Hello my name is Brooke and I’m an over-packer.


I try my hardest to pack light, I really do!  I make a list that I tell myself I’m going to stick to.  And then I pack that list…plus about the same amount more in “options”!  Ugh.  The struggle is real, people!
I have paid countless overweight bag charges, ended up on the floor in the Barcelona airport with all of our bags open trying to move around the weight, moved to France with 6 (YES SIX) bags and a dog, and I still insist on bringing too much!
NO MORE!!  I am going to change my ways! (She says with a cringe and heart palpitations…)
The thing is, when I get back from a trip, I’ve probably worn only 25% of what I brought.  So in theory, I only need 25% of what I pack!
So let’s get started together packing for a tropical vacation!
I’m going to start with the perfect packing list for a Costa Rica beach trip, much like the itinerary you can find here.

*Some links in this post are affiliate links that help pay the bills, but all opinions are, as always, my very own.  I won’t steer you wrong just to make a buck, I promise!


Packing for a Tropical Vacation: Choosing SMART Clothes


I’ve come to believe that I’m just not packing smart clothes!
I JUST discovered a really cute, brilliant, comfortable line of warm weather vacation clothes, Vacay, (thanks to the inspiring TravelFashionGirl) and I’m going to implement their 5-piece collection idea, plus some of my own MUST HAVE ESSENTIALS when I travel.  I’m hopeful this will fit in a carry-on, but I would settle for a small rolling suitcase!
So here goes!!


Costa Rica Wardrobe Tips


  • If you’re at the beach, it’s going to be humid, which makes it feel hotter!  Don’t bring lots of heavy cotton or denim, it feels super-sticky, heavy, and sweaty!  Go with lighter, flowy fabrics for everything!
  • San Jose and Arenal can actually get cold!  If you’re going to be in these places at all, you will want to pack a sweater and long pants.  I typically travel in long pants and a sweater, so I just use them, but if you’re there for multiple days, pack an extra.
  • Bring a packable rain jacket!  When it rains in the rainforest, it POURS!  You never know when you’ll need one, so it’s a must-have!


columbia womens switchback ii jacket

This lightweight rain jacket packs into its own pocket!


Vacay 5-Piece Costa Rica Collection


Let’s start with a specially selected Vacay 5-piece collection for Costa Rica!
If you don’t yet know about Vacay, you need to!  Their concept of travel clothing is about to make your life SO much easier!  With their easy, high-quality, comfy travel fabrics and their stylishly curated 5-piece collections, you absolutely can’t go wrong!  They are making this packing-for-travel thing foolproof!  This collection was put together with their individual pieces, which you can do too, if you’d like to customize!
I wanted a nice color scheme for this packing venture, since the idea is for everything to mix and match.  Typically, I do this by using a lot of blacks, greys and whites, but for a tropical location, I wanted a little more pop!  I chose purple to be the accent color – it’s easy to wear and looks great photographed, and I let in some peaches and pinks from my Tropical Essentials List for added flair.


The Belize Maxi Dress


Vacay Belize Maxi Dress


Genius to bring a cute ikat print in a 2-piece maxi!  This can go from day-night worn together, or can be separated and worn mixed with the other pieces.  And the halter top has a shelf bra for support!


Tahiti 2-Piece Jumpsuit


Vacay Tahiti Jumpsuit


Worn together, you have a fab jumpsuit – worn as separates, you have endless options!  (Have I mentioned loving options??). You’ll probably save these lightweight pants for dinners in the evening when it’s cooler, early mornings on your balcony, or for when you’re in a more mountainous locale.  The top will pair perfectly with any of your other solid bottoms!


St. Barts 2-Piece Lace Maxi Dress


Vacay Lace Maxi Dress


This piece is a gold mine!  It’s a maxi dress, a strapless dress, a cute gauzy boho top AND a skirt!  And since it’s white, each piece goes with EVERYTHING ELSE!!!


Tahiti Halter Top


Vacay Tahiti Halter Top


Well, every suitcase needs the perfect black tank.  This one is my pick for a tropical location with it’s halter vibe and built-in shelf bra! Dress it up with your little black skirt or printed maxi skirt, or dress down with a pair of denim shorts!


Newport Textured Dress




Going out for brunch?  Wear it as a dress. At the pool?  It’s a cover-up!  Shopping? Over a cami and tuck into shorts, and you are set!


*All of these items are made from super-comfy fabric that you can hand wash when needed in your hotel room!


Pair this capsule wardrobe with my Tropical Essentials list and you will have an almost endless supply of outfits with 12 mix-and-match pieces!  Add my Go-To Plane Outfit and it makes it an even 15!


Feel free to tell me how much you love your Vacay collection in the comments!


Packing List For The Tropics
Packing List For Costa Rica
Beach Vacation Packing List
Costa Rica Packing List