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Travel Rookie

5 years ago by

Travel Rookie

It has been 2 loonnnnnggg years since my last vacation – but alas, in less than a week I will be embracing my inner tropical vibes in Costa Rica for 5 whole glorious days!

Jungle hikes, marine tours, hot spring baths, ocean view massages, unlimited food and drinks (hello all inclusive resorts) – here I come! The excitement is overwhelming, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that this is my first true adult vacation (unless you want to count the ol’ college spring break trip to Mexico?). You see, I laid out all of our plans, myself, and it feels surprisingly good to have a real itinerary rather than just going in blind – which would probably leave us lounging by the pool the whole time (though I can’t say that’s a bad thing…).

The thing is, planning like an adult, means preparing like one. And that’s why I’m freaking out. I haven’t even begun to think about what I am going to pack. What toiletries do I need, how many outfits do I bring (in particular – what kind), and makeup, do I need it at all??? Ahhh so many questions! It’s daunting when your list of activities includes all of the above.

That’s why I am calling all experienced travelers – I need your help. Have any of you been to Costa Rica? What should I expect? Do I keep it simple? What are the necessities for a trip like this?


Add yours
  • Alas, I have not been to Costa Rica. But I traveled enough that I needed to get extra pages in my passport, even though I lived in the passport-stamp-free EU. That is to say, I travel A LOT.
    1. You are young and therefore beautiful. Don’t argue. You will never again be as gorgeous as you are now. So ditch the makeup. OK, you can have some mascara. But nothing else!
    2. Take shoes that won’t make your feet scream. Two pairs.
    3. You can wear the exact same thing every day and nobody but your travel companion will know. Do you think hotel staff (or other guests) pay attention to what guests wear? Maybe if they’re in fuchsia fur. But otherwise….NO. Their minds are elsewhere. Pack light and leave room for souvenirs. Maybe even clothes.
    4. Have fun.

  • Costa-Rica IS beautiful, so be natural, confortable and enjoy it!
    5 days is short, take time to breath and listen to it.
    Beach = bikini, hat, little tunique. Jungle= confortable, short or light cargo, walking shoes. Evening= little flower dress, or mini-skirt…
    Do not forget repelent, sun screen… and buy their coconut oil, perfect for skin + hair! Add little mascara and lipstick for the evening, done!

  • Lucky you! Costa Rica is all about nature and contrasts… If you go in the mountains, or around the volcanos, it is colder. The beach is warm but very humid, you can have some tropical rainfall everyday. The weather can be very fickle, but that is part of the trip! I was very happy there with loose and simple clothes, good shoes (if you have Crocs, they will be very useful), a lot of repelent and after-sun cream. Bon voyage !

  • Two main points of advice for outdoorsy adventures:

    -Make a packing list, so that you can tick everything off. Then keep it for your next trip, to adapt and re-use. Seriously saves a lot of stress and time!

    -Invest in a few important pieces of outdoor gear as necessary, but don’t go on a spending spree at REI. Will it be rainy? A decent rain jacket (which does not mean expensive) and an extra pair of comfy shoes will probably suffice to keep you dry and comfortable. If the terrain on the hike is rough (the guide company should be able to tell you/make recommendations), a cheap (but preferably no the cheapest!) pair of hiking shoes with ankle support will probably help. But if you won’t ever use the things again, maybe stick with good running shoes with grip. Actually they may even provide you with big rubber rainboots for a jungle hike to protect from snakes etc, so that may be a moot point!

  • Oh and at least one pair of moisture-wicking socks for your hike, regardless of shoe type! Merino wool is amazing, and is not hot for hiking, despite the fact that it is wool. Cotton socks for hiking are miserable and rub with the first sign of moisture!

  • I lived in Costa for two months last summer and packing depends on what you plan on doing. Overall, the vibe is very chill, pura vida is truly the Costa Rican way of life. For the beach, you don’t need more more than bathing suits and dresses for dinner. If you plan on hiking in jungles, I would recommend long pants and sneakers to avoid bug bites. If you are going to Monteverde (also called the cloud forest- literally a high altitude jungle with clouds blowing through) you need layers and a waterproof jacket. The one thing you MUST bring is bug repellent with DEET, the mosquitoes are relentless. Have fun!

  • Thank you all for the advice! I had a wonderful time and was well prepared :) Costa Rica is such a unique country filled with wonderful people and plenty to do – I will definitely return. Safe and happy travels this holiday season!

    xo Tori

  • I just traveled to South America, and there were a few things that I was very glad that I packed.

    Moisture wicking socks are great to have if you are going to go hiking. I went hiking with a group, and everyone was complaining how soggy their feet were, and mine were comfortable and dry. I purchased hiking boots for the trip, and I was able to get a great deal on boys’ sized Timberland hiking boots from DSW that were extremely comfortable.

    I purchased Eau Roma Water from Lush, which is a toner with lavender and rose water that I initially bought to use on the plane because my skin gets really dry. It was great for that, but I ended up using it everyday on my trip. I found it to be very soothing to spray on bug bites, and it really helped with the itch.

    A disposable poncho is also great to have because they are very small and are extremely helpful if you get caught in a downpour.

    I purchased a Owl Silicone Travel Bottles Set on Amazon, and the travel bottles are the best travel bottles that I have used! They are extremely well designed, have suction cups on them, so you can stick them on the wall in the shower, they are BPA free, and are leak proof.


  • Samantha McKay May, 29 2017, 2:50 / Reply

    Tori! Where about’s in CR did you go?

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