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The List You'll Need to Spend 3 Months in San José

So, you’re almost ready to make your trip, but are you packing the right things?
 Pack light, you'll be lugging these things round.

This is a list of the items that I brought and those I wish I’d brought/ hadn’t and why it was useful or not.  I packed 1 suitcase and 1 backpack and packed another bag for travel and souvenirs, I hope this helps!

What I wish I brought

  • Another towel- our homestay didn’t have towels, an extra one could really come in handy
  • More sunscreen- it is hot near the beaches, and the sunburn doesn’t help anyone
  • Another water bottle-there aren’t many places where the water is unsafe, but while traveling another water bottle comes in handy
  • A pair of running shoes- one of the only easy ways to be active here and stay out of the hot gym is to run.  There is also a soccer team with ticos and they’d be useful there
  • An umbrella- people here don’t really use rain jackets, and the downpours are rather heavy
  • A 3>2 prong charger converter-these aren't necessary in most of the homestays, but mine was an older house and I liked to use my laptop frequently

What You’ll Want


  • Only bring the amount of clothes that you’ll wear in one week as the host family does your laundry at least once a week.  You’ll want to bring light clothing that will easily dry as it rains most days.
  • You’ll likely want a long sleeve shirt and a pair of pants as the bus rides during excursions can get cold.
  • You may also want dressier clothes for some of the dinners or going out.


  • Bring shoes that’ll be good for hiking, going to the beach, daily-wear, and something dressier.
 Keens- my most un-regretted purchase prior to leaving.

Bathroom stuff

  • Nothing is provided and most of it is much more expensive here- bring enough shampoo/conditioner/lotion/etc. for your entire trip in addition to dental hygiene products, period products, and nail clippers.

Swimming/ Beach excursion stuff

By far one of the best parts of the trip for me, the water feels awesome, and there are a  lot of cool places to explore

  • 2 swimsuits-there are no real standards of modesty here, all beachwear is accepted and worn by ticos
  • 1 pair of goggles-if you have them, many of the beaches have cool underwater rock formations or coral that are fun to explore
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen, After-burn lotion/Aloe, Bug spray- the sun is hotter here, and many of the beaches have sand flies, protect yourself!

First Aid

  • Diarrhea medication (just in case, almost everyone gets it at some point)
  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin/other pills
  • Bandages

School Supplies

  • Bring the items that you’ll want for each class in terms of notebooks and pencils, textbooks are provided and have already been paid for.

Other Useful items

  • Phone (make sure you call in and tell them where you’ll be and get an SD card if necessary)
  • Laptop (not necessary but useful)
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Headphones and MP3 player
  • A Journal-to document your time here
  • Water bottle
  • Wallet
  • Neck pillow (good for plane and bus rides)
 You’re ready to come experience this beautiful country!

Allie N. is a CEA alumni.  She studied abroad in San José, Costa Rica during the summer of 2017 and is currently a junior at Ohio Wesleyan University.

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