June is the start of the rainy season in Costa Rica so it can be hard to know what footwear to pack. A multitude of footwear options is essential. This is the footwear we found worked best.
We visited Costa Rica in June at the start of the rainy season when it’s typically sunny in the morning followed by strong afternoon showers. It’s hard to avoid getting wet and too hot to bother trying. You just get used to it. Your footwear will likely get wet too so don’t bring anything that can’t cope with a splash unless you plan to confine it to your hotel.
Based on our experience of trail walking, visiting tourist spots and snorkelling/relaxing in Arenal, Monteverde and Playa Hermosa and found this footwear combo to work well.
#1 Walking sandals
Walking sandals are hugely versatile and can be used on the boat, beach, trail or even out to dinner. If you plan on any adventurous activities a pair of sturdy activity sandals such as Tevas or Merrells are a good shout. They’re great for general use, walking trails and the beach and dry quickly.
#2 Trail shoes
A pair of waterproof trail shoes such as those made by Salomon or Merrell are useful for slightly wetter trail walks and can also double as comfy travel shoes for the flight where sandals might be a bit chilly. Ideally you’ll want a pair that can grip and withstand moderate mud. A pair of waterproof socks – I have these Sealskinz ones from Wiggle – can improve the range of use and waterproofness of trail shoes. We mostly wore ours on the trails in Monteverde Cloud Forest and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
Trail shoes can often be used for running too so if you’re a runner you can save bringing a separate pair of running shoes.
My personal favourites are these Columbia shoes as they’re super lightweight, waterproof, have good arch support, good tread and a wide toe-box. They’re also light enough to run in comfortably.
#3 Wellies / gum boots
We were recommended to take these by a friend and prior visitor to Costa Rica. Whilst we didn’t needed them on our trip, even on the trails in Monteverde, I could completely see how you could. During prolonged periods of rain roads and trails could become very muddy and wellies are the go-to footwear of locals and foreigners alike.
If you have the bag space I’d recommend slinging some in. Alternatively, they can be purchased at most large supermarkets in Costa Rica if needed.
#4 Flip-flops (also recommended)
You could get away without these but they are a little more convenient for the beach and lounging around the hotel than sandals and the sand doesn’t get trapped in them quite so easily.
I have these Reef flip-flops. They’re a little sturdier than your standard flip-flops which I find better for descents to hard to reach beaches.
#5 Travel shoes (optional)
A separate pair of travel shoes can be a nice extra. I often take these lightweight ones by RipCurl. Strictly not necessary but useful for breakfasts in the cooler regions such as Monteverde and for wearing on the plane.
So there you have it. No less than five pairs of shoes went in my travel bag, and that’s excluding snorkelling kit!
What footwear did you find useful in Costa Rica?