If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve been searching for a credible packing list for that special place in Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula.

Well, if that’s where you are headed, do not do what I did, which was to read up on fashion bloggers’ packing lists for all the touristy spots in Costa Rica, cram so much stuff in my rolling suitcase that I had to unzip the expansion zipper, look on sheepishly on as resort employees ferried said enormously heavy suitcase across the beach to the resort by pickup truck, and at the end of the trip wearily regard the four outfits I didn’t wear at all. No, do not do that.

Instead, use this packing list! I cut it down to a point where you will have everything you need to stay comfortable and happy throughout your stay. It’s not a backpacker’s list – this is for people who want to relax a bit at the resorts around the peninsula and won’t be carrying all their belongings on their back – but it will yield a duffel that won’t weigh you down or raise eyebrows when it’s weighed at the SANSA airline counter.

This list is geared toward the conscious tourist who wants to keep their waste to a minimum, and avoid contaminating the water with toxic personal care products. After all, you are visiting a protected reserve for a reason, right?

If you haven’t yet read it, read my activity guide to the Osa Peninsula so I don’t have to over-explain myself here. Overall, know that Osa Peninsula is very casual, and doesn’t have a lot of shopping. So if you are particular about your brands, bring it with you.

Finally, take a look at both lists, whatever your gender. This is based on how my fiancé and I packed personally, but I don’t mean to imply a woman would always bring an SLR camera while the guy brings the Gopro, for example.

Women’s Osa Peninsula Packing List


  • Toiletries – this travel-sized kit from vegan, non-toxic company Meow Meow Tweet is perfect for animal-loving Osa tourists
  • Makeup – I recommend only the very basic makeup: RMS Un-Cover Up and Living Luminizer which work well in hot climates, mascara, and eyeliner
  • Sunscreen – go with non-toxic so you don’t put toxins in the pristine water.
  • Bug spray
  • Mini Hair dryer – If you want! You don’t have to.
  • Aloe


  • Something to sleep in
  • Yoga clothes – not necessary, but I know some people do yoga retreats on Osa Peninsula. I brought some yoga pants and didn’t use them because I didn’t have time to even figure out if places like Blue Osa will let you drop in for a class. Go with something that is lightweight, like Teeki, which is made from recycled bottles.
  • Tank tops
  • Long-sleeved tee to protect from sunburn
  • Casual, easy dress
  • Quick-drying shorts – for hiking or sports
  • Long pants – for horseback riding
  • Beach coverup
  • 3 bathing suits – one to wear while the other is drying, then a third to change into when you get back midday and the other is still drying because it’s really, really humid there. Try one sport bathing suit, one for lounging on the beach, the third up to you.
  • Sports bras
  • Lightweight regular bras
  • Lightweight sport thongs
  • Sneakers or boots for hiking – I like People’s Movement because they are high tops and sturdy, plus dry quickly relative to running shoes, but are cute enough to wear in the airport.
  • Socks
  • Teva’s – so crucial for water sports, hiking to waterfalls, etc. If you bring one pair of shoes, let these be it.
  • Flip flops
  • Birkenstocks
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana – great for hiking and other activities
  • Visor or baseball hat – something that will stay on your head and protect your face from sunburn when you’re in a boat and the wind is trying to take it off.
  • Panama hat – for lounging on the beach or walking around town
  • Cotton reusable bag – packs up really small, but holds a lot for wandering around the peninsula
  • Flashlight or headlamp – it gets very, very dark
  • Mesh bag for dirty/wet clothes 

Travel Outfit

  • Jacket
  • Sweater
  • Nice t-shirt
  • Leggings/fancy sweatpants
  • Cowboy boots – I know this seems out of left field, but stick with me. If you have ’em, wear them on the plane. Cowboy boots slip right on and off in the TSA line. Plus, you can wear them horseback riding like I did when you get there.
  • Inexpensive watch

Packing list for Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Backpack – go with a roomy backpack that you can take on the plane and on a day hike or tours. The one pictured above is a vintage army backpack, but I also have a Hiptipico backpack that I’ve dragged all over the world and it is da bomb.

  • Cash – so important! They don’t have an ATM in Drake Bay, and will charge you 13% to run your card at restaurants and at the supermarket in town to get cash. And yet, so many people only accept cash, though American dollars or Costa Rican colóns are both fine. Plan to spend about $20 per meal on yourself, plus $50+ on tours that you don’t book through your hotel, and some extra for sundries.
  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • Magazines, books, iPad
  • Journal
  • Pens
  • Smartphone
  • Phone charging cord
  • Portable charger
  • Birth control
  • Empty water bottle – I like S’well because it’s insulated and streamlined for easy carrying.
  • Earbuds
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable spork – so you don’t have to use disposable ones
  • Camera, battery charger, other accessories
  • Printed itinerary and confirmations – there’s not much Wifi, so don’t rely on your smartphone!
  • Fold-up reusable bag – this will really come in handy when you get to the Peninsula.

What not to bring:

  • Dinner outfits – no one gives a shit how cute you are. Just show up to whatever casual restaurant – and they are all very casual – and grab a seat.
  • Jewelry – Ditto.

Men's packing list for Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Men’s Osa Peninsula Packing List



  • Visor or baseball hat – something that will stay on your head and protect your face from sunburn when you’re in a boat and the wind is trying to take it off.
  • Swimtrunks
  • Teva’s – crucial! If you only bring one pair of sandals, bring these
  • Flip-flops
  • Casual shorts
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Convertible pants/shorts
  • Light long sleeved tee – for hiking or protecting from sunburn
  • Long socks
  • Short socks
  • Underwear


  • CamelBak – a staple for the Osa set, it’s great for day hikes and tours.
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Water bottle sling
  • GoPro camera – you’ll be doing so many water sports, you’ll want a waterproof camera
  • Handkerchief or small towel for sweat

Costa Rica

Wear on the plane: 

  • Sunglasses
  • Jeans
  • Tee
  • Hoodie
  • Palladium boots – they look cool enough for the airport, but dry quickly and serve a dude well for a day hike
  • Sport watch

Backpack or messenger bag:

  • Smartphone
  • Phone charging cord
  • Portable charger
  • Empty water bottle
  • Passport
  • Fold-up reusable bag – this will really come in handy when you get to the Peninsula.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable spork – so you don’t have to use disposable ones

What not to bring: 

  • Chinos or nice shorts
  • Button downs
  • Loafers