Preparing for Costa Rica during Rainy Season

We are now T-2 days before heading off to beautiful Costa Rica and Ian and I are absolutely stoked! Things have been incredibly busy with our work schedules, so we are more than excited to take a week off and enjoy the natural beauties of Costa Rica. That being said, we have been preparing for our trip and with two days until our departure we have begun packing.

I thought I would share our packing list and to share our preparation experience with you all. I plan on bringing my laptop down with us, so I hope to document our journey on here, so please tune in for Costa Rica updates and adventures!

That all being said, let’s dive into our trip preparation!

waterfalls between trees at daytime
Source: Miguel Bruna

Months of Preparation

Months ago my mom invited Ian and I to join her for her birthday in Costa Rica and we just knew that we had to go. We then began preparing for our trip by Ian applying for his passport. Seeing how expensive plane tickets to Costa Rica were to and from Portland, I began putting away $50 a paycheck over the span of ~ 7 months to save for our flights rather than having to come up with all of the money up front. I always make sure to track flight prices before booking my flights, so I used a combination of the following apps and websites:

  • Hopper – an app that tracks and predicts prices on flights. This app is awesome because it will use data trends in flight prices to let you know when is the best time to purchase your flights. The app even will give you a notification when a flight that you are tracking has reached a record low indicating that you should book soon. It’s awesome and I highly recommend everyone use it. Screenshot_20190822-212723.png
  • Google flights – this is a no brainer, but is something I like to use to track flight prices. You can even set up notifications on google flights where you receive an email notifying you of price drops. It’s also a great way to see which airline is offering the best rates for a flight. (Keep in mind: Google flights does not often times include budget airlines such as Southwest Airlines)
  • Skyscanner – this website is awesome. It makes finding cheap flights easy to find but also has the ability to allow you to search for the cheapest flights anywhere.. meaning, if you want to just travel somewhere but do not know where, you can type in “Everywhere” as your destination to see where your cheapest flight options are for the date range entered (you can also set your dates to “cheapest month”). I did not use this much for this trip since I knew where and when I needed to travel, but I think it is a website you should all know about. skyscanner_everywhereskyscanner

I have a few more websites that I like to use when planning my travels, but the main resources I used for this trip were: Hopper & Google Flights. If you want to know more about how I like to find cheap flights let me know and I can write up a post on my favorite ways to save money on flights.

Week of Preparation

Once our flights were booked, there was not much for us to prepare until this past week. Being the type A person I am, I wanted to make sure that Ian and I did not need to scramble at all this week before heading off on our first international adventure together. That being said, I made sure to do my research on Costa Rica and what to pack / expect from the weather, climate, and culture there. It was after doing research that I discovered that mosquitoes and UV rays in Costa Rica are quite strong and definitely present. The mosquitoes in Costa Rica do not typically carry malaria but rather a virus called the dengue fever or “breakbone fever”. While I do not think it is likely that Ian or I will catch the dengue fever, I would rather take precaution by using one of the strongest mosquito repellants on the market. I don’t play around guys.

That being said, this past Saturday Ian and I headed to REI for their mosquito repellent with 98% percent DEET called “Jungle Juice” which Ian thought was funny. I read on multiple blogs that mosquitoes in Costa Rica are pesky little buggers and need lots of DEET to stay away, so I decided to purchase this mosquito repellant to do the trick along with mosquito repellent bands. I know that DEET is a controversial chemical seeing that some believe it to be a carcinogen, but researchers have actually not found enough solid evidence that DEET actually causes cancer in humans. That being said, I do not plan on using DEET on a regular basis but in this case, I am definitely for using it if it can prevent me from being eaten alive (thanks to mosquitoes loving me and my body hating them) or potentially getting dengue fever.

Along with mosquito repellant, we picked up mineral sunscreen with SPF 50, a waterproofing spray (kit) so that we could re-waterproof our raincoats, and ziploc bags to prevent our phones or my camera from water damage.

Costa Rica Packing List

With two days until departing for Costa Rica, we began packing for our trip with everything we needed already purchased.

Costa Rica Packing List (1)

Above you can see my packing list for 7 days in Costa Rica. I did not include my travel clothing to their since that is something that I will not be packing but rather wearing there.

As for a few of the stranger items such as the metal straws and coffee thermos, I actually included these items due to my efforts in reducing my consumption of paper and plastic products. With the Amazonian fire currently happening, I want to make sure that I am doing my part in the environment by using more reusable products. Plastic straws are not biodegradable, so I try to bring my metal straws with me whenever possible. I know, call me crazy, but I hate thinking about all of the waste and harm they cause. Want to learn about the impact of plastic straws on the environment? Read about it here.

While I would like to cut down on plastic and bring my water bottle with me to Costa Rica, I will be leaving it at home. My stomach is extremely sensitive and has a difficult time adjusting to water changes (especially in Peru -_- ) so I will be avoiding drinking tap water there even though most areas in Costa Rica are safe. I have just had bad experiences in the past and do not want to ruin this trip because my stomach can’t handle foreign tap water.

Source: Miguel Bruna

Now that my suitcase is packed and I know that I have everything I need for our trip, I can feel at ease about our travels. There are a few final items I will need to add to our suitcase, but for the most part our preparation is complete!

I am so excited to embark on this adventure and can’t wait to share this journey with you all 🙂 Stay tuned for some fun!

Your turn!

~ Are you a last minute packer or do you like to take time to prepare for trips?

~ What is your “must-have” travel essential?

~ Have you ever used any of the flight tracking tools mentioned above?




One thought on “Preparing for Costa Rica during Rainy Season

  1. I’m pretty much a last minute packer since I am usually traveling and know what to pack in a hurry. Must have to traveling is of course my passport and money. I need my phone for pics and to surf the net when I finally get to my hotel room. Also I use it to upload my fun pics of the trip. The only flight tracker I have used is hopper. I usually stick with one airlines since I love to rack up miles.
    Great travel article Britt! Can’t wait to see what you have to say about CR!


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