cover pack list

Yep, that’s us with our 9 suitcases in the driveway of Greg’s folks house in Dallas, right before we headed out to the airport to fly to Costa Rica on June 17, 2013.

So, what exactly did we pack in those 9 suitcases?  Well, I’m here to tell you.  This has actually been requested of me several times, and I just finally got around to doing it (thanks Dee Dee for your nudge the other day!)  Although I did an earlier form of this list in the back of my book Costa Rica Chica, this post will be more detailed and itemized.

DISCLAIMER: This is my PERSONAL list, so read at your own risk, and take or leave what you may. Many of these items can be found here in Costa Rica if you look hard enough, go to bigger cities, or are willing to fork out more money than I was.

So, here you go – MY PACK LIST: 




  • meds2 large bottles of Ibuprofen
  • Bandaids
  • Neosporin
  • Nyquil
  • Benadryl
  • Tylenol Sinus Medicine
  • Mentholathum – although they DO have something similar here called “Zepol” – similar to Vicks Vapor Rub but not as potent.  Sometimes I see Vicks in the stores, and sometimes not.
  • Cold-Eeze – this is my absolute secret for not getting a cold! As soon as I feel an inkling of a sore throat or cold coming on, I take one of these throat lozenges, and then drink a cup of hot lemon/ginger tea – and I chase that cold right away. Seriously – I have not been sick ONE TIME since moving to Costa Rica – in all of my 2 ½ years here.
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Sunscreen – VERY important, as it is muy expensive here!  We like Banana Boat and Organic Sunblock SPF 40.
  • OFF! Mosquito Repellant – again, pricey here.
  • Various skin care products (if you have favorites, bring your own).
  • Razors & shaving cream are very expensive here – so we always try to stock up on the these items whenever we visit the States.
  • Carmex – if you like carmex (like I do), bring it with you, I haven’t seen it here.
  • Lens Cleaning Wipes – we love these for cleaning our eye glasses (especially Greg’s – his seem to get dirty all the time).
  • Lavender Heating Pad – I use when I have cramps, or a sore back – works wonders.



  • electronicsLaptops – Greg has the MacBook Pro and I have the MacBook Air.
  • Kindles – Greg has the Kindle Fire, and I read on the Kindle app on my iPad Mini.
  • Unlocked iPhones (both 4S’s at the time), now I have the iPhone 5S which I love.
  • iPods – I love my iPod Shuffle – it is so cute and small, and will clip onto your shirt anywhere.
  • Hair dryer 
  • Nikon Camera – what Greg takes all his fabulous shots with.
  • Curling Iron, large barrel – again, pricey here from what I’ve seen.
  • Garmin Watch – excellent for hiking, and knowing how far you’ve gone.



  • CLOTHINGMy favorite t-shirts, shorts, skorts, tank tops, & yoga pants
  • A couple of casual dresses
  • Teva Flip flops – for around the house and going to town.
  • Teva Flip flops – with wedge heel, a tad more dressy for parties, etc.
  • NikeID Running shoes
  • Keen’s – for walking and hiking, I love the closed toe!
  • UGG slippers – one of my comforts I could not give up.  Everyone should experience these – they are so warm and comfortable.
  • TERVIS cups and water bottles – these are insulated, and don’t sweat – and are a godsend here.
  • Croc’s
  • Baseball caps
  • Darn Tough wool socks for hiking – these are amazing:  breathable, odor resistant and here’s the kicker – LIFE TIME GUARANTEE.  
  • Check out my blog post I did just on clothing.



  • otherBed sheets – you can get sheets here, but they do not have that many choices of thread count, etc. and just seem to be not very high quality. And of course I only use WHITE sheets (makes the nightly bug check that much easier).
  • Mosquito Net Bed Canopy – I have not used this yet, BUT the minute I find one enemy bug in my bed or bedroom, trust me – this will be going up.
  • 2 light-weight down comforters 
  • Towels – I LOVE Lands End towels, they’re from Wisconsin(!) and their towels last forever. The towels here are scratchy and not high quality.
  • 2 comfy throws – this was another comfort thing for me – they are soft and warm and just so comfy.
  • 2 of our favorite pillows
  • Reusable shopping bags – especially if you do not have a car, and tote your groceries or feria purchases to the bus stop.  We use these almost every other day.
  • Rechargeable Batteries – my best advice is to get the rechargeable kind, and bring here with you.
  • 2 Flashlights – you’d be surprised how often we find ourselves outside on a dark road with no street lights.  Also good to have when the electricity goes off at night (sometimes happens).
  • Umbrellas – you can find them everywhere here, but they are very cheaply made.
  • Yoga mats
  • The Executioner –  a bug zapper in the form of a hand-held tennis racket – I was not coming to Costa Rica without this!  I’ve executed flies, moths, roaches and spiders with this (the larger the bug, the more spas it will take).
  • Backpacks
  • Hippie Cross Body Bag – I love this one.  Or you can buy an Aéropostale bag here (which I also have) and fit in with all the Ticas. 



  • thingsBrita water pitcher with filter – we used for a while, but the  water is fine right out of the faucet (almost everywhere in Costa Rica).  Now we just keep a pitcher of tap water in the fridge so it’s always cold.
  • <<Weighted hula hoop – it may appear like I’m using it in this photo, but don’t be fooled.
  • Rain jacket – for some reason, I just never use.
  • Coach Black Rain boots – my boots are super cute, but I just don’t use them here. 
  • TOO MANY jackets – really I only use one fleece jacket, or a sweatshirt if I’m cold.
  • Rosetta Stone – Spanish (just being honest).
  • Purse (just don’t use, prefer my back pack or cross-body shoulder bag).
  • Coffee grinder (have only used a few times, as whole bean coffee is hard to find here – except Britt which is super pricey).



  • miscEva-Dry Dehumidifier for closets – our landlord’s got these for us, and they are great for rainy season to prevent mold.  When the color turns to pink, it needs to be plugged in to recharge (yes, I plugged this one in right after I took this picture).
  • We did not bring a printer, but if you do – bring lots of spare ink cartridges for it (even if you find a place locally that sells your particular cartridge, which is rare, you never know how long they will keep them in stock).
  • Since moving here, my pal Mike gave me his ice cream attachment (attaches to my kitchen aid mixer) – that he didn’t use anymore. I use it all the time.  Making homemade ice cream is really fun, and tastes so much better than the store bought kind.

So there you have it, that is pretty much it.  It helps to rent a fully furnished house, of course, which was our intention all along.  Hope this helps!

Pura Vida! — Jen

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  1. Jen,
    Thanks for your list. Wish I’d seen it a couple of days ago. I’m flying out of lax tonight with 3 very heavy bags and one gym bag full of dog food and a pet carrier with my Jack Russell just couldn’t leave the old boy behind. Moving to Grecia about 5 blocks from the feria. So very excited just need to get through the aniexty getting on the flight

  2. Hi Jen,
    I absolutely loved this post! I’m not moving, to Grecia or anyplace else but it was really fun to see and read about the tools you use for your amazing baking. I thoroughly enjoyed the links and will be sending Amazon an order for a few things I don’t have. Great article, Muchas gracias Amiga!

    • Irma – you are so great…. let me try to count the ways, starting with #1: you are NOT moving to Costa Rica, but STILL liked my post (which was on moving to Costa Rica)! You are just a sweet star, in my book. Case closed. 🙂 xo

  3. We have quit our jobs and are listing our house in the US with plans to move our family of 5 to Nosara/ Samara, CR. as soon as the house sells. We both turn 40 this year, our youngest is 12. Any insight you are willing to offer is greatly appreciated!

  4. Hi Jen,
    just decided to possibly move to CR in a few years.
    I’d like to make it a vacation spot first however, as I have not yet been there.
    What do you suggest as a great safe area? Possibly a place where we could purchase a vacation rental.
    Thanks for your input!

  5. so I am going to Costa rica for 6 months and want to bring my immersion blender too but with all your ktichen appliances what did you use as a converter and adapter plug? I have only been finding converters for low powered things like laptops and iphones and nothing for more than 200W. please let me know

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