What I Packed for 10 Days in Costa Rica

Monday, June 18, 2018

OK, let's be honest: I never really care much about other people's packing-centric blog post. It's like, if I don't have the exact same itinerary & sense of style as you do, why would I bother? Right before I left for Costa Rica, though, I saw a packing post from And Then We Tried that I found really interesting/helpful, so I figured... why not? 

It's important to note, though, that I didn't do a great job of packing, as hard as I tried & as early as I started (about a week before we left). I had no concept of how freaking hot it would be in Costa Rica or just how much I would sweat. I went through at least two outfits a day - sometimes more - so I was incredibly relieved when Mike located an expensive laundromat near our hotel somewhere around day five. We washed everything & basically started over from scratch!

I also packed entirely in a carry-on suitcase, in an effort not to bring too much & so that I wouldn't risk losing my luggage between flights. If I did it again, I'd bring more workout clothes... & I might have to check a bag because let me tell you, I was maxed out, & had we not found a laundromat, I wouldn't have had nearly enough clothing to get by!

OK, onto the good stuff. Here's what I brought for a 10-day trip in San Jose & Tamarindo, Costa Rica, bearing in mind that none of these photos are of the exact items I own. But they're all close! 

Bathing Suits

First things first: I brought three bathing suits, though the examples shared here are loose approximations because apparently it's really hard to find online representations of bathing suits that aren't being worn by well-oiled bodies. I bought two of them right before the trip, including the strappy black one-piece that left me with an absolutely ridiculous sunburn pattern.


I only really brought eight tops, which was nowhere near enough. Two of those were "real" shirt - a chambray button-up & a striped tee - & the rest was workout-style gear, with a few that landed someplace in between the two genres. I also brought a zip-up sweatshirt, which was great for cold shuttle rides & chilly hotel rooms, & a light summer sweater than I mostly wore on the plane. It's a damn good thing we were able to find a laundromat, or I would've found myself washing all of this in the hotel room sink - & of course, I barely wore the "real" tops at all. Sweatiest human alive.

Pants, Dresses, Etc.

This category broke down into...
  • Three pairs of leggings, though I only wore two: the long, latticed pair on flights & the capri pair in Costa Rica. I wish I'd brought, like, three capri pairs!
  • One pair of workout shorts - though again, I could've used a few more pairs of these
  • One pair of Spandex shorts to wear beneath dresses
  • One pair of linen shorts, the only "real pants" I brought 
  • Three dresses. The polka-dotted maxi & the cotton shift got the most wear of anything I brought.
  • Three adult onesies: my favorite patterned jumpsuit, a fancy black romper I never wore, & a stretchy, black, wide-legged jumpsuit that primarily served as a bathing suit cover-up. 


I brought four pairs of shoes, which seems like a lot, but it was actually just right right amount. I purchased a new pair of Chaco sandals for the trip, & I think they'll serve me well for summers to come. The flip-flops were all I needed for the beach, the Nikes were for activity days, & the slip-ons were my go-to, everyday shoes for comfort without looking hideous - & decent in the rain, too. 


I carry my trusty Puma backpack on all trips, as it's the perfect size & very comfortable to carry. I swapped out my everyday purse for a waterproof one with lots of zippers & compartments, plus a cheap fanny pack (good for our rainforest day) & a (slightly tacky) tote bag that told everyone where I'm from. We carried that one to the beach every day... & it may now be destroyed, but it was worth it!

Jewelry & Accessories

I didn't bring many accessories, & it's a good thing: Most of the time, I was way too sweaty to wear the ind of outfits that warranted them, I never did end up wearing the denim hat, though it seemed like a worthwhile item to have on hand (& only cost me $3). I wore the parrot earrings on our one "nice" night out, the one night it wasn't too hot to exist; I put on the polka-dotted dress & felt so dressed up, if only because I'd been wearing bathing suits for a week straight.

And there you have it, a rundown of my suitcase for 10 days of beach life. Like I said: I didn't do the best job, but hey, it could've been worse.

What's your packing style? Do you do it early or wait until the last-minute? Do you find that you've usually brought what you need, or do you eff it up, like me?! 

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