What to Bring to Guanacaste National Park in Costa Rica

What to Bring to Guanacaste National Park in Costa Rica
Guanacaste National Park in northern Costa Rica was created in 1989 to preserve tropical forests on the slopes of the volcanoes Cacoa (extinct) and Orosi and to sustain the migratory routes of the area's robust and varied animal population. Its paths cover 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) of a very hot and dry part (especially December to April) of Costa Rica. Intense sun with afternoon showers is typical, but erratic weather and rain are likely at higher elevations and in the rainforest east of the Continental Divide. This weather diversity suggests the need for a variety of clothing and accessories.


Light weight walking shoes and/or hiking boots will get a lot of use, but river sandals or water shoes and running sneakers will be useful for stream crossings and for light walking days. Take synthetic or wool socks.

Upper Body Clothing

Carry at least two sets of lightweight, fast-drying synthetic tops and T-shirts (light colors for minimal heat absorption) because high humidity reigns even in Costa Rica's dry region. Also take along a raincoat and a warm sweater and/or light jacket for colder, windier elevations. Pack clothing for a couple of days in your carry-on bags to allow for late-arriving checked items.

Lower Body Clothing

Light synthetic pants and hiking shorts (two each) will be practical. Consider leaving your jeans at home because they dry far too slowly. A swimsuit and towel are handy to use at the hot springs and beach.

Head and Hands

Include a sun-protection hat in your gear as well as a bandanna and two pairs of sunglasses. A wool cap and gloves will keep you cozy at elevation, and sunscreen (30 spf or higher) is imperative.

Nonclothing Necessities

To enjoy the wealth of scenery, forests and wildlife without stress, don't forget insect repellent, binoculars, camera, passport, pesos, credit card, toiletries, flashlight or headlamp, water bottle and cup, first-aid kit, small backpack for day trips, Spanish phrase book, and field guide and animal identification books.


Lodges are available outside the park, but overnight stays inside the park consists of camping at ranger stations or dorm facilities at biological field stations. Pack camping gear or sleeping sheets as needed.

Article Written By Barry Truman

Barry Truman has published many outdoor activity articles in the past five years with International Real Travel Adventures, the Everett Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers, Backpacking Light Magazine and Trails.com. He has a forestry degree from the University of Washington.

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