What Should I Pack for a Costa Rica Destination Wedding?
Lucky enough to be planning your destination wedding in Costa Rica or have been invited to attend one? We give you the lowdown on what you need to pack!
Packing for a destination wedding in Costa Rica can be a little daunting. Traveling to a country revered for its nature-based adventures for a ‘formal affair’ leaves many in a conundrum. Yet to be totally honest, packing for a vacation to Pura Vida land is easy, no matter the reason that’s getting you here.
Costa Rica is a laid-back country, one that boasts an idyllic tropical climate. Even if you’re planning or have been invited to a wedding, you can pretty much bet it won’t be the kind of formal event you’re probably used to, back home. Even some of the glitziest 5* weddings in Costa Rica are barefoot romantic affairs, many held on glorious stretches of golden beaches or amidst the luscious canopy of a rain forest.
Trust us: no-one would ever criticize you if you don’t pack the stilettos or tuxedo!
To this end, here’s all you need to know about packing for a destination wedding in Costa Rica – the dos, the don’t, and the absolute musts!
The majority of your clothing must be casual, comfortable outdoor gear
Yes, you’re heading over for a wedding, we totally get it. Yet there will likely be just one day out of your entire adventure vacation in Costa Rica that will require slightly more formal wear. Most of the time, you’ll be waltzing around in sundresses, shorts, Tevas, and sunhats. Flip-flops, outdoor sandals, and light hiking boots are the must-haves, everything else is a luxury!
Ladies, when choosing dressy high-heel shoes, go for wedges
Spiky high heels are no match for Costa Rica’s terrain, especially if the destination wedding is held on the beach or in a rain forest lodge. If you wish for some height, then opt for wedged-heel shoes instead. This is the most comfortable option here when you aren’t wearing flats!
For dressier clothing, choose tops and bottoms
A nice pair of pants and a couple of tops (or shirts, for men) offer multiple dress-up options, not only for the wedding but any time you dine in a fancier restaurant. Formal dresses take up a lot more packing room so, unless you are the bride or bridesmaid, choose tops and bottoms for more clever space-saving.
Always plan for chilly evenings – pack (and dress) in layers
The temps can drop considerably in some parts of Costa Rica, even in the heart of summer. Although it’s easy to just put on a sweater over casual clothing, you may want to consider a shawl or nice bolero jacket for more formal evenings. A thicker, beautiful sarong can easily be turned in a shawl, by the way!
Quick-dry fabrics & long sleeves
Even during the driest months, you are likely to experience a torrential downpour in Costa Rica. This is, after all, how the country stays so beautifully luscious. To this end, choose quick-dry fabrics and bring some lightweight but long-sleeved tops (and long pants), for activities like jungle or beach walks. More fabric protects from sunburn and insect stings.
Beach wedding invite? Smart casual is the way to go!
Forget the suits on a destination wedding in tropical Costa Rica and, instead, opt for khakis/chinos, linen shirts, and smart sandals for men and beautiful but not-too-formal dresses for women.
Ask the bridge & groom for dress-code directives
If you’re not the one planning the destination wedding in Costa Rica, then ask your friend to give you details on the expected dress code. If the wedding is indeed yours, then do your cherished invitees a favor and tell them what to wear on the day, you’ll make their life much easier!
If this is your first-time visiting Costa Rica, then you might find the following packing tips useful.
Coming from North America? You don’t need converters/adapters
Costa Rica shares your plugs and voltage, don’t worry.
Leave keys and your wallet at home
Take just the essentials from your wallet and leave the house keys with a trusted neighbor.
Bring a small bay-pack
Even if you haven’t worn a backpack since 1987, you’ll want to wear one on your Costa Rica adventures. No need to bring your usual, everyday purse here, the humidity will dampen the material and it’ll get in the way of photo-taking and hiking. Plus, you’ll need more things with you on your everyday outings, such as sunscreen and a water bottle, so a backpack is super handy.
Don’t forget the Slip, Slop, Slap
The clever Australians were onto a good thing when they invented the slip, slop, slap campaign. That’s slip on a shirt, slop on sun protection cream, and slap on a cap. Do all three in Costa Rica, religiously: our sun can be brutal to the unaccustomed.
Extra batteries and memory cards
‘Because you will take infinitely more photos than you think you will and you won’t always have the time to recharge/download.
Off-screen entertainment (books!)
Costa Rica will teach you the art of doing sweet nothing for at least two hours a day. If you know you cannot siesta, pack a book. Not every hotel has WiFi (this is, after all, unplugged vacation central) so your phone will be of no use anyway.
Leave the expensive jewels at home
Bohemian costume jewelry will work a treat on the wedding day!
Face masks, hand sanitizer, and antiseptic wipes
Traveling to Costa Rica in COVID times means you are required to wear a mask inside enclosed public spaces (like the reception area of a hotel) unless you are seated for a meal. Although you can naturally find everything you need in Costa Rica, it’s handy to simply bring a supply pack from home with the three main items you will need from the get-go.
Closed-toe wet/dry hiking sandals are lifesavers
Whether your feet get drenched because you’re crossing a stream or simply sweating it out under a blaring sun, hiking sandals like Keens and Tevas are a godsend down here. Toe protection is also essential when hiking in jungles, where the terrain is uneven and changes for major painful stubs abundant.
Mosquito repellent? Don’t leave home without it
Mosquitos can be a nuisance here and spray is expensive, so bring some from home.
Bring a couple of swimsuits
You’ll likely be and out of the water just about every day in Costa Rica and given the humidity, swimsuits don’t dry as fast as they do back home. Bring spares and live in them!
Waterproof bags for electronics
This keeps water, dust, and sand away and allows you to relax when out adventuring in the wilds of Costa Rica!
You DO NOT NEED to take a COVID test
Right now, you are obligated to fill in a Health Form and purchase travel insurance to visit Costa Rica but you do not need a COVID test. Your trusted travel agent will help you sort out what you need to do.
For more details on how to pack for the adventure part of your Costa Rica vacation, read this and note that we supply a comprehensive packing list to our adventure tour guests.
If you’re actually just contemplating planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica, read this handy guide and see how much it would cost.