A few tips on a few things that will make all the difference!
A very light long sleeved shirt in case of a sunburn
At least one pair of light long pants
Universal sink stopper
Benadryl just in case of a sting or bite
Rain poncho or rain jacket
A sweatshirt for colder areas (I learned this one the hard way in the Cloud Forest)
Extra prescription medications
A small tote bag for shopping or beach days
Reusable water bottle
Comfortable quick drying clothing
Comfortable shoes (I use flip flops and barefoot tennis shoes)
Jewelry of value whether sentimental or expensive
Leather shoes other than hiking boots
A journal for keeping track of where you travel (One with a pocket for business cards or a glue stick to affix them in the journal is great)
Something to read while waiting for transportation or tours
Guide book for the areas you wish to see ( Lonely Planet is my favorite)
Pen and pencil
Zip lock bags
Some silica packets for your suitcase to keep moisture at bay (I just use a few from old medication or packages)
A small Spanish phrase book. (Many people speak English but not everyone and making the little extra effort is always warmly received.)
When dining out you must ask for the checkwhen you are finished.
Here it is considered rude to rush you away from the table.
Many people do not own cars or travel far from home so be aware that when you get directions they may not be exact. Streets were only officially labeled a few years ago and most people don’t use those as reference. If you are driving get a GPS.
I find people in Costa Rica are very kind and helpful. However they are very respectful and don’t intrude. If you want to know more, ask. I have rarely found anyone here unwilling to make me feel welcome.
Spanish is the language of the country so please understand expecting everyone here to be able to understand English is unrealistic.
Be aware of your surroundings. These are common sense things but while on vacation people often do things they wouldn’t at home. Don’t leave your belongings on the beach, hanging on the back of a chair, or in a luggage rack where you can’t see and touch them. If you are unsure of an area ask a tour guide or someone you trust about what you should know. Always carry a copy of your passport and keep the original someplace safe and secure. Don’t carry all of your credit cards or money with you, only what you need. If you must do so don’t keep them all in one place.
The waters in Costa Rica are warm, inviting, and beautiful. Few people visit without spending some time in the water and soaking up the sunshine. However, it’s important to know that rip tides on both coast are common. Very few beaches have life guards so make sure you are comfortable with the size of the waves and your abilities before you venture out.