There are hundreds of “What to Pack for Costa Rica” articles. Most of them are ‘Top Ten Obvious Things to Pack’ lists… bathing suit, sunglasses, shorts, etc, — yes all good ideas for the tropics.

So here 5 thing to consider when packing your luggage for Costa Rica:

1. While insect repellent are on most of these lists, try ‘insect repellant wipes’ which you can’t find here. Not only do they keep the insects away they keep you cool and feels cleansing after a long, hot, steaming, sweaty, sticky day of hiking through the jungle trails. Better yet find yourself a sunscreen/insect repellant combo; it keeps those pesky sand flies away while baking on the beach.

2. Extra pair of your prescription eye glasses or contacts, or both. This one is including here because it was on lists of top travel mishaps and also because 64% of Americans wear eyeglasses, and about 11% wear contact lenses (according to Vision Council of America). An administrator at Manuel Antonio’s National Park, which receives 150,000 visitors per year, said the number 1 item in the lost and found was eye glasses – with hundreds of eye glasses lost every year just in this one park.

3. Real hiking shoes are on most of these what-to-pack lists, but it is surprising to see so many tourists opting for the comfortable high end Nike sandals, feet exposed, trekking along jungle trails oblivious to the fact that there is a poisonous snake for every 2.4 acres in Costa Rica. There are 135 species of snakes, and only 17 are known to be venomous in Costa Rica but these 17 are prevalent including several species of viper and the infamous ferdelance or Bothrops Asper, sometimes referred to as the “ultimate pit viper”. It is considered the most dangerous snake in Costa Rica, responsible for 46% of all bites and 30% of all hospitalized cases. Pack good, protective hiking shoes if you are trekking the rainforests of Costa Rica.

4. Montezuma’s Revenge – another one on the top travel mishap lists. Load up your system with high quality probiotics before during and after your vacation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 10 million travelers get traveler’s diarrhea each year, if you haven’t before you probably know someone who did. The most common causes are overindulgence in exotic foods and parasitic infection. One excellent way to combat Montezuma’s Revenge is probiotics which are the live active cultures that help regulate your digestive system and keep your immune system strong. If you get sick hopefully you packed a little activated charcoal from your pharmacy which will absorb toxins and help flush them from your body, and coconut water will replace lost electrolytes (you don’t have to pack coconuts, we have those here).

5. If you are not just going to hang out in an English speaking resort but actually get out there and mix and mingle in the local culture consider a Digital Translator. These gadgets are actually quite fun, handy and entertaining; especially of you are out a local bar. You can type in English get an auto translation and they can type do the same in Spanish.

Oh yeah, don’t forget your swim suit, sunglasses and shorts!