Packing List

DO NOT go crazy buying all new stuff for this trip, this is just a list of things I brought, or think might help- you may not need to buy all of it. Mountain Warehouse is where I got a lot of my supplies for this trip, as well as value village.

Bear in mind that everything will get wet or dirty at some stage, so bring clothes that are comfortable, lightweight and quick drying. Bring long pants, socks and long sleeve tops to protect against bug bites-especially if you’re outside at night, like on a night hike.

Personally, I wore leggings or lightweight pants every day, with a t-shirt or tank top, and a light jacket, and also had my raincoat with me. It is pretty hot in Costa Rica, but you need to be almost fully covered while hiking (or at least your legs fully covered) because of the bugs and sticks and such. I usually had my jacket/sweater in my backpack on hikes and just wore a t-shirt and had my raincoat on or around my waist.

*If anyone has questions in regards to special accommodations or disabilities, they can reach out to Josephine – her contact information is listed under “Semester abroad contact info.”

Documents to bring:

  • Immunization record (just in case something happens)
  • Flight tickets
  • Insurance information
    • Both travel insurance and medical insurance
  • Phone numbers and emails of those that are of importance to you
    • i.e. York University faculty members-your Professors for the course(s) you’re taking, the other students in the course(s) you’re taking-i.e. to meet at the airport, Ana Martinez, your insurance company, your travel agent (if you used one), your parents or family members (in case you lose your phone, you should have some of them written down so you don’t forget them), etc.
  • ***Bring photocopies of all your important documentation with you to Costa Rica. Also scan in a copy of all your important documents and email them to yourself and a family member/friend, so that you have an electronic copy as well, in case you lose the copies***.


  • T-shirts/tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Long light weight pants (or leggings) — at least 2 pairs. These are essential, you need them while hiking- I do not recommended wearing shorts on hikes or day trips
  • Underwear and socks — including long socks for hiking and such-i.e. not ankle socks
  • Hooded fleece or sweater — 2 of them, in case one gets wet
  • Pajamas — it’s pretty hot at night, so you don’t need warm PJ’s, I used a t-shirt and shorts
  • Hat
  • Rain coat (!!!)
  • Bathing suits — and rash vest or swim shirt if you burn easy
  • Sandals and running shoes/hiking shoes — you NEED running shoes or hiking shoes for this trip. The mud on and around campus is very slippery, so I suggest bringing ones that have a good grip. I personally slipped many times on hikes and wished I brought better shoes
  • Sunglasses

Personal Kit:

  • Suitcase, rucksack, or duffle bag — I brought a backpacker’s bodypack- basically a suitcase that you can carry on your back and a small day bag/backpack
  • Check with your airline for weight allowance
  • Daysack/day bag — small enough to carry a water bottle, sun-cream, hat, raincoat-if you’re not already wearing it, money, notebook and pens etc.
  • Plastic/metal reusable water bottle
  • Snacks for plane and long drives — I brought granola bars
  • Waterproof bag cover-for backpack (for rain), waterproof dry bag and/or waterproof phone case/cover. — THINGS WILL GET WET. It rains every afternoon in Costa Rica. I didn’t use a dry bag, I brought zip lock plastic bags to put my wallet/money and other things I didn’t want to get wet in, and I also had a waterproof phone pouch.
  • Mosquito net — up to you whether you want to bring/use one. I didn’t use one, you don’t really need one
  • Toiletries — shampoo, conditioner, razor, soap, nail clippers, tweezers, etc.
  • Towels – old ones are best! Or those travel towels. I brought a travel quick dry towel. Your homestays will provide towels for you, but it’s good to have your own for day trips or to dry off on campus if you get caught in the rain during a hike or something
  • Sun cream/sunblock (!!!)
  • Mosquito repellent and afterbite for bug bites (!!!)
  • Personal first aid kit/medication bag — i.e. band aids, gauze, surgical tape, polyisoprene, allergy pills, Advil, baby powder-for chaffing, blister pads for shoes if you get blisters, any other medications or vitamins you take
  • Camera (or your phone) and headphones/earphones
  • Chargers for phone and cameras, etc. — you DO NOT need an electrical converter or adapter, Costa Rica runs on the same currency as Canada.
  • Books or kindle for spare time (and anything else to occupy you during spare time if you want) – this is not very necessary, I didn’t bring anything-other than music- to occupy my spare time, as you’ll be pretty busy during the course(s)
  • One head torch and/or a spare flashlight – recommended: Red Filter-for bugs- but not necessary. In my opinion, head torch is NECESSARY if you’ll be doing night hikes in your course
  • Spare batteries for anything you might be bringing that needs batteries i.e. your head torch
  • Notebook and pen(s) and any other school materials you need for courses – I brought one small notebook for each course I took while I was there, and a few pens and a highlighter
  • Local currency in small denominations – Costa Rican currency-colones- is best in corridor, with American currency okay in San Jose, but I would stick to mostly having colones than American
  • ATM and/or credit card
  • ID-can use passport for that as well
  • Gifts for homestay family – see list of potential homestay gifts in the next chapter
  • Spanish-English translating app – this is by far the easiest way to communicate with non-English speaking people and translate things while in Costa Rica, rather than having a Spanish-English dictionary

 * Try to avoid environmentally harmful soaps, shampoos, or sunscreens, as well as microbeads


Semester Abroad Student Manual Copyright © by Christina Nardini. All Rights Reserved.

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