Costa Rica - Another "What to pack" question

Jan 19th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,959
Costa Rica - Another "What to pack" question

Less than 3 weeks left until our tip to Costa Rica – wahoo!

I know there were quite a few threads here on ‘what to pack’, but I guess I still have more questions. We are trying to minimize the weight for a Sansa domestic flight, so anything that we can get there, stays at home.

I know that not all hotels are equal, so here are ours:

Lost Iguana in Arenal
Buena Vista Villas in Manuel Antonio
Bosque del Cabo in Osa
Vista del Valle close to the SJO airport

Do all of them provide soap and shampoo? What about hair conditioner?
How easy would be for us to get insect repellant in Costa Rica ? Do they have OFF, a brand we are familiar with? If not, any local brand you can recommend?
What about sun block?
Do all hotels have a small library from where we can borrow books while there?

xyz99 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Buena Vista. . .DVD's and all of the toiletry amenities.

Bosque del Cabo. . .lots of books in the library. I take my own small shampoos/conditioners.

Vista del Valle--can't remember!

We have had no problem getting name brand repellents in Costa Rica. Same with sun block, although it seemed very pricey. You can find this stuff at any of the Mega Supers, Mas X Menos, Hipermas, Automercado, etc.

As for minimizing for your Sansa flight, just take the small shampoos/conditioners, one repellent, one sunblock. It won't take up that much space. I wouldn't bet on finding that stuff in Puerto Jimenez, although you might. So to be safe, you'd have to buy it before your domestic flight and transfer it in your bags anyway.

Hope you have a great time. So much to look forward to! Ditto on the wahoo!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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You can find off in Arenal or MA. Most restaurants/bars have a can they will be glad to let you use. We didn't have a bug problem in Arenal and MA wasn't too bad either, but it varies.

Shampoo tends to be easier to come by than conditioner in CR's hotels. Quality can pretty crummy in case you care about that. Soap won't be a problem. You'll probably want to bring a small sun screen to avoid having to pay a premium price for a giant tube of something you may not care for - selection can be limited.

Gift shops can sometimes be a good place to pick up a paperback.

Linda137 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 03:14 AM
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Lost Iguana had nice toiletries when we were there. Bosque del Cabo only had a liquid soap for use in the shower. Can't remember about VdV. Sunscreen and bug spray should be easy to come by, but I'd just bring my own small travel sizes. BdC has books. I can't remember about the others. I always bring my own. Lost Iguana recently built a very nice gift shop, so they may have something there.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:07 AM
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By all means, I would strictly adhere to the guidelines Sansa sets for weight. I foolishly ignored it and had to pay an extra $80 for my luggage, which arrived on a later flight. They will weigh you and your luggage at the ticket counter.

Given that, I found that one really doesn't need alot of clothing for CR. I would buy one can of OFF at Wal-Mart before going. Bugs really aren't that bad, I found in MA. Also, a good pair of amphibian type shoes really came in handy for hiking along beaches. Have fun on your trip!!!
dmcnama is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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At BdC, you won't need to use as much sunscreen because most of the time you will be in the shady forest. But, when you are out in the sun (on the beach, at the pool), the rays are very strong. I brought a big bottle, and wouldn't have needed that much.

Maybe the insect repellent wipes would be lighter and easier to pack? I've never used them, so don't know if they are effective. Again, at Bosque, we didn't need any insect repellent.
janenicole is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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I can only help with DBC. We were there in December and loved it!

They only provide liquid soap, so you will need to bring shampoo and conditioner. You probably won't need much. Most of the time my hair was tucked in a hat, so I didn't wash it all that much anyway.

We each brought a small can of bug repellant- didn't use it at all.

We brought small bottles of sunblock. When we ran out, we asked at the desk and they provided some. Seems they have a lot of big bottles stashed in a back room that people leave behind. Might be the same with bug repellant.

BDC has a library. Lots of books about Costa Rica, some fiction and other books. I think they again are what people leave behind in their rooms.

I, like you, had lots of questions about what to pack to keep within the Sansa guidelines. They are strict. They weigh your bag and then you with your carryon.

You really don't need all the clothes or other items you might think. We had BDC do our laundry one time while we were there [we stayed one week]. Make sure you have comfortable shoes - we brought water shoes and one other pair, lots of socks, a waterproof jacket, couple of pairs of shorts and tops, underwear and that's about all you need.

You are going to have a great time. Enjoy.
reillygee is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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We had mosquitoes when we were at BdC, especially in the tropical garden area. The grass was kind of long and when we walked through they would swarm around my ankles. We wore our spray every day and didn't get very many bites, but I was glad we had the repellent.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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I learned a lesson the hard way on our last trip. I bought two big bottles of aerosal sunscreen at are hotel in San Jose only to have it taken away by Nature Air (I would imagine that Sansa doesn't allow aerosal either). I did end up buying more sunscreen at the grocery store by the airport in Puerto Jimenez.
Just FYI.
aqualime is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Thanks a lot – I should’ve said that in addition to Sansa restrictions, we are also trying to avoid checking our bags (we’re changing flights in Miami, with a layover of only 55 minutes, same airline thankfully, with both legs bought together).

So, we hope to make our flight to SJO – but have the 3 oz. limitation. I tried the OFF wipes before, they were ok. Not great, but I am a mosquito magnet so maybe that was the problem.

Good to know we can find paperbacks. And DVDs at Buena Vista…that’s luxury

Aqualime, thanks for the tip on aerosols – we’ll probably just buy two smaller bottles when we get to Arenal – use one before the Sansa flight, one after. Did Nature Air have any liquids/creams/gels restrictions? There’s nothing on Sansa’s web site about this. Thanks
xyz99 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:28 PM
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You might also look into purchasing a tube or two of 3M UltraThon Insect Repellent. It's good stuff and comes in airplane friendly 2 oz tubes. You can get it a lot of camping type stores -- has it. It seems to go a long way and has a 5-year shelf life.
plumboy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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We got little pump bottles of spray at REI - I guess that's not considered an aerosol. Sansa let us bring it without any problems.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We always carry on when we go to CR, you just zip through the airport and you are on your way. There isn't a liquid limit on Sansa/Nature Air as far as I know, just no dangerous liquids. We brought the Ultrathon tube (good tip Plumboy!) too and the Off Wipes, but used very little insect repellent at BDC last year in Feb. Bring string, clothes pins and a little bottle of Fabreze(I put it in a small travel spray bottle), your clothes will have a better chance of drying in the breeze.
Have fun, I am so jealous!!
aqualime is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:07 AM
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Insect repellent is always necessary at Bosque del Cabo in the rainy months. Not so much during the dry season (now).

Doubt you'll be interested in picking up a paperback once you get there--bdc.

Those DVD's at BV were perfect for rainy afternoons in August. You may not need them this time of year. But it was a nice option.

Enjoy, xyz!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I have a question regarding the carrying-on vs. checking luggage. Does anyone know if mascara needs to go in the 3-1-1 bag? I have to have a little makeup on at dinner time!
janenicole is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I've never been stopped for mascara and I always take my makeup. Try the travel combos from Lancome, Clinique or Estee Lauder, which include everything - powder, creme base, shadows, blush, eyeliner and mascara in a single compact with a mirror.

Ebay is a great resource for this.

Take a FLASHLIGHT - One of the high intensity beams from Lowe's with an optional red beam is perfect. In the cloud forest, at your hotel, or at the beach, you'll be amazed how much you use it. We got ours at TJ Maxx by chance.

If you have a chance to walk on the beach at night, the red beam comes in handy if you stumble across a mama laying eggs. The white beam or yellow beam from a regular flashlight would distub her.

I was stopped when they saw a solid item in my bag. It was a battery, but they had to check it out.

Don't over think, over plan or overpack a trip to Costa Rica. Travel light and you'll be much happier.

While it is a third world country by definition, it's actually considered an "emerging economy."

Even small beachside groceries in Samara had bug spray, sunscreen and even aloe vera gel.

Have fun!
Continental_Drifter is offline  

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