Arenal Costa Rica Packing List

I like to pack everything in small carry-on suitcase with a backpack or lightweight oversized purse as late planes can delay luggage and it’s not worth the worry or the hassle.  Despite this, I jampack in more than I think I need as the rain dampens everything and it does not dry out despite putting it “out to dry”.

  • 2 warm weather outfits per day (casual)
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • Raincoat and umbrella (we didn’t bring an umbrella just enjoyed the rain on our coats)
  • Hat
  • If you burn easy, having a multiclava is very useful to cover your neck, doubles as a headband
  • 2 Pairs of hiking shoes
  • Backpack for hiking and trips
  • Keen’s for the pool and watersports
  • 1 pair of long pants and lightweight long top (for coverage if you get burned)
  • The Usuals:  underwear, toiletries (all under 3 ounces), toothbrush, moneybelt, sunglasses, passports, copies of your itinerary, glasses, cell phone chargers
  • Empty water bottle – if you like to save money you can fill it up before you venture out.
  • Healthy snacks for the plane and long car ride to your hotel
  • If you want to wear your glasses ziplining or on adventures croakies or sunglasses straps
  • Binoculars for birding – guides will have fabulous binoculars so you might not need them.
  • Deck of cards
  • A book or download books on your Ipad or Kindle
  • Insect repellent (we didn’t end up using ours)
  • Sunscreen – it’s super expensive in Costa Rica… not sure why.
  • I also pack a large reusable bag – like the kind in TJ Maxx for .99 cents.  They are ideal for toting your towels and stuff to the pool or beach.
  • Camera, GoPro, Chargers and Cables
  • Dollars and cash for tipping – yes, despite what they tell you at the airport, everyone we met in Arenal took American dollars and they gave us a better exchange rate than we got at the airport or then you will get at your bank.  Of course, you never know so having some colones could be useful.  I did not find a case where we could not use our credit card or dollars.

Where on the plane your second long pair of pants and long sleeve top and a sweater, a scarf also is very handy as you can go from warm to cold in the air conditioning and it doubles as a blanket or a pillow.

Our kids also brought:  airplane neck pillow, favorite blankets, games like Exploding Kittens, jewelry, makeup, pretty dresses for a dress-up night.