Style Guide - Costa Rica

Travel Style Guide: Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Where + Wear: Adventure Meets Relaxation in Costa Rica

As a woman traveler, I constantly find myself searching for the same information prior to a trip: what do I wear? The crux is this: what’s the appropriate travel style for the destination that I’m about to explore that will allow me to look decent in photos without being inappropriately dressed for the landscape and situation? There are cultural customs to keep in mind, climate, landscape and topography, general dressiness of a locale and practicality. Check out this guide on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast – and other guides in this series – for packing inspiration.

Join me in sharing your thoughts and tips for packing and travel fashion with a series of destinations around the globe. Download this quickie cheat sheet of travel style inspiration for Costa Rica, including some tips on highlights, where to dine, and what to do. Pin this guide for a quick reference on what to wear during your Central American escape!

Travel Style Guide: Costa Rica's Pacific Coast

Download the Costa Rica Travel Fashion Guide | The Wanderlust Effect for easy reading on iPad.

Vibe + Packing Tips

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast defines casual. It’s a place where expats have flocked to swap out a fast-paced US lifestyle for something that’s anything but. For surfers, the breaks are legendary on the Pacific Coast, namely at Playa Hermosa where surf competitions happen on a weekly basis. Our brush with Playa Hermosa perhaps captured the region’s essence best: visitors and expats sitting in candy-colored plastic Adirondack chairs, tanned from hours of the Central America sun, salty from the sea, sipping cold Imperials alongside their tacos and ceviche. Further south, you’ll reach Manuel Antonio National Park, where the verdant jungle scene meets a beautiful stretch of beach where monkeys abound. For active travelers, there are great opportunities to indulge in zip lining, paragliding, surfing, ATVing, horseback riding and more.

My biggest question was how dressy nights out would be. Anguilla, our home island, is casual by day but can be dressy at night for anyone that opts to go that route. Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast has opportunities for a few great meals, but the dress code appears universally lax. I brought wedges that I wore the first night and then never again, instead opting for flat sandals which felt wholly more appropriate. I would wager that nice shorts and blouses suffice almost anywhere, including at the restaurants in Herradura’s Los Suenos, one of the swankier parts of the region. For ladies that prefer dresses, a casual summer dress or casual maxi is plenty dressed up!

I brought wedges that I wore the first night and then never again, instead opting for flat sandals which felt wholly more appropriate.

For day time, think casual and comfortable if you’re heading out to enjoy in active pursuits. Denim shorts, lightweight breathable tees and comfortable sandals sturdy enough – and comfortable enough! – to walk around in, fits perfectly. A swimsuit and coverup will serve you well, whether you’re indulging in a day of poolside relaxation or opting for a dip in the ocean or a hot spring.

Shop The Look

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Destination Inspiration

What to Wear: Costa Rica's Pacific Coast

Have you been to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast? What are your recommendations when packing for what to wear?

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.