What to Pack?

Old Mar 4th, 2004, 03:58 PM
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What to Pack?

We will be going to CR in August. We're generally light packers, but some of the reading I've been doing says that many of the hikes, horseback rides, etc. will get you very dirty/muddy. And my kids love to splash in the mud. So here are my questions:
1. Are there laundry facilities in most hotels? Are they reasonable or expensive? (In Europe, they were very expensive).
2. How do people generally dress for dinner? Do we have to bring very dressy clothes? Are shorts acceptable at dinner? I should tell you that we'll probably be staying at the Arenal Paraiso and then the Los Suenos Marriott. I'm sure that makes a difference.
3. When they say to bring rain gear, do they mean just those plastic "poncho" type things or real waterproof raingear, like they sell at REI?
4. Will it be so humid/rainy that my digital camera will have condensation problems? (It was already splashed by Shamu and had a minor salt water problem)
5. Are binoculars a must for viewing wildlife? If so, should we bring our expensive Leicas, or just some inexpensive ones?
6. Will tennis shoes suffice for most hikes? We won't be doing anything too challenging--moderate at most.
7. Any other suggestions?
That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll think of more later. My trip is 5 months away(seems like forever), and I'm getting quite an education from all the helpful people who post to this board. Thank you, Thank you!
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Old Mar 4th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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1. Most hotels have laundry service, and they are quite reasonable. We did stay at the Paraiso, and it was great fun! Don't forget bathing suits for the swim-up bar hot tub. Great evenings are spent soaking your tired bones from the day and viewing that wonderful volcano!
2. we wore shorts the whole time and it was very casual there. Can't say about the Mariott though...we did stay at the hotel Grano de Oro in San Jose ...it was alittle up-town for those that had been traipsing through the jungle...but no one ever made an impolite comment....all in all the people are wonderfully friendly
3. sorry went in december and was only rained on one day ...not much help here
4. one of our party had problem with her digital camera..I have purchased silica for my return trip...read somewhere that putting silica in a bag with your camera when you put it away will help keep the moisture out of it..found these really neat things on ebay that you can dry out in your oven and they last forever...an electronic store sold them. ..yes binoculars are a must...some of the guides carry sight tubes..but maybe the inexpensive ones would work best with the children.
tennis shoes should do fine....
also..we were told to make sure we were told if we took Brewer's yeast ....it would keep mosquito problems down....we took it about a month before we left and continued to take it on the trip...had no problems with mosquitos..we also had deet..but I forget to put it on...easier to take pills with meals....had no problems with mosquitos...and we went to Arenal, Drake's Bay, Monteverde and Torteguero....Torteguero was the worst for bugs....
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Old Mar 4th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Shorts would be fine at Arenal Paraiso. It is very casual. Don't know about the Marriott.
We get laundry done quite frequently and it is not very expensive.
After loosing a very expensive camera to moisture my husband now carries his in a special waterproof box that he got at the camera store. I just carry mine in a small bag and have not had any problems yet.
As far as rain gear..I just have a jacket that smushes into a little bag that I can hook onto my belt buckle or fanny pack. If you don't think you would use the rain gear at home don't spend a lot of money. Those inexpensive ponchos are fine. We also carry a couple of really cheap ones that come in a tiny package. Just a couple of dollars at WalMart.
Binoculars are a must if you want to do some wildlife/bird viewing. We each have a pair of Swarovskis. After several years of inexpensive ones we splurged and the difference is amazing. Leicas are an exceptionally good binocular and you won't be sorry you brought them. Swarovski scopes were always the choice of many of the guides down there when they could afford them but I am now seeing more and more Leica scopes. Our guide that we use every year had one ordered but it hadn't come in yet when we were there. We are anxious to see the difference next year. If you have a camera store, check to see if you can get an adapter or if your camera would fit into the eye piece of a scope. I got some awesome pics this year through a scope with my digital camera.
I use all terrain tennis shoes. Nike, New Balance, etc all have them.
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Just got back from 7 nights at the Marriott Los Suenos and they do have laundry. Dinner was casual and most people wore shorts. I'm sure the weather makes a big difference but we didn't see one bitting bug the whole week. We forgot our binoculars and were very sorry. I bought some hiking type tennis shoes and was happy. Have fun.
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Don't know if it was mentioned, but a pocket flashlight was one of the most useful things we took along. Essential during power outages, very helpful walking at night with no streetlamps, great for night hikes.

Yes, binoculars. Small one that fit in your jacket pocket.

Athletic shoes are OK if waterproof, and they must have an aggressive tread for slippery, muddy or leaf covered trails.

Casual dress OK in the vast majority of hotels and resorts (at least in Monteverde and Arenal area)--they understand that you've been out tromping about in the rainforest and didn't have time to change.

Our digital camera was fine, but we were there in the dry season--dry season, but Monteverde was very wet.
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Thanks everyone for all of the great suggestions. Of course, I have more questions.

1. When you say laundry service, is it do-it-yourself or send it out?
2. I would have never thought to bring a flashlight! Are power outages frequent/common?
3. The concern about bringing the Leicas would be security. Most of the reading I've done says not to leave anything of value in your car, but what about your hotel room?

That's all for now, thanks again.
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Old Mar 9th, 2004, 03:22 AM
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70% of the time if I am out of the room I am probably using my binoculars except after my husband leaves and I am doing my beach time. Then I leave them in the room most of the time.
We have taken our Swarovskis every year for the last 6 years and never had a problem. Between the two of them they are valued around $1500. I realize now what I wasn't seeing with the less expensive ones.
The choice is yours. The fact that you own a pair tells me you want to really be able to see things and Costa Rica is a place where there is plenty to see.
As far as leaving things in the car. You don't want to leave anything in it so your binocs would be taken out with everything else. If you are worried about them in the room use the hotel or room safe or just carry them with you.
Most laundry is sent out. Some people charge by the load some people charge by the piece.
Flashlights are definitely a must. I have a little CR container with all that kind of stuff in it ready to go every year. It doesn't need to be a big one. a little mini mag would be fine. A lot of people are using the headlamps now but If you really don't plan on walking much in the dark I wouldn't worry about getting one.
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