What To Pack For Your Vacation To Costa Rica

Costa Rican life lends itself to a simple life. The most famous expression in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” which translates to “Pure Life”. Pure Vida living is what motivates Costa Ricans to enjoy life and live each moment fully.

For this reason, the list of things you need to bring to Costa Rica to enjoy your vacation is small and light.

Traveling light allows you more freedom to move from place to place more effortlessly without the mental burden of worrying about your stuff on your journey.

Presented below is a practical list filed in the order of importance. We’ve got all the essentials you need to pack for a trip to Costa Rica and Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa.

What To Pack For Your Vacation To Costa Rica


1. Passport – This might be obvious, but make sure your passport is current and up to date. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity. (There is NO visa required to travel to Costa Rica.)

2. If you are entering Costa Rica from South America (any country that is south, you will be required to show proof of having a yellow fever vaccination.

3. Money – bringing some cash is great, but you can use your credit cards everywhere you go. (Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa accepts Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.) For safety reasons we encourage people to travel with as little cash as possible and we recommend bringing lots of small bills for easier currency exchange and small store change. You will need cash when taking taxis around San Jose or for drinking street snacks, such as a batido (fruit smoothie).

4. Tooth brush and toothpaste – don’t worry if you forget yours. Both of these items can be easily purchased anywhere. !Pura Vida!


Photo by Markus Grossalber via Flickr

5. Yoga Mat – if you decide not to bring your yoga mat to Blue Osa, don’t worry, we got you covered. We do have them available for you.

6. 2 or 3 pairs of shorts.

7. 3 or 4 tank tops. You can also bring some t-shirts, but most establishments will allow dressing in a tank.

8. Sandals, flips flops, or Tevas – you do not need a lot of footwear. You may consider bringing some old sneakers for hiking in waterfalls and in the jungle. Expect your shoes to get wet and not dry fully before your departure. Sturdy shoes are essential for any adventure.

9. 1 pair long pants – this may be the pair of pants you wear on your flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. At certain times of the year, the nights in San Jose can get quite cool. Also, if you plan to take a side trip to the mountains before or after your yoga retreat or escape at Blue Osa, you will definitely need to bring some warmer clothing for those cool evenings.


10. Journal and pen – these items are difficult to find. So many people journey to Costa Rica to spend some much-needed time to contemplate the meaning and direction of their lives. A powerful practice in yoga is to take the time to journal your thoughts, ideas, dreams and goals. Additionally, if you are on a yoga retreat, many teachers will spend time offering Dharma Talks sharing the ideas and values of the yoga tradition. You will receive invaluable insights from these moments and want to write them down.

What To Pack For Vacation To Costa Rica A Journal And Pen For Taking Notes

11. Bathing suit – essential for the beach. Some guests like to take advantage of the isolated and mostly private beaches in Costa Rica and go “sin ropas”. While you probably will never see a police officer strolling the beaches, please be aware that nudity is not allowed. So if you plan on taking your clothes off make sure to have a sarong nearby in the event that a family shows up.

12. You DO NOT need to bring a beach towel. Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa, as well as most hotels, provide these.

13. A camera/binoculars – you never know what whales might be breaching in the distance, monkeys might be swinging from the trees, or interesting birds you might want to capture. If you are a birder stopping by Blue Osa we suggest you join our naturalist guide, Fillo, for a journey into the jungle. He will bring his large telescope and give a close-up view of life in the rainforest.

14. Underwear and socks – not essential but bring as much as you think you need, then return 75% back to the sock/underwear drawer.

15. A flashlight is an essential part of your vacation to Costa Rica. Blue Osa is an eco-resort, and as such has low lighting at night. Having a flashlight ensures that you will be able to find your way around without stepping on any creatures that may be on the path.

16. Sunscreen – Another essential item for your vacation to the tropics. Sunscreen is readily available in most stores in Costa Rica, as well as the Blue Osa Boutique.

What To Pack For Vacation To Costa Rica Sunscreen for Playa Tamales

17. Makeup – women rarely find that they enjoy wearing makeup in Costa Rica. The humid and warmer climates can make it uncomfortable.

18. Leave your blow dryers at home – most hotels and resorts provide hair dryers, however, those types of electronics are NOT allowed at Blue Osa because our solar-generated power system cannot handle the voltage.

19. An umbrella.

Please tell us in the comments section below how you have customized your list of what to bring when you travel and any tips you might have.

BONUS:Coming to Costa Rica for one of Blue Osa’s yoga teacher trainings? Check out this special packing list for a 30-Day Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica that we’ve created just for you!


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