Essentials for a Costa Rican Vacation
- the first of a two-part series - "The Essentials to Pack for a Costa Rican Vacation".
Personal Effects to Have On-Hand - beyond the usual
Wallet: Include in your wallet only what you must and leave the rest at home For travel, an outdoor, waterproof, wallet with Velcro closures is a good investment. Consider a shocking-orange or lime-green colors, so bright that it shouts at you if you leave it carelessly. Keep a photo-copy of all your cards somewhere safe in a separate location. In addition, carry a recent photograph of all people travelling in your party, just in case you lose sight of someone. Save a copy on a cloud drive facility.
Eyeware: Do not forget your prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. If needed stores carry regular sunglasses reading glasses. But its always better to bring with you, since this can be a hassle. An extra pair of spectacles packed in a durable carrying case will be handy. Similarly, remember your contact lenses and their maintenance kits.
Language: The native language is Spanish in Costa Rica so a ‘pocket sized’ Spanish/English language translator will come in handy unless you are fluent in Spanish. When asking someone for help, apologize a little for not speaking their native language with, “Perdón, no hablo bien Español, ¿me puedes ayudar?” The people of Costa Rica are generally friendly and humble so this always breaks the tension when approaching a Tico or Tica.. Try jotting down frequently used phrases on a ‘cue card’ to carry along.
Map: An up to date detailed map of Costa Rica Travel Map showing the roadways, scenic highlights, Parks and other points of special interest is an essential for the whole family. They can be purchased online or when you get there. A map with a bi-lingual legend and printed on waterproof paper, will be both useful and make a keepsake.
Sun and Rain: The tropical sun and rain storms are strong in Costa Rica. Bring along a hat and perhaps buy a handy umbrella (costing under $10) or poncho. Both are essentials for your Costa Rica adventure.
Birds: Tropical bird guides will go well with lightweight binoculars. Bird watching is both a terrific hobby and diversion - and you will enjoy many gorgeous one when roaming through the Blue River Resort and Hot Spring’s botanical gardens. These are available at most tourist shops.
Climate in Costa Rica
- In the interior of Costa Rica, the climate can be tropical warm, damp, humid and often rainy.
- At the beach, the air is drier and conditions are typically sunny and windy.
- At nights, the temperature cools down a little. The higher the elevation the cooler the evening temperature will be.
These back-of-the hand general guidelines are also affected by seasonality which do not correspond to the northern hemisphere seasons.
Clothing to Bring
Most Costa Rican’s are poor, humble, and yet proud people. These natives frown on the overly casual attire of the gringos. But unless you are doing business most vacation destinations are fine with shorts and flip-flops (like at the beach and at Blue River Resort and Hot Springs). At the Blue River Resort, guests are welcome to relax however they feel most comfortable. On tours, shorts may not be advisable due to exposure to biting bugs. In the evenings at the the Tici Bar and Restaurant it’s nice to be a little more formal.
A good fabric choice is something, lighter, casual, and synthetic that will dry quickly after a rain. Nylon and other light, quick drying materials are best in the damp surroundings and for bug protection.Do not forget to take:
- T-Shirts (a few long-sleeved ones for nature hikes in the bush)
- Whatever quantity of underwear and socks needed for the duration, additionally take three extra pairs of each, just in case you get rain drenched or if the washing fails to dry quickly enough.
- In the evenings temperatures will be cooler at higher elevations, a sweat shirt is suitable.
- Baseball and other brimmed hats that offer protection to the face from sunburn are useful but take them off when entering a building.
- Sleepwear is whatever makes you most comfortable, the air-conditioned cabanas at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs create the right environment for your comfort.
Everyone has his or her preference of footwear. Serious hikers need protective boots-but these are heavy. The average person can be comfortable and protected in a good pair of outdoor walking/ hiking shoes with an aggressive grip pattern. Weighing less than two pounds, these shoes must offer good all-round support and complete toe protection.
- Fit all shoes late in the day when your feet are at their largest. Try them wearing the same type of socks that you plan to wear in the outdoors.
- Be sure shoes are worn-in before setting out on a long hike. Blisters can spoil a holiday.
- If you are prone to blisters, you may want to wear liners under the socks to reduce chafing. One blister can spoil an otherwise wonderful vacation.
- Always lace your walking shoes tightly, making sure not to cut off the blood circulation in the process.
- Pick a good retail store and ask them for their opinion on a suitable outdoor styled rugged, lightweight, ‘toe-protected’, shoe for hiking, walking, and/ or horseback riding.
- River or Ocean Sandals are good for places like the Junquillal National Park’s beach or on White Water Rafting exploits.
- Sandals- Not flip-flops. Wear the leather or other more upscale styled sandals for informal dressing.
In the next article, a checklist of items you may want to take with you to your Costa Rican get away.