What to Pack

Old Dec 18th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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What to Pack

We are going to be in Costa Rica for 14 days starting 1/14/07 (Arenal, Monteverde, Manual Antonio and Osa Peninsula). We will be traveling mainly by charter flights; one taxi/boat/taxi trip and one bus trip. We can travel with only 25 lbs on the flights and will have no place to leave belongings between destinations. Any suggestions on how and what to pack? Cameras, binoculars, flashlights are a must. Any advice would be great. Thanks.


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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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My CA packing list is #15 on the FAQ thread heres:


If the whole link isn't "live" you will have to cut and paste. I have never picked Costa Rica for my travels but the list has worked well for Belize and Honduras, usually 3-4 weeks per trip (and heading to Guatemala again this summer - yeah!).

I have learned from experience that traveling with only a loosely-filled carry-on bag is a joy and makes everything I do in my travels more relaxed and enjoyable. I try to keep my bags under 15 pounds but the load grows with souvenirs along the way. I have a beloved mid-sized set of waterproof binoculars, pack an underwater bag for my digital camera, and prefer my headlamp to hand-held flashlights though I take a small one for back-up. Hope the list helps! I've posted it below in case you can't get to it on the Thorntree site:

My answer to the question: WHAT SHOULD I PACK???

I can pack everything I need for an extended trip into a carry-on sized bag by choosing clothes that layer. I have a carry-on sized conversion pack (straps tuck away as needed) that has an attached day pack. I pack valuables and some personal items in the day pack and most of the clothes (that I'm not wearing) in the main compartment. Here's what I took to Honduras to accommodate 2-3 weeks inland with high altitude mountain hikes included and 2-3 weeks of beach time:

3-4 wicking-type shirts
1 light weight long sleeved shirt
2 pairs of light weight convertible (zip off to become shorts) long pants
1 sarong (skirt, swim wrap, doubles as towel or sleeping sheet)
1 bandana and one silicon-neck-cooler bandana
1 sunhat with strap
1 light weight sleeveless nightgown
2 swimsuits
1 light weight fleece jacket (liner type that can be worn alone)
1 light weight goretex rain coat
uns and socks (incl. 1 neoprene pair I wear under Keens for hiking and under fins for diving/snorkel’g)
flip flops for beach and showers
Keen water shoes for everything else, including lots of light hiking (they have great support and a rubber toe protector); if you're planning hardcore hiking, take boots

Cash, ATM and VISA cards, passport, etc.
Flight and lodging reservations, emails, receipts, etc.
Small medical kit and sewing kit
Cheap watch with alarm
Toiletries and prescription meds
Sunglasses, spare glasses, disposable contacts for diving/rainforests
Sunblock and bug stuff (Cactus Juice and Sawyer's Time Release Deet Formula, baby oil for sand flies)
Water purification pump (I'm a budget traveller)
Collapsible drinking cup
LCD headlamp
Camera, etc. (and underwater bag or 1-2 underwater disposables)
Smallish waterproof binoculars
Guidebook and copied map pages
Laminated plant and animal i.d. cards
Journal/writing materials
Reading material and Spanish/English dictionary
Small gifts for kids and hosts
Small dice and yahtzee papers
A small, flexible disc (like a frisbee)
Various ziplocks, cable ties, small bungie cords
3-4’ of duct tape wrapped around a waterproof marker
String and a few clothespins or 3-4 feet of braided surgical tubing - great clothesline
Half a roll of t.p. removed from core and flattened

I buy water and reuse the bottle and usually pick up an inexpensive pocket knife when I get there. I like having my own snorkel and mask, but my husband joined me two weeks into the trip and brought them with him; he has to check luggage anyway because of his fishing poles.
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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You would be surprised how much you can pack and stay under the 25 pounds. Leave fancy clothes at home, all of these places you can get by with shorts, tops, a pair or 2 of slacks and a waterproof windbreaker. I buy half a dozen of those small plastic bottles at drugstores & fill them up with shampoo, conditioner, lotion etc. Plus, all of these places have laundry services. On sunny days in the Osa I saw many balconies, mine included, with hand washed t-shirts, shorts, socks out to dry. Do bring a pair of hiking shoes or good grip tennis shoes, plus an extra pair, sport sandals and a pair of sandals or flip-flops.
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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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We were very worried about the 25 lb limit but in the end with 2 (or 3) people it turned out not to be an issue. Get duffle bags or light backpacks instead of rolling suitcases. No need for fancy clothes, as CR is very casual and hot and damp. Our hotel had laundry service and drying service so we could get our shoes dried... We did bring some quick drying pants and shirts, but my bathing suit didn't dry the whole time. One thing that was good were shorts style bathing suit which I could wear on the hikes in the Osa and still wear into the creek and surf. Obviously bring insect repelant and plenty of high SPF sunscreen.
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Great suggestions - thanks. Wow, does the baby oil keep the sand fleas away?

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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 01:06 PM
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Hopefulist, that is a great packing list.

What is the small, flexible disc for?
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Old Dec 19th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Thanks - that list has served me well over the last 3-4 years and I'm really looking forward to packing up again this summer. We've used the "flexible disc" to plug sinks and tubs, make drippy ceilings less noisy, and to eat off of, but mostly it's for playing frisbee with the locals - great conversation starter!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Great list! So much easier to be a critic than an architect! My critique is that I will use it as its perfect.

One question...what are Keen water shoes, and possible substitutes?

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Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 07:28 PM
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No substitute for me - here's a link to the kind of Keen I swear by, Keen Newport H2Os:


They're as comfortable as my best running shoes, sandals so good ventilation, great traction, dry quickly, wash up well, and have a strong rubber toe protector. I bought them 3 or 4 years ago for rafting and wear them to work nearly every day. They've been the only shoes (other than flipflops) I've taken to CA since I bought them.

Thanks for the nice compliment, by the way.
Happy trails!

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