Packing for Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste is like packing for almost any other warm destination – except when it’s not. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what people think they need to pack vs. what they really need while they’re here.
Thankfully, there’s a lot of overlap. And, if you forget something, you can likely find a passable substitute in Costa Rica. But it may be hard to find. It may be expensive. And who wants to spend hours of their vacation hunting down hiking shoes, anyway?
And so, for all you clever, resourceful planners and packers out there, we’ve pulled together our list of what travelers most often forget to pack – and a few things you should remove from your suitcase, stat!
What to Bring: The What-Not-to-Forget List
For the sake of this post, we’ll skip over all the but-of-course! basics, like shirts and underwear and your passport. Instead, we’ve tried to pinpoint a few must-pack inclusions that you may not know you’ll need for your trip to Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste.
Because you may have remembered to pack only a few credit cards (and to notify your bank that you’ll be traveling. You may have rolled up some extra socks to account for fording rivers on your hikes. And you may have already packed your zip-on, zip-off pants/shorts. But have you remembered the following?
✅ Quick-Dry and/or Cotton Clothing
Whether you’re staying in Tamarindo for your entire trip or are splitting your time between the beach, the mountains, and volcano country, you’ll appreciate having both quick-dry clothing (great for the rainforest, hiking, waterfall trails, the cloud forest, etc.) and cotton clothing (everyday wear and breathability).
✅ Lightweight Rain Jacket or Windbreaker
Believe it or not, it can get chilly (only sometimes) in the evenings! So, even if you’re here during the dry season (roughly, December through April), it’s a great idea to pack a long-sleeved layer. And if you’re here when it might rain (May through November), then it’s a must to make it waterproof, so you can layer up if necessary.
✅ Day Pack/Dry Pack
If you’re an adventurous traveler, then chances are very good that you’ll need a day pack (essentially, a small and lightweight backpack) during your travels. Many hikes, day trips, and other tours departing Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste will keep you busy for hours – hours during which you’ll be glad you packed plenty of snacks, water, extra camera batteries, etc. into your day pack. If you’re visiting during the rainy season, make it a waterproof day pack or a dry pack!
✅ Comfortable Footwear (Multiple)
Unless you’re planning on spending your entire vacation at the beach and by the pool – and even then, in some cases! – then you’ll want to pack a few options for footwear. High on our list of recommendations are 1) closed hiking shoes (sneakers or boots) and 2) water shoes or sandals. Here’s why: Hiking shoes are essential to keeping your feet healthy and protected from jungle critters and water shoes make walking out onto the rocks a breeze at low tide. And whenever possible, you’re really going to walk out onto the rocks at low tide!
✅ Sunblock + Insect Repellent
Both products are readily available in every supermarket, pharmacy, and many other points of sale throughout Costa Rica, but if you have sensitive skin or a favorite brand, do pack them! Specific products can be hard or, sometimes, impossible to locate here. Try to find a reef-safe sunblock for when you’re at the beach!
✅ Hat + Sunglasses
We cannot emphasize enough how sunny Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste can be! It’s gorgeous, it’s lovely, and it’s strong. So, in addition to sunblock, be sure to pack your favorite hat (to protect the crown of your head, which we rarely sunblock but can burn, trust us!) and UV sunglasses.
✅ Favorite Toiletries
Like sunblock and insect repellent, if you’re particular about your brands of toiletries (feminine hygiene products, contraceptives, etc.) and hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, face cleanser, contact lens solution, etc.), then be sure to pack them.
✅ OTC + Prescription Meds
Costa Rica’s pharmacies are well stocked but they may not carry your specific prescription – or they may not be able to issue your medication without a local prescription. Err on the safe side and pack any over-the-counter and/or prescription medicines you may need while here.
✅ Travel Surge Protector
You’re traveling with electronics. Protect your electronics!
What NOT to Bring: The Don’t-Waste-the-Space List
It’s 2023 and chances are excellent that you’ll be packing light – not just to avoid round-trip airline surcharges (although that’s definitely part of it) but also because, once you’re here, you may not have a ton of transportation storage space (especially on shared shuttles, inexpensive private transportation, and many rental vehicles).
So, packing space is at a premium. Luckily, Costa Rica is warm so your clothes are relatively small and lightweight. You’re already ahead of the game! But as you pack those storage cubes, roll clothing as tightly as possible, and economize your luggage space, consider removing the following from your bags:
❌ More Than One Suitcase
While we’re on the topic of packing light and limited transportation storage, we highly recommend traveling with a maximum of one checked bag and one carry-on per person (plus a personal item). Not only will this provide savings at the airline counter, but it’ll also lighten your load (literally) while traveling in-country.
❌ Traveler’s Checks
Does anyone still use traveler’s checks in 2023? If so, they don’t live in Costa Rica. (Most of the country doesn’t even accept personal checks, FYI!)
We love guidebooks when we begin planning a trip, but the truth is that those books are hefty and require precious packing space and weight. If there’s a guidebook you love, consider purchasing its digital version and carrying it on your phone.
✅ And remember! When you book one of our condos or vacation homes, you secure the complimentary services of our in-house concierge (a real, live guidebook, so to speak!), who can advise you every step of the way – before and during your trip.
❌ Expensive Jewelry
You’ll quickly find that Costa Rica isn’t a fancy jewelry kind of place. What’s more, most travel guidance advises to leave the good stuff at home. So, choose some versatile earrings, swap out your wedding ring set for a titanium band, etc. – pare down to the bare minimum, and enjoy zero worries during your time here with us in Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste!
❌ High Heels
Costa Rican roads and sidewalks – and often, what sidewalks? – are not made for high heels. Choose healthy ankles and less frustration, and pack your favorite flats or dressy sandals.
While we’re on the topic of footwear, we’re often asked if we’d recommend packing rainboots. The answer is no! They’re bulky and usually not terribly comfortable for long periods; instead, choose waterproof hiking sneakers or hiking boots.
❌ A 100% Full Suitcase
Be sure to leave some space to take home gifts and souvenirs!
Stay Here: Ibis Condo #2
Tamarindo | 2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | Sleeps 6
Imagine a secret garden by the sea – a private paradise, steps from crashing waves and soft sands, yet secreted into a lush hidey-hole that feels like it’s just for you. Welcome to Ibis Condo #2, a quiet two-bedroom condo both cozy and expansive.
Here, you’ll appreciate artisanal wood ceilings and granite countertops, plush beds and a beachy color palette, a private outdoor patio and lush landscaping welcome you to this lovely rental.
Of course, when you rent Ibis #2, you’re reserving more than a home-away-from-home. Because here, you’ll also have access to community: executive access to the Langosta Beach Club, where you’ll enjoy use of a luxurious and oceanfront infinity pool, with its languid pool loungers, full-service poolside bar, private cabanas, fitness center, and beachfront restaurant.
Stay Here: Sunrise 3
Tamarindo | 3 Beds | 2 Baths | Sleeps 6
Nicknamed “Bella Vida” – the Beautiful Life – Sunrise 3 is a guest favorite for great reasons: It has Pacific Ocean views. The community has incredible amenities and the condo walking distance to everything.
Because here in the land of year-round sun and pura vida, you usually have to make a choice: Do you want views or do you want convenience? Sunrise 3 says you don’t have to pick just one! You can walk everywhere. And said everywhere includes the beach, which is located just a few steps across the street. Ahhh, paradise!
Added to the condo’s unparalleled convenience and location, Sunrise 3 also promises a breezy private terrace/balcony, a beachy color palette, a well-equipped kitchen, and lightning-fast 100 Mbps internet. You’ll also have access to the community’s oversized resort pool, with a spectacular water feature and many sun loungers.
Thinking about a Trip to Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste?
That just happens to be our specialty!
Whether you’re venturing off the beaten path or sticking firmly to it, we can help you make the most of your time here – even and especially if you’re traveling to Costa Rica on a budget. At Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, our job and calling are to make you feel at home, everywhere and anywhere you find yourself adventuring.
We offer everything from cozy two-bedroom condos to well-priced family vacation rentals equipped with swimming pools, a fully equipped kitchen, and so much more. Search our inventory to find your perfect vacation home!