Packing List & Climate

Home > Costa Rica > Visa & Travel Information > Packing List & Climate

Packing List

Provided here is a suggested packing list which can be used as a starting point.

Packing and Climate

Generally, participants should pack as lightly as possible while remembering to bring essential items. This is not an easy task, so we recommend not waiting until the night before to begin packing.   We suggest not over-packing, as rooms may be smaller by American standards, and space can vary greatly in the homestay accommodations.

Here are some items to consider about San José's culture and weather while packing: students will be arriving in Costa Rica during the rainy season, meaning that it will be raining somewhat heavily for a few hours almost every afternoon. The temperature during the day is generally temperate, but it can range from quite cool (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit) to quite warm (80-90 degrees Fahrenheit) and humid. Nights during the rainy season tend to be very cool. Toward the end of the semester, students will experience the beginning of summer in Costa Rica, which can be quite warm and clear. Students are encouraged to bring raincoats, an umbrella, and appropriate shoes for wet weather since it rains regularly. We recommend bringing clothes that can be layered and mixed and matched, since the weather will vary greatly.  

Month Avg. Low Avg. High Avg. Precipitation
September 61°F 79°F 12.00 in
October 60°F 77°F 11.80 in
November 60°F 77°F 5.70 in
December 58°F 75°F 1.60 in

Other items to consider while abroad in Costa Rica:


Be prepared for your shoes to be wet often during the rainy season. Students will need at least two pairs of walking shoes for the city, as one pair of shoes is likely to get wet every day. We recommend bringing hiking boots for the program excursions and individual travel. During many trips, students will need to carry at least two pairs of shoes, one for hiking--which will get wet and muddy—and one pair to wear at the lodge or hotel. Remember to bring sandals for trips to the beach! (Sandals are not allowed for walking or hiking in natural areas, such as National Parks, for security reasons.)  


When packing jewelry, do not bring anything flashy or expensive. It is better to blend in as much as possible in downtown San José, instead of being recognized as a tourist. We recommend leaving favorite, valuable, or sentimental jewelry items at home. Costume or silver jewelry is more practical than more valuable items, especially if it is lost or stolen. 

Beach towels

Host families will provide bed linens and bath towels, but students will need to have their own beach towel(s) to take on trips.  They can be brought, or easily purchased once in Costa Rica.

Voltage Converters & Adapters

The electrical voltage used in Costa Rica is 120 (same as the US), meaning that most US-made appliances work perfectly well in Costa Rica.  If students find that they need them, converters can be purchased at hardware stores in the US or at their Costa Rica equivalent, ferreterías, in San José. Keep in mind almost all outlets accept plugs with 2 flat prongs only, so students should either bring an adapter if they have electronics that require the third grounding prong. 


Please read through all of the information provided by your airline, as participants are responsible for any excess baggage fees. Also, think carefully about saving space in your suitcase to bring items back!