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What to pack for a trip with kids to Costa Rica

If you're planning on heading to Costa Rica with your little ones, make sure you pack all the right gear to enjoy your trip!

Your own snorkel gear

Though Costa Rica isn't known for its world renowned snorkeling, we had such a fun time exploring under the sea with our four year old and introducing him to snorkeling. We only brought masks and snorkels to save room on luggage, but that was sufficient and just so easy to toss in your beach bag.

If you're looking for more information on snorkeling with your child for the first time, check out this blog post:

We used the full face snorkel mask for our 4 year old, but he graduated quickly into the regular snorkel gear.

Water shoes

There's a lot of tide pooling to do in Costa Rica, but those rocks are rough! Water shoes for you and your child would be really nice. Or if you're not down with that look, you could also get a pair of shoes with good grip that are made for getting wet like Keens or Tevas.

Quick dry travel towels for the beach

Going to the beach and waterfalls daily makes for wet soppy towels that never dry. These quick-drying towels that we also use for camping are nice because they dry so easily and pack up small.

Here's a great pack towel from REI. You can get different sizes, but I would get with the bath towel or beach towel for the trip:

Dry bag

Always nice to protect your expensive but incredibly fragile things in a dry bag. Weather you're taking it on a boat ride, hiking too a waterfall, on a kayak, hiking in the rainforest, or out on the paddle board, a dry bag comes in clutch.

Swim Shirt/Rash Guard

I hate slathering on sunscreen constantly, and nothing protects the kids from the sun better than UV protective shirts that are made for the water.

There are a lot of companies that sell these and a lot of times they come with the bathing suit. Here's one with lots of different colors and sizes that';s a pretty good price:

UV protective sun hoodie

When it's hot and the sun is strong, these shirts keep your kids cool and also protected. My kids wore there's almost every day while we were in Costa Rica and as a super frugal person, I will confidently say they are well worth the money. You can even buy them a little big so your child can grow into them so they last longer.

My kids have these capilene hoodies (toddler sizes on the left and kid sizes on the right)

Camping hammock

There's nothing better than hanging a hammock in between two palm trees to enjoy a day at the beach. Highly recommend bringing a hammock! You can find some pretty pricey ones, but we have this one from Amazon and they work great.

Waterproof hiking boots

You can get away with not having these if you're not planning on doing too much hiking, but if you're planning on spending a good amount of time in the rainforest, I would bring good close-toed hiking boots that are waterproof. Makes me feel better about the snakes.

Webought these Keen hiking boots for our 4 year old and I really like them. They are easy to put on and they keep his feet warm and dry on wet and muddy hikes.


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It was a little difficult for my son to figure out the binoculars, but these were really nice to have. There's a lot of wildlife to spot, and the binoculars make it easier--especially looking for sloths!

Small speaker (preferably water resistant)

I mean, not kids specific, but it's nice to have good music while relaxing on the beach.

Kids floaties

Definitely a must! We used them daily as we were constantly in the water--well worth the suitcase space they took up. Our 1 year old used the Puddle Jumper swimmies and our 4 year old used the belt as a little boost. The belt also worked great for snorkeling.

Transparency is cool! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, the company will throw me a few bucks if you buy through the links. All my recommendations are completely honest and I would never recommend anything that I don't stand behind.


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