What to pack for Costa Rica Rainy Season is a fantastic question so we have broken it down for women and men. We have links for our recommended camera gear as well which most of it is available on Amazon at discounted prices which definitely has helped us travel more!
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 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.
Jenni – What to pack for Costa Rica Rainy Season for Women
Camera: Canon 70D DSLR
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 light weight and perfect to pack and wear for any occasion- whether you want to wear it casually or for a challenging trail. These are my favourite hiking shoes and I absolutely recommend to anyone whose 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 in yellow
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 rain coat 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 small backpack- to pack for daily activities (highly recommended)
4 basic undershirts/tank tops in grey, white, nude and black
5 shorts in light blue denim, white denim, hiking/athletic shorts and two casual printed shorts
1 long sleeve shirt
1 pair of leggings
1 hoodie -for the plane rides (it was absolutely freezing on the planes)
1 light weight pullover sweaters -for chilly evenings or protection from the sun
1 light weight cardigan
8 pairs of underwear
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 hair brush
a book to read on the flight
travel journal -to document my days so I don’t forget special details, feelings and events
Note: For all clothing items, because of the humidity and constant rain during 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.
Chase – What to pack for Costa Rica Rainy Season for Men
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 water falls, 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 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 schedule – to shoot time lapses at night while I sleep. Get one for around $20 on amazon here
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!
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 colour 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 to cover yourself from the heat. By far one of my favourite 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 rainy season your stuff will not dry even in your hotel room! We were sweating almost instantly after leaving our hotel room at 6am, 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 favourite 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 near by or being in one location for a good chunk of time to do laundry. I could have definitely wore my socks on multiple days, but some of them I just thew 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 traveling
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 and click here for our extra tips for Costa Rica first timers
Flip-flops / sandals
Microfibre camera wipes
Let us know if you would pack differently or if we missed something that you would pack for Costa Rica rainy season
Jenni and Chase