What to wear when hiking in Costa Rica
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Rest assured, I only recommend products that I have personally used and found helpful, have researched and am passion about.
Costa Rica is a country full of adventure. Situated in Central America, Costa Rica boasts some of the richest rainforests in the world. Whether you are in search of undiscovered waterfalls, wildlife spotting, or hiking through dense jungle, this country has it all!
Its important to know that the rainforest can be unforgiving so it is important to pack the right clothing and gear to make sure you trip is fun and enjoyable. Its hot, rugged, always humid yet always beautiful!
What to wear when hiking in Costa Rica...
Dry fit shirt
Hiking in Costa Rica goes one of two ways: you are either drenched because of a recent rainfall, or sweating profusely because its scorching hot with nearly 100% humidity. The last thing you want is to have a cotton shirt that doesn't breath or ever dry.
I really like Columbia's short sleeve, vented shirts as they are very light weight and well-ventilated. Also, many sport brands carry dry fit shirts which are great for random showers or if its ridiculously hot outside.
Waterproof hiking shoes
Whether you are going to be zip lining, hiking to a waterfall or even bird watching in Costa Rica, make sure you bring light weight hiking boots. The terrain in the mountains and rain forests are not the place to bring sandals or even tennis shoes. During most hikes, you may pass through creeks or it could rain so you need to make sure they are waterproof so they will dry quickly.
Our family likes to buy our shoes from Merrell, an outdoor shoe brand for men and women. Their boots/shoes are ideal for the rainforest and hold together very well.
If you are planning on checking out some of Costa Rica's waterfalls (which you absolutely should!) you will want some comfortable hiking socks. They will cushion your foot from any abrasions and your chances of getting blisters are slim.
Light-weight rain jacket
Even if you visit Costa Rica during the dry season (November through May) afternoon rain showers are still common. Bring a light weight rain jacket to keep you dry from those afternoon storms. It is a rainforest after all. Our family all brought our jackets for our move to Costa Rica and we have used them multiple times during our hikes.
Costa Rica is close to the equator, so its hot and its sunny and if you're like me, getting a sunburn on a vacation is the worst. Pack a hat you know will keep you covered for any hike.
Our family has used CamelBak's for quite some time now. They are a great investment for any type of vacation. They are light-weight, easy to carry and bring you enough water for a quick two hour hike. Our daughter has the toddler version and she loves being able to carry her own water source with her.
Collapsible Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles are a thing of the past and soon to be eradicated in Costa Rica by 2021. So quit your plastic addiction and make sure you bring your own reusable water bottle for your outdoor activities. While all reusable water bottle are great, I prefer ones that are collapsible.
Collapsible water bottles are sturdy when full of water but can be rolled up and packed away when empty. It makes it lightweight to carry for your hikes which is awesome in humid environments like Costa Rica.
Hiking in the mountains, zip lining or even hitting the beach, sunscreen is necessary when in Costa Rica. High SPF and waterproof is key and make sure to bring a lot of it. Also, make sure you bring sunscreen with you as Costa Rica places high taxes on any imported goods so you will most likely pay double the price.
Traveling to the tropics, its not rocket science that mosquitos will be stalking you throughout your trip. While mosquitos are downright annoying, Costa Rica is also home to some nasty viruses like dengue fever and zika virus so you want to make sure your daily routine includes bug spray. Like sunscreen, its best to bring your repellent with you whether you prefer DEET or natural options to make sure you avoid paying extra.
Hiking in Costa Rica is an experience you will never forget. The landscape of this country is so diverse and beautiful, you will fall in love with its tropical landscape.
Our family has hiked through several parts of the country and while each region of Costa Rica has different environments, my list of gear will get you ready for any kind of adventure!