What to Pack


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The following packing list was adapted from the blog of a very helpful former volunteer (followthesloths.wordpress.com/) which has proven to work very
well for our delegations. Please be sure to include any personal items you know you will need.

Remember: the weight limit for checked bags is 50 lbs - you will be charged  if you exceed this limit.

Please review SOUTHWEST information for both checked and carry on baggage:


"So, youíve been accepted as a volunteer at Aviarios Del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary?

First, congratulations!   Youíre going to have the time of your life.

Second, I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOU RIGHT NOW.  Take me with you!  Taaaaaakeee meeeee wiiiiiittthhhh yoooooou!

Alright.  So over the two years I looked at the sanctuaryís website, it was evolving faster than I could keep up with.  Information about volunteering would come and go, and now I think it may be entirely removed.  This is in no way official, but from one volunteer to another, hereís what is essential on the pack list (from my experience).

I am someone who overpacks EVERYWHERE I go.  For Costa Rica, I miraculously packed perfectly.  I took a small/medium sized bag, a carry on (full of donation stuff) and a backpack.  I also packed a week before, something I never do, but it took SO MUCH STRESS out of the process! 


  • Light to Medium sweatshirt.  (I took a light sweatshirt and couldíve used one a little heavier. Some nights it got pretty cool. I remember one bus ride back from Puerto Viejo where I was actually freezing.)
  • Lightweight long sleeved shirts.  I took three cotton button downs and they were AWESOME.  I wore them over camisoles/tank tops and loved them for the mosquito protection.  As a bonus, one I bought from Sports Challet was a UV protection one.  It also cost me $70.
  • Camisoles/tank tops.  Couldnít have enough of them.  Iíd pack at least five (figuring a 2 week stay and laundry is done once a week for you).
  • T-Shirts.  2 or 3.  More if you prefer them over tank tops.
  • Convertible pants.  Shorts and pants in one nifty package!  Awesome!  I wore them on chilly mornings and on Brady walks for added mosquito protection.  I bought these in gray since they were low-rise and young, as most I found were too grannyish.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QS8XJW/ref=oh_details_o02_s02_i00
  • Jeans.  I took one pair. 
  • Shorts. 3-4 pair.
  • 2 Bras. 
  • Underwear. Iíll let you determine how many you need.  I changed twice a day.  So keep that in mind.
  • Swimsuit.  Try at least once to relax on the beach for a day.  You can thank me later.
  • Socks.  5-7 pair.  Your feet will sweat and stink.  I am someone who doesnít sweat or stink but I sure as hell did there.
  • Hat.
  • Going out clothes. I didnít bring anything, but all the other girls had a cute top or dress for going out to Cahuita.


  • Solid pair of athletic shoes with good tread, for any jungle trail walking, and working in the enclosures.                                                                                                                                
  • Sandals.

Thatís all I needed in the way of shoes.  I also took a heavy duty pair of muck boots and an athletic pair of mary janes.  I didnít use them.  Waste. Of. Space.


  • Backpack.  I took a medium sized Camelback (water pouch removed) and it was AWESOME.  Loads of pockets and places to hide things, organize things, etc.  It was PERFECT.  It also doubled as a nice daypack for my day off.
  • Beach towel. 
  • Mini head lamp or flashlight. Youíll want one of those for getting around at night or if you want to stay up and read/journal while your roommate is sleeping.
  • Smartphone and charger.  Stay as connected (or not!) as you want to to home.  Itís also a back up camera and one thatís convenient to keep on you at all times since sloths are ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING CUTE.  I filled mine up with over 600 photos.
  • Headphones.
  • Binoculars.  I bought a small pair.  Perfect for scoping the monkeys (los monos congos) making a commotion all day and all night outside our cabana!
  • A book.
  • Journal.
  • Camera. I had three between my iPhone, Canon 550D, and Canon point and shoot.  I am extremely grateful I did.
  • MEMORY CARDS.  BIG ONES.  However many you think you need, quadruple it.  I took about 100 gigs worth of cards and filled up every one.  That being said, I shot a lot of 1080p HD video on the Canon 550D which eats a lot of space.
  • PENS.  Several.  Trust.
  • Wash cloth.  The commodity I missed the most since I didnít pack one and they donít give you one.
  • Snacks.  A few granola bars or fruit/nut packs can be lifesavers when you donít like whatís for dinner. There ainít no Dominoes or Subway down there.
  • Apron.  Good for working with the babies.  I forgot to wear mine until the last day.  I have many sloth-poo stained shirts to prove it.  And Claire the Poo Lady will get a kick out of it (tell her Lyndsey told you to bring one!).
  • Purse.  I didnít take one and I wished I did.  Something just big enough to carry my passport (or preferably, a copy WITH YOUR CR ENTRANCE STAMP ON IT), money and my iphone.  I took a money belt and never wore it once.  Way too cumbersome and it SCREAMS tourist.  Just get something that will stay on you and close to your body and at the front of your body.  I used my point and shoot camera case since I was in a pinch.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes.  Iím a germaphobe.  Everything to me is yucky and will give me terrible diseases.  Please note they confiscate this from you at the SJO airport upon your departure unless it is in a checked bag.  They donít care about the 2 oz. rule.
  • Earplugs.  God forbid you get a roommate that snores.  That, and the rainforest is alive with all sorts of sounds at night.  The burst of rain woke me up on numerous occasions and I am a HEAVY sleeper!  But it sounded like the world was flooding!
  • Re-usable water bottle.  A ďBobbleĒ might be a good idea, though I didnít take mine.
  • Pocketknife.  Never used mine but you never know.
  •  Have a pen on the plane for customs paperwork.  


  • Keep in mind that you should bring UNSCENTED toiletries (lotions, deodorants...etc). The sloths don't like fragrances!
  • Also, for their safety,  DO NOT wear sunscreen or bug repellant when you are working with the sloths (you won't need them then anyway).
  • For walks in the jungle and being outside at night: BUGSPRAY BUGSPRAY BUGSPRAY BUGSPRAY. I have it down to a fine science.  Go here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GAOIME/ref=oh_details_o05_s01_i01   and here:   http://www.amazon.com/Repel-Insect-Repellent-Spray-402000/dp/B000LGN3Z2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1338363375&sr=8-6
     .  Please note they confiscate this from you at the SJO airport upon your departure unless it is in a checked bag. ďToxins!Ē
  • Anti-sting medicine.  You will need it.  [I still have a scar from whatever bit me there]
  • Anti-itch medicine. YOU ABSOLUTELY WILL NEED IT!
  • Band-aids.  YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY NEED THEM. I went thru an entire box and someone elseís box.  Below was from day 1 at camp when I took part of my knuckle off with a vegetable peeler preparing sloth food.
  • Neosporin. YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY NEED IT.  [see: all of the above photos]
  • Soap.  Bar and liquid.
  • Aloe.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Shampoo.
  • Conditioner.
  • Hairbrush.
  • Hair ties.
  • Small pair of scissors (check your bag so they donít get confiscated at the airport!)
  • Tweezers. (see above)
  • Toothbrush.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Mouthwash.
  • B-vitamins, vitamins in general, or Emergen-C packets.  B-vitamins supposedly help ward off mosquitoes.  I took loads before I went on the trip and while I was there and I suffered from not nearly as many bites as others.
  • Make-up if you want (I took the bare essentials: foundation, cover up, eyeliner)
  • Chapstick.  Itís humid enough you probably wonít need it, but I like it no matter where I am.
  • Blow dryer if you canít live without one.  I lived without one just fine.
  • Benadryl.  I donít have allergies.  I had them there.
  • Tissue.
  • Pain medication like advil or aspirin.
  • Hand and/or face wipes.


In Costa Rica the electric system is 120 Volts and frequency 60 Hertz. If your device does not accept electricity at

this voltage you will need an adapter. Outlets in Costa Rica generally accept 1 type of plug: Flat blade plug.


Well.  There you have it.  I hope this list helps you!

And hey, most importantly, have an amazing time.  Itís kinda hard not to."