Musts: Camera, sunscreen (SPF 8 or 15+), pocket alarm clock or watch, comfortable shoes, beach towel, soap/shampoo/toiletries, umbrella, comfortable clothes, dictionary, pen and paper, valid passport, sweater.
Optional: Insect repellent, swiss army knife, iPod or MP3 player, snorkel and mask, a cotton sheet or two, aspirin, a cup, flashlight, daypack, hiking boots, ziploc bags, gortex parka and pants or rain poncho, sun hat, sunglasses, small first aid kit, washcloth.´¨
Dress: Costa Rica is not a rich country, but in spite of this they have developed the curious art of having little money and not showing it. People seen on the streets of the towns and cities are well-dressed, as if it were just further proof of the “well-known fact” that Costa Rica is the best country in Central America. You will not go wrong to dress neatly. Keep in mind that San Jose, at 1760 meters (3000 feet) is also cooler than the coasts (25-32º C or 75-90º F), and that beach attire is not common in the bustling capital. In San Jose (17-23º C or 65-78º F) days can be very warm, but in the evenings you will be comfortable in long sleeves. Bring comfortable clothes and shoes for school and travel and something nice for a night on the town or a business meeting.
Take note that May through November are the wet months. This means sunny mornings with clear skies, but clouds move in for occasional afternoon drizzles or showers. The month of October generally sees the most rainfall, always in the afternoons. On the other hand, we have our Indian Summer, ‘El veranito de San Juan’ during the last two weeks of June. And finally, we don’t know whether it’s El Niño, La Niña, or global warming, but every year it rains less in the Central Valley.