Costa Rica is a country with diverse geography and a variety of climate zones. To ensure that the weather doesn't put a damper on your trip, you should be prepared for the different possibilities. Due to minimal rain, Dry season is known as the prime time to visit Costa Rica. I visited during Rainy season and we did experience light rain showers most afternoons. It's even known to rain a bit during dry season, which may cause you to worry that your trip won't be as enjoyable. On top of that, you'll probably be more sweaty, dirty, and muddy than usual. Thankfully, proper preparation should minimize these "negative" effects. After spending time in multiple locations during the rainy season, I decided to compile a packing list to help you enjoy Costa Rica despite what the forecast may be or where adventure may take you.
Light, loose clothing - Overall, you can dress very casual in Costa Rica. Light clothing works best in the heat & clothes that don't wrinkle or stick to sweaty skin are very useful. Dri-fit is perfect! Leave the jeans & tight clothing at home!
Light Rain Jacket - Light showers occur often, even in the dry season so this is essential!
Pants or leggings for rainforest hikes - I wore shorts on my hike & ended up with scratches all over my legs. Opt for longer, looser bottoms for hikes or cooler nights!
Poncho - Perfect for light rain showers!
2-3 Easy dresses for the evenings - For the most part, you can keep it casual but it's great to have a few nicer outfits for dinners or going out.
Multiple swimsuits - One is unlikely to dry overnight.
Light long-sleeve sweater/shirt - Despite warm temperatures, it can get cooler at night.
Sturdy sneakers - Bring comfortable & sturdy sneakers that you don't mind getting dirty.
Hiking Boots - Best for intensive hiking!
Water shoes/Sandals (Tevas or Chacos) - Perfect for walking through rivers & waterfalls, because rocky bottoms can be painful.
At least 10 pairs of panties
Typical items - shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste etc.
Pure Aloe Vera gel - for cuts & sunburn
Dramamine - Great for windy car rides if you get motion sickness.
Mini First Aid Kit
Passport Copies, IDs, Card, Cash, etc.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser - I don't travel without this! This will do wonders for your wrinkly and/or smelly clothing while on the go!
Waterproof Backpack or Backpack cover
Multiple Plastic Bags for wet clothes/shoes + Ziplock Baggies
Microfiber towel - Quick drying for the beach and/or shower. Also, not all hostels provide towels!
Shower flip-flops - An absolute MUST for shared showers!
Waterbottle - Stay hydrated!
Padlock for hostel lockers