Expat In Paradise

8 Things To Leave Behind When You Move To Costa Rica!

When you move abroad it is so hard deciding what to bring and what needs to be let go! I am a big advocate of letting go of as much as possible but depending on the lifestyle you want to live, you’ll have to bring some stuff. Today I am going to talk about what to not bother bringing with you on your new adventure in Costa Rica.

Dress Clothes/Formal Wear

Costa Rica is mostly warm and very casual. I have settled in the north west part of the Country known as Guanacaste. Here we have half a year of hot rainy weather and half a year of hot dry weather. I can promise you that I have never even worn the two pairs of jeans I packed once! If you settle in the mountains or in the central valley you will want jeans but still not too fancy. Unless you are here to work as a lawyer in San Jose you are unlikely to need anything more than shorts, tee-shirts, tank tops and bathing suits!


Do not try to ship all your furniture to Costa Rica! Not only is it expensive and time consuming, it’s going to be busted. If it survives the shipping, makes it through customs, you have the money to pay the import fees, and you get it to your house, it now has to acclimate to the climate of Costa Rica. If your furniture has been sitting in Columbus Ohio its whole life it is going to feel a certain kind of way about the humidity and temperature of Costa Rica. Wood warps and fabrics mildew. There is no shortage of incredible craftsmen in Costa Rica that can make you custom furniture right here for a reasonable price.

Your Car

Same situation as your furniture but even more expensive to get it into the country. Not worth it! Buy a car in the country and save yourself the time and headache. We used a service to locate, inspect, test drive, and coordinate the purchase ahead of time for us. We just showed up at the lawyers office to sign for it and drove off the day we got into Costa Rica.

Your Grandma’s Good China

Sell it, give it to your sister, or donate it to charity. Do not bring it with you. Homes in Costa Rica do not have the storage of your average American home and you are unlikely to have a hutch to display it in. You won’t need it or want it once here. Also, there’s also no resale market for those types of things here. Save the bin space and bring extra sheets and towels instead.

Unitasker Kitchen Gadgets

If it has only one job don’t bring it! Storage in most homes and condos in Costa Rica is at a premium so anything you bring has to justify the space it takes up in your luggage and your cabinet.

Any Home Decor that doesn’t have sentimental value

Only bring decor or art that has special meaning to you. The cost and risk of damage isn’t worth it for some home goods trinkets. Sell all that stuff beforehand, take only what is very special to you and pack it well! If you are going to bring art I recommend using a tv moving box along with plenty of bubble wrap! You will have no issue decorating your new home with incredible art from local Costa Rican artists and craftsmen.


This one might be weird to some of you but I get this question sometimes and I see it alot on social media forums. People ask about bringing food for tons of different reasons. If you have a strict diet I can tell you that there are tons of food options in Costa Rica. Whether it’s gluten free, diary free, keto, kosher, or any other type of diet, we have it here! Some areas are going to have more options than others but overall healthy living and eating are a big part of the Pura Vida lifestyle! Don’t forget that Costa Rica is a Blue Zone so you have a lot of people living very long healthy lives here and a big part of that is the food.

Your Entitlement

Wherever you are coming from, remember to leave your entitlement there. Here in Costa Rica no one cares who you are or how much money you’ve made. The only thing people care about here is if you are a good person and how you treat others. No one is going to fall all over you for what might be considered success or notoriety in the States or other countries. That’s not how people roll in paradise. Come humble and don’t expect anything from the people of Costa Rica. This is their country and we are their guests.