grey tennis shoes -easy to match with, compact and easy to pack and suitable for light walking and easy trails.
- 1 Umbrella.
- 1 hat.
- 1 small backpack- to pack for daily activities (highly recommended).
- 4 basic undershirts/tank tops in grey, white, nude and black.
- 2 shirts.
- 5 shorts in light blue denim, white denim, hiking/athletic shorts, and two casual printed shorts.
- 2 bikinis.
- 1 long sleeve shirt.
- 1 t-shirt.
- 1 pair of leggings.
- 1 dress.
- 1 hoodie -for the plane rides (it was absolutely freezing on the planes).
- 1 lightweight pullover sweaters -for chilly evenings or protection from the sun.
- 1 lightweight cardigan.
- 8 pairs of underwear.
- 8 socks.
- 1 bra.
- 1 bralette.
- 1 PJ.
All natural bug spray made from essential oils – an absolute must whether you plan on doing national parks, jungle hikes or even beach days- there are bugs everywhere!
Sunscreen– even in the wet season, as you move more south, the sun is quite strong especially if you’re planning on swimming in the ocean or laying on the beach (I use coconut oil and raspberry seed oil).
- Coconut oil -as my all over body and face moisturizer.
- A hairbrush.
- Hair ties.
- A book to read on the flight.
- Travel journal -to document my days so I don’t forget special details, feelings, and events.
- Travel documents.
Note: For all clothing items, because of the humidity and constant rain during the wet season, I recommend packing more than you typically would require because it’s really hard to get clothing to dry. I was counting on re-wearing some items to save space in my suitcase and I did some laundry in the sink while we were there because we got sandy and muddy a few times, and our garments stayed really damp even after 24 hours of drying time.
For Men: Best Costa Rica Packing List for Rainy Season (May)
- Tamrac Camera Bag.
- Full Frame Camera – Canon 5D Mark III.
- Canon – 24-105mm f/4.0.
- Telephoto lens – 70-200mm f/4.0 (not my best lens but essential for capturing some up close moments when you can’t physically be there. Bring a UV filter and/or Polarizer for glare.
- 50mm f1.8 for portraits, some night shots, and video.
- Ultra-Wide Angle 14mm f/2.8: for ice caves, behind waterfalls, tight quarters, and night photography I recommend this lens.
- Wide Angle 35mm f/1.4: I like to use this lens for astrophotography and for landscapes with my Lee Filters as it’s the same ring size of 77mm.
- Tripod – sturdy and can handle high winds – Mine is a photography/videography tripod – used for long exposure day and night, and self-portraits. As well as for composite, panorama images. Manfrotto.
- Lee Filter Kit – I have the Big Lee Stopper and the Little Lee Stopper and the 77mm screw in. I just purchased this online and got hammered on the exchange rates etc but I don’t care these filters will ensure my photography is next level. It makes boring skies exceptional, still waters that look mysterious, and exciting skies/water into breathtaking works of art. Use this link here and get my kit, trust me on this one. There is only one dealer in Canada in Toronto, but either way, I like the way they bundle it together here on Amazon.
- Polarizing Filter for standard lens and telephoto – which I plan on using while doing a long exposure and just regular shooting – it makes the editing less painful after to try and recreate the contract/vibrance.
- UV Filters to protect your lens from dirt, water, and grime while camping.
- Remote shutter with a schedule – to shoot time lapses at night while I sleep.
- Rode Microphone – I like this particular model especially while traveling.
- Extra Canon Batteries! I can’t say how I’m going to charge my stuff but either way I’m not getting caught with a dead battery I’m bringing 4. Again here is the link!
- Memory Card Peace of Mind– If you aren’t bringing your laptop bring multiple cards as a backup and store them in a waterproof ziplock bag within your backpack. I’m bringing a 128GB flash, 64GB flash, 8GB flash, and I have a 32GB SD.
- Tarmac Camera Bag.
- Waterproof 10L diver bag – A scuba 10L bag will do or anything at Atmosphere, MEC, or the like just make sure you can put your camera in there with your biggest lens in a moments notice when the rain comes!
- Travel Backpack.
- Deuter Act Lite 65+10L Men’s.
Keen Versatrail Hiking Shoes – I just got these hybrid hiking/running (called versatrail) shoes and I’m obsessed with them. They are so comfortable and breathable and offer foot support greater than just a running shoe. I really put them to the test in Costa Rica and although they were soaked from the downpours, the shoes did not cause any blisters or anything even while wet. (They can protect from light rain but not the puddles we went through).
I highly recommend the Keen Versatrail shoe. I ordered online, my regular size 12 and they fit perfect and the color I chose was the Raven/Black. Also, the shoes have no laces to tie just a drawstring type of design.
Keen Uneek running shoe – these are definitely unique and easily the most versatile shoe I’ve ever owned. They can be soaked and completely dry in no time at all. They are lightweight and can be pushed at the bottom of your pack without compromising the structure or integrity of the shoe. Check out our official review here and where you can get them
Arcteryx Beta LT Hybrid Shell (my neon green jacket) I use this year round for all of my trips both close and far. You can pack it in any backpack without it bunching up or taking up much space. I often put this in my camera bag for just in case situations. You can use it for the torrential downpours or cover yourself from the heat. By far one of my favorite pieces of travel gear
The North Face – Apex Shellrock. I just got this jacket and put it to good use in the Costa Rican rain! I like this jacket quite a bit for the evening hikes, but after some time in the heavy rain, I found the jacket to get extremely damp in a short period of time. So this jacket ended up being my staple when I needed to hide from the mosquitos.
7 T-shirts. So I found out the hard way that in Costa Rica during the rainy season your stuff will not dry even in your hotel room! We were sweating almost instantly after leaving our hotel room at 6 am, so if it wasn’t the rain getting our gear wet, it was our sweat. Very attractive I know! That being said, I would recommend bringing a few extra shirts if you know the place you’re staying doesn’t. My favorite shirts I brought were the Royal Robbins collection, Saxx Shirts, and my men’s Lululemon long sleeve.
3 pairs of shorts – I packed two pairs from Royal Robbins which are amazing for traveling and hiking. Whenever I wear shorts, I always tend to lose something out of my pockets. The Royal Robbins shorts have two pockets in each pocket with a zipper. I am always paranoid about losing my cellphone and the rental car keys so having them zipped up made that anxiety go away completely
2 Swimsuits – Having 2 swimsuits was not necessary, but I used the one pair for working out at the gym. They take up next to no space so I just added them in there. It actually worked out well to have two because they would take forever to dry out.
7 pairs of ankle socks and 1 long pair. Socks on socks. Having comfortable feet is essential to being able to hike long and far. Your choices to bring a lot of socks vs. a little is limited without laundry services nearby or being in one location for a good chunk of time to do laundry. I could have definitely worn my socks on multiple days, but some of them I just threw out without giving them a second chance. The mud on some of the trails just destroyed any future hopes for those socks!
- Passport – ensure that your passport is valid at least 6 months prior to travel.
- Contacts/Glasses – I will have my glasses on my carry on and extra contacts in my carry on.
- International Driver’s License – not necessary but just in case.
- Driver’s License – a must for rental cars.
- U.S. Cash – $20, $10, $5, $1 increments .
- Flip-flops / sandals.
- Microfibre camera wipes.
- Compact umbrella.
- 2 Hats.
Let us know if you would pack differently or if we missed something that you would pack for Costa Rica rainy season.