Costa Rica Travel Guide - 7 Days Adventure in a Carry On
Costa Rica is one of my favorite places, and there's literally no end to the adventures you can have there.
Each time is magical, including my recent trip last week for a wellness retreat in the jungle down south near Uvita. We had jungle, mountains, and beaches! That said, such a variety in activities and climates poses a unique challenge to your wardrobe when you're only doing a carry-on.
Here's how I packed for 7 days of adventure in just a small carry-on.
Wear Plane Clothes that Double As "Cool/Nighttime Weather" Outfits
While everyone hears "Costa Rica" and thinks "hot" we had heard that the retreat (located up on a mountain) would get cool at night and likely get rain. I made sure to include a lightweight water resistant jacket this time along with my standard travel pant that's light and quick-drying. I actually wore the pants all through day one since we arrived at night, and the jacket for 2 nights where it got to be about 60 degrees. The night before departure back in San Jose I wore the pants out, and of course re-wore the same outfit flying back.
Water Bottle & Blanket For the Win
These simple accessories are SO important they get their own section. I used each of these EVERY day. The water bottle saved my life on the plane, in the 4.5 bus ride to the retreat, and every day out walking and hiking around in the heat. Similarly, the blanket was great for lumbar support in-transit (if not just simply for warmth) and we used it each day as a picnic blanket when we stopped for lunch, as well as at night in bed when it was "chilly."
One pair for each day of course, but go for bamboo. You can get packs on Amazon for relatively cheap, and also the brand Basic Man has really good ones that I like. You're going to be sweating a lot, and the bamboo is simply the best for keeping you cool and resisting odors better than cotton or polyester.
Choose Your Shoes Wisely
Limit yourself to 2 (or 3) pairs max. For me it was a pair of classic flip flops, a pair of closed toe "beach shoes" from Patara, and a pair of nicer multipurpose sneakers for the airport. I love Patara - great sustainability story + stylish product - but in retrospect I could have dropped these and just used the sandals and sneakers to be super light. The sneakers were for hiking in the jungle and for the flights while I wore flip flops to just walk around everywhere else.
Everywhere in Costa Rica - both indoors and outdoors - you need a mask. So beyond just the 4-5 hour flight and 1-2 hours of airport time, you'll need masks in your pocket ready to throw on. Bring several (bamboo or the Movement mask) to handle the heat.
Here is a fun TikTok from NxTSTOP's CEO to learn more about his travel tips!
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@thenxtstop Travel tips from our CEO @itsbrendankennedy #fyp #traveltiktok #traveltips ♬ original sound - NxTSTOP