Dear incoming student,
Learning from the hard way, I have decided to share with you the true necessities for your stay!
Woman products: Leave the pads behind, because they are cheap. But bring a lot of tampons ladies, they are hard to find here!
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is like gold here, pack enough to last you the months that you’re here. Then pack an extra for those friends you will be making that continue to mooch off yours.
Shorts: The official packing list may say to not bring shorts, because the ticas don’t wear them. This may be true, but you aren’t a tica; you are a study abroad student who is not used to the heat. Trust me, shorts are a necessity!
Sandals: Don’t waste space packing all your sandals. There are stores all around where you can find cheap ones that can last you the whole trip. And you can just throw them away at the end if you want!
Shoes: One thing to make sure and bring is a pair of shoes that can be trashed while hiking or getting wet. For me, buying Chaco’s for the rafting and hiking trips was the best choice of my life!
Going out shoes: In Costa Rica, the ticas all wear heels pretty much everyday. For the foreigners, it is more relaxed. Bringing a pair of heels can be fun, but normally going out is pretty casual. I personally only wore my heels for one occasion. As for boots, those are the more popular choice. I wear mine EVERY time we went dancing. They might be hard to pack, but I suggest bringing at least one pair!
Clothing: Do NOT come in with the mindset that you don’t need to pack much clothes, because you can buy a lot down here. BIG MISTAKE! Clothes here in Costa Rica are imported and therefore expensive. It’s always fun to buy a couple of items here and there, but just know that they will not be cheap!
Dresses: Bring lots of dresses and skirts if that’s your style. They are extremely popular in Costa Rica. Bring just a couple party dresses though, because they will hardly get worn. Don’t forget any sundresses! Those will always get a ton of use.
Sweats: Overall Costa Rica is pretty darn hot, but there are those few days where there is a chill in the air. Bring just a sweatshirt or two, and maybe a pair of sweat pants for those nights when you are freezing in your room. Also, they come in handy after taking a freezing cold shower!
Raincoat: Even if you come during the dry season, a raincoat is the best thing you can bring! It comes in handy when traveling every weekend.
Purse: If you decide to bring a purse, bring one that is small and can be zipped. There are a lot of robberies, so I personally rocked the fanny pack!
Money: Do not convert your money in the airport. Your best bet is to convert it on campus in the finance department or at a local bank, because they will give you the full exchange rate. Bring cash and a credit/debit card with you.
Hygiene products: It isn’t necessary to bring a towel. Host families usually provide bath towels for you, and it’s cheap to buy a fun Costa Rican beach towel! As for Shampoo, it isn’t terribly expensive here, so it wouldn’t be hard to pick up a small bottle then throw it away when you return.
Chocolate: If you find yourself needing that special U.S. sugary chocolate brand once a month, then I would strongly suggest bringing it. The U.S. chocolate here is VERY expensive!
Backpack: Don’t bring a nice backpack. Bring something that you can afford to get dirty and ripped up from the weekend travels. (Ants ate holes through my backpack!) Also bring a beach bag that can carry your stuff while getting sandy.
iPod: If you must bring your iPod, leave it at the house. There are countless stories of students getting robbed while they were distracted with music playing outside. Anything you bring out can be stolen very easily. I suggest just hiding valuables in your bra. It works every time!
A depressed student who has to leave…