Alyssa’s Costa Rica Packing List: Must haves for your trip to the rain forest

Hi guys! Part 2 of my trip is coming soon, but in the meantime, I have a few friends headed to the rain forest so I wanted to share my packing list.

So, you’re going to Costa Rica! AWESOME! Here are five things that I found invaluable on my jungle adventure to Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. I was not compensated in any way by any of these companies; this is just from me to you to help out those wondering what the heck to bring on a trip to CR. This post does contain affiliate links, so if you click on the link, I may make four cents to fund my next trip to CR 😉



  • Rain Jacket

I liked my Columbia Rain Jacket, because at $44, it wasn’t terribly expensive but it WORKED! You definitely want something lightweight for Costa Rica because while it’s raining, it will also be around 85 degrees. This jacket, the Columbia Women’s Plus-Size Switchback II Jacket  came in a ton of different colors and goes up to a size 3X. Amazon offers it with free two day shipping for Prime members. It has a hood, folds up lightly, and dries quickly; an absolute must in the sauna of the jungle.



  • Hiking Shoes

I debated about wether or not to bring hiking shoes and I’m really glad I did. Some people suggest that rain boots will be fine for Costa Rica, and I don’t doubt they are, but I liked having shoes with a good amount of support in them and tread on the bottom. While most of the average tourist activities are not super intense, you’ll definitely want shoes with good traction to keep you up right on slick leaves, muddy ravines, and to grip the metal floor of the hanging bridges. I used the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Shoe here on Amazon, available in lots of cute colors up to a women’s size 11.

3) Bug Spray
Holy bugs! I learned my lesson in Thailand, which is, thou shalt always wear bug spray in the jungle. We used OFF in an aerosol, which smells only a little bit unpleasant, but is not sticky. It did its job quite well, because on the day I didn’t wear it (of my own forgetfulness), I was a luscious leg buffet for Costa Rican mosquitoes.
Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent V, 25% DEET 6 oz

4) Gorilla Pod
Consider yourself an amateur photographer? No? Who cares! If you want awesome photos of yourself, your honey, or your family but don’t want to be reliant on the awkward German tourist to take it for you, you need a Gorilla Pod. Gorilla Pods run from $20 – $60 depending on your camera size, and have three legs that can stretch around ANYTHING, and I do mean anything: in my case, a wooden stump, a fallen tree trunk, and even a beat up old coconut on the beach floor. Verse yourself in your camera’s self timer function and enjoy the fact that gorgeous photos like the one below can still be taken without awkward German tourist’s assistance. (Disclaimer: I love awkward German tourists. I probably look like one myself.)

This picture was possible thanks to the Gorilla pod! I wrapped the legs around a random wood post on the side of the road.

This picture was possible thanks to the Gorilla pod! I wrapped the legs around a random wood post on the side of the road.

5) Stink Proof Bag

I have no idea what the proper name for this is. Let’s see… Tide Stinkproof Bag. Okay. Time for some truth. The jungle is wet. Your body becomes wet, from sweat, rain, bodily fluids, whatever. (I know, eww, but true.) You will stink. After two days in the jungle, your suitcase will take on a slightly sour smell. After three days in the jungle, it will smell like a New York Dumpster on a summer day. After five days or even seven? Forget it. Your suitcase should have a radioactive hazardous material sticker slapped it over, and be sent right to the incinerator, because HOT DAMN, it will stink. I have a stink proof bag I got for free, and now I am wishing I had a better quality stink proof bag, or even some of these cheap mesh laundry bags, because my bag STINKS. In the jungle, your wet swim suit won’t dry. It will just take on varying stages of dampness, from still in the pool wet to “Does this fabric ever dry?” wet. Your bag will stink whether or not you use a stink proof bag, but it will stink a little less with a stink proof bag. Do it.

Other things you definitely want? Lightweight, breathable pants. Ziploc bags, for covering your camera when it rains. Sunscreen, and lots of it. Chapstick. Extra underwear. Your camera and electronics chargers. Snacks, because many of the drives through Costa Rica are through very remote places.

Got other must haves for a Costa Rican or Rain Forest expedition? Leave them in the comments and I’ll add them as I go.

3 thoughts on “Alyssa’s Costa Rica Packing List: Must haves for your trip to the rain forest

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