Costa Rica is a hiking paradise. 30% of the country consists of protected national parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges – offering magnificent trails and stunning scenery. Whether you choose to hike past volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, or coastlines, Costa Rica will offer an unforgettable trip.
A lot of the hiking here can be pretty far removed, so being properly prepared is really important. Not only will this make your hiking trip safer, but it will also allow you to enjoy your time that much more. Costa Rica actually has 12 different life zones – each with its own microclimate. This means that you will always need to be prepared for all the different conditions!
Here are some essentials to bring along on your hiking adventure in Costa Rica.
Related Read: Packing list for hiking
10 Hiking Essentials for Costa Rica
1. A Great Backpack
A solid backpack is possibly the most vital thing to bring with you when hiking. In Costa Rica, choosing the best hiking backpack for rainy weather is important. Especially because you will probably have to trek through a few shower storms or past some waterfalls. Your hiking backpack will become your home away from home, holding all of your useful possessions.
Make sure that your hiking backpack is comfortable, spacious, and durable. As you will probably be carrying it through dense rainforest, along sandy beaches, or up the Rocky Mountains.
2. Comfortable Hiking Boots
Your boots will make all the difference to your hiking experience. Be sure to choose the best possible boots for you, because comfortable feet will result in a happy hiker. This really can’t be stressed enough.
As mentioned earlier, Costa Rica has a wide range of microclimates and terrain that you will be hiking through. This means that the shoes or boots that you wear will need to be suited to all kinds of conditions.
Make sure to choose hiking boots that are durable for harsh conditions, but also breathe well. As you will most likely be walking through thick jungle and possible rains, having boots that are water-resistant will make a big difference.
3. A Rain Poncho
Costa Rica tends to be pretty hot and humid, with a fairly high chance of random rain showers. When hiking, you will want to stay cool, but also dry. This is when a rain poncho is really useful.
You can quickly whip these little items out when the rain starts pouring, and wear them over your clothes and backpack. They will keep you dry, without sacrificing your temperature. Not only this, but they pack away into tiny, lightweight packs. This is perfect for easy backpack storage.
If a rain poncho is not for you, bringing along a light waterproof jacket will also work. Just make sure that it is not too hot or heavy.
When trekking along underneath the hot Costa Rican sun, you will definitely need a good layer of sunscreen. Making sure that you don’t burn will vastly improve your entire hiking experience.
Not only is sunscreen important to always have on hand, but it is also significantly more expensive to buy when you are in Costa Rica. For this reason, be sure to pack some along with you.
5. Mosquito Repellant
Costa Rica is full of insects. If you plan on hiking through the rainforests, you will probably spend a fair amount of time swatting away mosquitos. This is where an effective mosquito repellant will save the day.
Not only are mosquitoes seriously annoying, but in Costa Rica, they can also carry diseases – such as dengue. Make sure that you are properly protected from them, in order to keep your body happy.
The rainy season is when mosquitoes are most prominent. However, they can still be found buzzing around throughout the year.
6. Light, Long Clothing
When hiking through the humid jungle, you can get pretty hot and sweaty. However, as mentioned above, you will want to protect yourself from insects and mosquitoes. Packing the right clothing for these conditions is really important.
Try to wear long pants and long sleeves that are still lightweight and easy breathing. Zip-off pants are popular choices for hikers here. When the days become evenings, this is especially when the mosquitoes will come out. Make sure that you cover up during this time.
7. A Dry Bag
Having a dry bag in your backpack can be one of the most useful things to have with you in Costa Rica. Hiking here will often involve waterfalls, rivers, or beaches – so you will usually end up swimming. Being able to stash away wet clothes or towels helps a lot.
Not only this, but a dry bag can be an excellent way of protecting any electronics from the intense humidity. If you have any devices with you, try to pack them into a dry bag to keep them safe while hiking.
If you are hiking through small villages or remote areas of Costa Rica, you may struggle to find an ATM or credit card facility. Make sure that you have enough cash to see you through while you are away from any busy destinations. Cash is usually preferred in Costa Rica, so it’s always best to keep enough on hand.
9. A Map
With GPS technology and smartphones, maps may be a thing of the past. However, having a good Costa Rica hiking map at the ready is often a necessity. This is because the signal is not always that great – especially when you are far off in the national parks or dense jungles. You certainly won’t want to get lost, and you don’t know when you may lose signal.
10. An Insulated Water Bottle
With the heat and humidity being what it is in Costa Rica, there’s nothing quite like having a cool stainless steel bottle of water at the ready. You can drink tap water in most areas of the country, so refilling your bottle is easy. This will also save you money on buying water, and it is a more environmentally friendly option.
A good insulated water bottle should also be able to clip onto your hiking backpack for easy storage and access.
Recommended Read: Essential Clothing Tips for Hiking
Costa Rica is a truly magnificent country to explore, and hiking is one of the best ways of seeing the place. Just make sure that you are well prepared because being stuck in the jungle without the right hiking essentials can turn your trip right around.
Make sure to remember each of these items for your Costa Rica hiking trip, as they will ensure a far more enjoyable experience.