Whether it's diving in Belize or venturing on an eco-trek in Costa Rica, you'll find answers to your questions on Central America travel here.

Shoes/boots for Costa Rica, and other packing help


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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 3
Joined: May 16th, 2010

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Tags: costa rica, Heredia, Samara
  • Added on: May 31st, 2010
Hello all,

I'll be spending a month in Costa Rica this July -- during the rainy season. I'm not 100% sure of my plans yet, which makes packing a bit tricky. I know I'll be in Heredia for 2 weeks, then around Samara for another 2. The last two weeks I'll be staying in more rural accomodations. So far I've got all the light, quick dry fabric clothing ready to go, but it's shoes I can't figure out. I'm trying to bring as few as possible, and want to know if it's worth going to buy a pair of hiking boots. I will be doing day excursions from both locations, probably light hiking, zip-linig, and things of that nature.

I am planning on bringing my Keens for sure, and a pair of flip flops. Hopefully only one other pair. I have read though that you want your feet to be covered completely while hiking... Keens will not stop insects from coming in! Although someone suggested wearing socks inside them? Thoughts? Or do I need to suck it up and spend the cash for some proper hiking boots? I don't want bug bitten feet, and want to avoid snakes at all costs. I have regular sneakers, but not sure if that would have enough traction, and drying time could be a problem.

I've also seen some travelers talking about mosquito netting, or sleeping sacks... I'm not sure that those are really necessary, so any thoughts are appreciated. I expect it to be hot in Samara, so not sure that a sleep slack is practical-- but looking for bug protection during the night.

Your suggestions are appreciated!

Bill Tarkulich

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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 2
Joined: June 1st, 2010

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  • Added on: June 1st, 2010
Well, we were there in January/dry season. We spent a week at the beach, a week in the forest near Arenal. If you are doing organized activities, they will most likely be on established trails, which IMO are pretty tame - well down-trodden and maintained. Volcanic ash is a pretty nice walking surface. I spent the time with just a regular pair of sneakers. We crawled around the volcano rocks, and trekked through established hiking trails some natural areas. In many cases, they even have handrails. We did zip lines, thermal pools and several other excursions.

What we did NOT do, was just ramble along off trail wandering here and there. I would not consider bushwhacking the way I do here in New England.

The general rule seems to be when in the woods, a) Keep your hands to yourself, LOOK before you put your hand down anyplace and b) ALWAYS watch where you are going/watch your steps.

For the most part the critters stay pretty hidden, the majority of wildlife is high in the canopy, but even still, there can be a spider hole within arm's reach.

I would bring a solid pair of sneakers, perhaps all-leather, not the "running" style. I'd also bring a pair of sandals or flip flops for those times you are lounging around whereever you lodge.
My feet have about 40 years of hiking and backpacking on them. Unless you plan to scramble a lot of rocks or go off trail, I don't think you need hiking boots, but you don't want to hike in flipflops or Keens. BTW, most snakes are not on the ground, but in the trees. Keep you eyes wide open.

Regarding netting - it really depends on the acomodations. We stayed in a real room with doors that close and screens that open. I think you only need netting if your accomodation is open-air.

BTW, it's so hot there that things dry pretty quickly. Enjoy your time, it's a gorgeous land.


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Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 18
Joined: March 28th, 2010

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  • Added on: June 12th, 2010
People told me I was an idiot for taking big rubber wellies with limited packing space, but I wore them at least half the time I was there. My friends who didn't bring wellies said they wished they had. I was mostly between Matapalo-Ojochal during the rainy season, most of the time in Dominical. The roads were muddy every day, even if it didn't rain. I got a staph infection in one of my flip flop blisters, probably from walking through all that stagnant water, so it was especially nice to be able to keep my feet dry then. One of the times I went hiking I wore my gore-tex hiking boots, but would have been better off with the wellies because a sudden downpour put ankle-deep water on the trail in half an hour so the water got in through the top of my boots and kept my feet soaked (and it's so humid that shoes take FOREVER to dry if water gets in them). They weren't too hot either, especially as I was wearing shorts or dresses most days. So, if you plan on spending much time in towns without paved roads and you have the luggage space, I highly recommend wellies.

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