Over the years, Costa Rica has attracted more and more workshops and retreats dedicated to body work, personal growth, communication, and discovering new ways of coexisting.
Pristine green rainforest, stunning coastlines, and natural waterfalls are just three of the reasons the country rose in popularity. However, there are things to keep in mind when visiting a retreat down here in Central America.
This article shows you 11 simple things to bring to a retreat in Costa Rica!
1. A proper source of light
Throughout the entire year, the sun sets early between 5.00 pm and 6.30 pm. In the rainforest, light sources are scarce at night. We recommend bringing a headlamp and a couple of extra batteries to make sure you can move around freely during the darker hours of the day, and safely find your way around.
2. Slip-on shoes
Especially in the rainy season, roughly lasting from May to December, things can get muddy – and moldy. To walk around outside, we find slip-on shoes like Crocs or any kind of hemp shoes the most useful. The latter is more prone to catch mold though, so keep that in mind when opting for a more expensive option. Flip flops will do the trick, too. If you don't care about brands, You can buy cheap Croc-like shoes here for around 3 dollars.
3. Clothes you can part with
We love the rainforest. However, we have to tell you that your clothes might suffer from the never-ending humidity. When it rains heavily, you might not be able to dry your clothes and they can get moldy. This is why we recommend you to bring anything but your best brand clothes, which you might rather want to save for your home life.
4. Sunscreen and natural bug spray
Naturally, the forest is home to not only toucans and monkeys, but also a few bugs that can bite. Bug spray is quite expensive down here, so we do recommend you to bring your own from home. The same goes for sunscreen, if you want to use this type of product.
Love nuts? Definitely bring a large pack from home. We found that prices for almonds, walnuts and macadamia are extremely high down here, even much higher than in the United States. If you have a good source of nuts in your local community, stock up before you travel down here. The same goes for peanut butter and all kinds of seeds.
6. Eye-masks and earplugs (for light sleepers)
The jungle never sleeps; there is a constant soundscape in the background. While some people love this (we do), light sleepers might want to bring earplugs from home to drown out the chirping or rain at night. As the sun rises early here, you might want to bring an eye mask to sleep a bit longer. Or, if you’re up for an adventure, just leave those things at home and go with the flow of life out here in nature.
7. A water bottle
We’re happy to tell you that Costa Rica will ban all single-use plastic items by 2020. Personally, we don’t like plastic too much and recommend you investing a few bucks in a good, reusable water bottle. Here at Cascada Elysiana, you can drink fresh water straight from the source and charge yourself for your retreat.
8. Personal Medication
If you are using any special medication, or just want to take precaution and bring something just in case, we suggest to use your local pharmacy at home. While there are doctors and pharmacies and hospitals here, it might take a while to get to where they are. We think you’re better off bringing all necessities from home.
9. Umbrella or light rain jacket
In the rainy season, it can (and likely will!) rain a lot. Bring whatever you want to use in order to stay dry when moving around your retreat space or going on jungle exploration and hiking tours.
10. Quick-dry Towel
Regular towels take a mighty long time to dry and take up a lot of space in your bag. We recommend using quick-dry towels. You can buy them in your local outdoors shop, or online. They are also less likely to catch mold.
11. Battery Pack
If you love your phone, we recommend a portable battery pack to extend your battery life. Nothing worse than spotting a group of toucans in the trees after a day-long hike and realizing your battery just died. Also, along the same lines, you might want to bring an unlocked phone, allowing you to use a cheap local SIM card down here.
Above all, come with an open mind!
Central America is not Europe or the United States. Above all, we encourage you to visit with an open mind. Let go of your expectations of how things should be (to the degree you can). Buses might come later, roads might be blocked, the rain might ruin the party.
For us, this is part of the reason we love Costa Rica – you never know what adventures you might get in to. However, one thing has proven true over the years: you can always count on the locals to support if you end up needing any kind of help!