What to Bring to Costa Rica

Although students can buy pretty much everything in Costa Rica, some things are more expensive here as they are imported.

Here are some tips for packing:

  • Costa Rican Guidebook:These books, like Lonely Planet and Let’s Go, can be quite useful and fun to use. They’ll help you find your way if you’re interested in exploring on your own, and they have tips and information about the culture, people, and language.
  • Clothing for the Climate: The hottest and driest time of the year is February to April, but the weather in Liberia is almost always hot – so tank tops, shorts, and sandals are usually preferred. The only exception is December to February when it cools down a little (T-shirt and jeans weather) and it can get really windy. A light sweater is useful to bring, especially for going to the mountains, volcanoes, or cloud forests. The wet season, which is approximately May to November, brings heavy rains (usually in the afternoon), so travelers should bring an umbrella and appropriate shoes.
  • Going out or Special Occasion Outfit: It’s a good idea to bring a nice outfit just in case you have the opportunity to attend a special event. Also, shorts and sandals/sneakers are often not permitted in museums, nightclubs, and various other places.
  • Beach Gear:Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are expensive in Costa Rica, but they are very necessary. The sun is really strong as we are close to the equator, so it is wise to bring a hat to protect your face. You can bring a towel, or buy a colorful sarong in a souvenir shop to sit on at the beach.
  • Shoes:High-quality shoes are hard to find here, as are large or unusual sizes (narrow and wide, for example). We recommend bringing shoes that are comfortable and practical for all types of terrain.
  • Specialty Products: contact solution, medications, and beauty products are best brought from home in order to avoid the frustration of not finding specific brands.
  • Prescription or Allergy Medications: Important medications should be carried with students on the plane. Students with allergies or asthma should know that Liberia is quite dusty so it is a good idea to pack extra medication to be safe.
  • First-aid Kit and Flashlight
  • Reading & Writing Materials:A good bookstore is hard to find, and books are usually expensive. We have a free book exchange in the institute, however, magazine selection is limited. It’s a good idea to pack a notebook or two and writing utensils – mostly for Spanish classes.
  • Small backpack: For day or weekend trips to the beach or toting books and supplies to the school
  • Earplugs: Some areas are noisy at night, so light sleepers should bring earplugs.
  • A gift for the homestay family: Students are not required to bring a gift, but it is always a nice gesture. The gift doesn’t have to be anything really big or expensive – we suggest a typical product from your country or a tourist item (like a hat or T-shirt) from your area.