You may not have some of the items listed below. Unless it is something that seems essential to you, Costa Rican Safari is not suggesting that you buy it. It is not our goal to send you to spend a lot of money at your local outdoor gear or clothing store.
Traveling is already an investment, and we don’t want to encourage you to buy something you will use once and then forget in the closet.
There are very cool fabrics and gadgets being developed for adventuring these days, and some of them may be things that you will get a lot of use from, starting with your vacation to Costa Rica.
That said, we encourage you to think about how much you really need something before purchasing. A good example is the river shoes, they would be great on a rafting trip, but if this is your first and only rafting trip this half decade, then you will do fine with a pair of old sneakers that are already in your closet and will stay securely on your feet. If you don’t want to take them home with you, you can leave them behind and lighten your luggage.
The first thing to keep in mind when beginning to pack is the length of your trip. This will obviously affect the amount of clothing you choose to bring, and not always in the most obvious fashion. Laundry services will be available to you at most of your hotels; thus while six pairs of underwear for a six day trip might make some sense, twelve pairs of underwear for a twelve day trip begins to look like paranoia. You can probably do six pairs, and have laundry done at the midway point.
What not to bring:
Excessive amounts of jewelry: You will probably not wear it, but only worry about it as you move it from one hotel safe to another.
What medication should I bring?
First of all we want to say that it’s unlikely that you will need it, but if you happen to get sick while you are in Costa Rica, we have top of the line medical care, hospitals and drug stores throughout the country.
Costa Rican Safari has English speaking doctors on call 24 hours a day that are available for a telephone consultation if needed.
We have staff that is also are available for emergencies 24/7. When you arrive, we will be giving you a card with the emergency numbers below on it. This is just a precaution, don’t worry about it; just put in somewhere that you won’t forget, like in your wallet with your driver’s license and then if you need it you’ll know where it is.
Be sure to be up to date also on your tetanus inoculation, but in case you won’t be able to do so; it is something you can easily get here if it becomes necessary.
Here are a few tips:
General First Aid
On a more general level, something for:
Repellant: To DEET or not to DEET?
DEET is certainly toxic, and there have been studies linking it to complications with pregnancies. If you are pregnant you should use another option. It is also far and away the most effective option against bugs. In Tortuguero, we provide guests with repellant that is 30% DEET. Our staff also use it, without hesitation. One recommendation is to purchase repellant wipes; this allows you to apply it without spraying it in the air and minimizes the chances of inhalation.
Another thing about DEET is that it can be corrosive, and if it is on your hands and you are handling binoculars or your camera, or if you spray it on and catch your watch, the chemicals may start to eat away at the plastic on those items.
A final note, please don’t touch the wildlife with DEET on your hands! If DEET harms plastic, it is certainly not good for frogs or anything else you might touch. Please wipe your hands thoroughly before touching any plant or animals if you have recently applied repellant.
We know… if DEET is bad for frogs and plastic, what’s it doing to me… as we said above, it is far and away the most effective option against bugs.
People often ask whether they should apply sunscreen or insect repellant first, in our opinion a base layer of sunscreen will offer you some small amount of protection from the chemicals of DEET, and thus is the better alternative.
If you are really opposed to putting chemicals on your skin, an interesting alternative one of our guides mentioned is Buzz Off Clothing, this is clothing designed to be bug resistant, and also lightweight. You can look for it online.
If you do go this route, remember to go for the options that will keep you the coolest. And forget about fashion.