With Costa Rica being only between 8-11 degrees north of the equator, the weather is generally tropical. However, that can change based on the part of the country you visit and also the time of year because there is a dry and rainy season. What you bring depends on how long you plan to stay, when you come, and where you plan to travel. Also, you might want to wear something different for a hike through the jungle than you would wear lounging on the beach. After years of traveling and hosting guests we do advise that you pack light, but complete. If you plan to extend your trip and travel in Costa Rica before or after your retreat, here are a few suggestions to achieve this balance.
When you sign up for a retreat with us, we send you a suggested packing list and other valuable and important information to help you plan well so your trip is worry-free.
If you plan to wash clothes as you travel most hotels and lodging offer laundry services. Another option is quick dry clothing that you can wash and hang up to dry. Higher elevation destinations such as the Poás Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest approach 10,000 feet where it is cool enough to warrant a sweater or jacket. Most of the time you will be in the warm or hot zone at the beach or in the jungle. Here there is not only heat but humidity which is higher during the rainy season and minimal during the dry season. So it is not difficult to go through more than one shirt a day.
This depends on what you are planning on doing ‘ like hiking, beach walking, snorkeling or horseback riding. Clearly a good pair of sandals is a must. While sneakers are o.k. they can get wet, so a pair of lightweight nylon hiking boots might be a better option, like Keens or Tevas. In Santa Teresa, the dress code is casual (no high heels).
Keeping well hydrated in a tropical climate is very important. Vajra Sol gives each guest on the retreat a Kleen Kanteen water bottle which can be safely refilled at our retreat hotel.
Drinking tap water in most parts of the country is safe. Nevertheless, if you have a sensitive stomach bottled or filtered water is readily available in any local kiosk or supermarket (do keep in mind that plastic bottles are not the most eco-conscious product). It is always a good idea to carry water with you on any outing. Fresh fruits and salads are fine to eat in decent restaurants even the small local places called sodas. Just use your own judgment on whether the place appears clean or not.
It’s always entertaining to have something to read. E-book readers are practical to some degree but with the sand at the beach a paperback book comes in handy. If you are planning on traveling beyond the retreat you might have an easier time buying Costa Rica guides and maps in your country as well as a small Spanish/English dictionary or phrase book unless you plan to spend sometime near San José where you can find book stores.
- Passport valid for six months from arrival date in Costa Rica
- Money belt or money purse to carry documents and cash
- Cash: The airport has the worst exchange rate so check first. Most tourist-popular areas take US dollars. ATMs always give a good exchange rate and always have USD and Colones.
- Debit card and credit card: ATMs are in all medium size towns.
- Any important insurance cards