Costa Rica Packing Tips – How To Be Stylish In Heat & Humidity

Costa Rica Packing Tips – How To Be Stylish In Heat & Humidity


One of the hardest places to look even remotely good?  The rainforest. It’s hot, it’s humid, any make up you applied is probably smeared across your face by now and your clothes are soaked with sweat. But don’t despair… while I can’t tell you how to make your blowout last, there are a few Costa Rica packing tips that will help you stay stylish & comfortable!


Costa Rica Packing Tips – Hiking & Exploring The Jungle


Costa Rica Packing Tips – The Jungle & Hiking

>> If you’re going to the jungle, you’ll want to pack quick drying, long pants to protect you from plants and bugs (pictured: Lole UPF 50 Leggings). You will also appreciate long pants if you’re planning to go horseback riding. Lightweight tees are also ideal, like this Athleta Trailblazer Tee.

>> If you’re hiking, bring appropriate shoes: your everyday sneakers probably won’t work! If it’s during the rainy season, you may want to buy rubber boots once you arrive in Costa Rica – ask your tour operator. During the “dry” season waterproof hiking boots, like the above Hi-Tec boots, are ideal but if you’re not planning on anything too strenuous, I got by with trail running shoes like these Ahnu hiking sneakers.

>> After you hike in these shoes they are going to be  quite muddy and disgusting. Make sure you have a plastic bag to pack them in and protect the rest of your belongings. My recommendation is the Flight 001 Go Clean Boots Bag. This is one of the best Costa Rica packing tips that I have!

>> If you plan to hike to a waterfall and jump in (do it, it’s amazing and will feel incredible after all that sweating), bring a microfiber towel like this one from Devacurl. While you can probably borrow a towel from your hotel, these lightweight, packable towels will dry much faster and take up less space in your backpack.

>> Visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season? Bring a lightweight rain jacket or poncho for wearing during excursions. The Athleta Spritz jacket has an interesting print and will keep you dry, and as stylish as one can be in these situations.


Costa Rica Packing Tips – The Beach


Costa Rica Packing Tips – The Beach

>> If you’ll be spending time at the beach in Costa Rica, you should pack at least two bathing suits. That way while one is drying, you can wear the other one. The bikinis pictured above are from Nanette Lepore and Mara Hoffman.

>> You should also bring along two cover ups, preferably styles that can double as dresses for everyday wear to save space in your bag. You will need to wear a cover up to enter most stores and restaurants. The two I picked out are from Eberjey and Robin Piccone.

>> Flip flops and casual sandals are appropriate for the beach.

>> Whatever you do, do NOT forget sunscreen unless you want to wind up looking like a tomato! You won’t find any lists of Costa Rica packing tips that don’t encourage liberal sunscreen usage.


Costa Rica Packing Tips – Everyday Wear


Costa Rica Packing Tips - Everyday Wear

>> If you are planning a day of shopping or just wandering around in a touristy, beach area, more casual dress is totally fine. Think sundresses, shorts and a tank, skirts, etc. Dresses pictured above are from by&by, Asos, Forever 21, and Pink Stitch. The flat sandals are Loeffler Randall and the heels are French Connection.

>> In San Jose, people dress a little more stylishly. Even though it’s hot, you’ll see women wearing jeans, blazers, sweaters and booties. This might be tough for people who are used to less humidity, so just dress as you would in NYC or another major city in the summer

>> If you’re going out at night in Costa Rica, you’ll see that women in the city dress to impress. That means tight, short outfits and heels. I’m not a lover of things that are tight but fun dresses should definitely make it into your suitcase (or whatever you’re bringing).

>> If you’re traveling to Costa Rica during the rainy season, pack an umbrella to keep yourself dry while you are out and about in the city.  You’ll also want to bring a hat, like this straw fedora, to protect your face and scalp from the sun.

>> Don’t forget a small cross body bag, like the Pour La Victoire Provence Elie Mini. Bags like these are essential for traveling in areas known for pickpockets and bag snatchers.


Costa Rica Packing Tips – Don’t Forget To Pack….


Costa Rica Packing Tips - Don't Forget These!

>> A long-sleeve top is something people often don’t realize they need to pack for Costa Rica. The sun is very strong there so you need to protect yourself. A lightweight sweater might also be a good idea, as the climate in Costa Rica can vary greatly depending on where you are.

>> Sunscreen, bug spray and allergy medication. Can’t stress these enough!

>> There’s not much you can do to win the fight against humidity in Costa Rica. Therefore, don’t pack too many make up or beauty products. I’d recommend lots of hair ties so you can keep your hair up when it’s sweltering, a beach wave spray for when you want to wear your hair down, a lightweight moisturizer for your face with SPF, a matte foundation powder if you must wear make up, and of course smudge-proof mascara.

Costa Rica photo credit: Mike Lewis via Flickr


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  • Jen says:

    Great post Anna. I love travelling in summer because you always get the best weather but it comes with its pitfalls, the heat being the main one. I really struggle to fid comfortable, not too daggy clothes that don’t make me feel like I’m wrapped up like a mummy. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  • Glad I found this blog post. My husband really wants us to go to Costa Rica. I love the orange and yellow dresses you suggested above.

  • Monica says:

    I love those cute little dresses. I live in dresses when I’m in hot places because they’re so easy to pack and even easier to wear.
    I’m also thinking about getting the bare minerals matt foundation powder for my next trip. I’ve heard so much great stuff about it.

  • What a great post idea! I die in the heat of Penang and can guarantee that I never look cute! Think I might need to invest in a few cute dresses (and lose some weight – lol!)

  • Ann Wilbert says:

    What a wonderful advices here! Next year I am going to move to another town and this summer I will go on a vacation in Costa Rica. Thank you a lot for sharing these incredible packing ideas!

  • Lola says:

    Such a nice article Anna! Every piece looks fresh and on place… and so many useful advices also!

  • Lisa Vega says:

    It’a great list! I wish I had read your article when I was preparing for my short move to Costa Rica. I took tons of unnecessary items which I had to throw away and bought necessary ones when I arrived. I’m planning a short work travel there again and I’m going to have your post in mind. Greets!

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