Hola from Costa Rica! Now that I have officially been here for a week, I have finally settled into my new home with my host family, met some new friends from universities across the United States, and started my classes. In the past week, I have also discovered that I have been using some of the items I packed much more than others. Therefore, I decided to compile a list of the top five items that I am very happy to have packed for this trip!
I know this one may come across as obvious, but sunblock has been a lifesaver and something I have used every single day. Costa Rica is obviously known for its warm climate, but the direct sunlight was not something that I have experienced in Philadelphia! Since Costa Rica is just ten degrees north of the equator, the sun is much stronger here and it is definitely easier to burn.
The many different microclimates of this country mean that there is a large array of temperatures that can be experienced within just an hour of driving! Although the temperature is generally very warm, a hike in the mountains may require some layering up. Not to mention, the cooler temperature in the morning contrasts highly with the warm rays of the sun in the afternoon. It is always wise to carry layers in case of a change!
Coin Pouch or Small Wallet
One of the main ways I have traveled from place to place has been the public bus. Transportation is much cheaper than the United States (my ride to San Jose is 325 collones, which is roughly a little less than 60 cents). However, this means that the fare is paid through coins and a smaller coin pouch or wallet comes in handy when it is time to present the fare to the driver! A secondary wallet has also been helpful in making me feel more secure, as I have not had to take out the wallet with my valuables every time.
Costa Rica has gorgeous flowers! However, with flowers comes seasonal allergies due to pollen. I have had allergies in the morning since my first day, but taking a non-drowsy allergy medication has helped me immensely with relieving those symptoms!
One of the most attractive aspects of Costa Rica is the endless trips that can be taken to different places. With these trips comes a lot of traveling! I brought a strong portable charger with me during a trip to one of the volcanos, which proved incredibly useful as the bus did not have charging outlets. Portable chargers are also helpful during long days of class and provide me with the comfort of knowing I will have my phone charged whenever I need it!
If you forget to pack any of these items, San Jose has so many accessible stores to get whatever you may need. After all, whether you are in the city of San Jose or on a trip to Monteverde, these five essentials will definitely come in handy!