What to Pack
It seems like this is one supply you can never have enough of. The sun can be very intense so you’ll want SPF50 or above (and lots of it!). In addition to regular sunscreen for the project site, you’ll want to bring waterproof sunscreen to wear while in the ocean.
2. WATER BOTTLE
At the project site, there will be spots for you to refill clean drinking water so to discourage the use of plastic bottles we ask that all volunteers bring their own water bottle.
Even if you bring enough sunscreen, there is still a good chance you’ll get a burn. Having some aloe handy can help soothe a light burn.
Useful for any cut, scrape, surf rash, etc. Neosporin will help you heal quickly and reduce the odds of infection.
5. INSECT REPELLENT
Any DEET-based lotion or spray will work. If you’re prone to mosquito bites, this is a MUST HAVE! Bring an extra bottle, as you can never have enough.
Some comfortable (old) sneakers to work in and some sandals to walk around the streets. Your work shoes WILL get dirty. Consider bringing an extra pair of clean shoes for the flight back home.
Always pack 1 or 2 towels for the beach. The hotel will provide you with one bath towel, but you should not bring that to the beach.
A small day bag for small excursions can help hold onto loose odds and ends.
9. UPSET STOMACH MEDICINE
Just in case!
10. WORK CLOTHES (OLD)
You will likely be working on projects that involve painting, laying cement, etc. Your clothes will get dirty and/or ruined so do not wear anything that you don’t mind getting ruined. Same goes for your works shoes!! We try to arrange a clothing collection at the end of each trip. You can leave any unwanted items, and the local community will take care of cleaning and distributing them to families in need.
11. HAT, SURF HAT, RASH GUARD
A hat will keep the sun off your face while working onsite on the project. A surf hat will protect you from the harsh sun and keep you from getting burnt on the first day out. The waters are warm (no wet suits are needed), but a rash guard would be nice to have if you’re going to be surfing.
12. DONATION ITEMS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITY
If you have room in your bag: new/used clothing, toiletries, school supplies, basic level books written in Spanish. Art supplies and basic sporting goods are always a big hit with teachers and kids.
13. FLASHLIGHT AND/OR HEADLAMP
Recommended for volunteers heading to Nicaragua.
14. PAPER COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT
In case of emergency.
Good for protecting your eyes while you’re working.
Bring about $200 cash (small bills are recommended) for airport entry/exit taxes and for any extras or to tip drivers/food servers/hotel staff at the end of the week.
$10 airport entry tax upon arrival to San Salvador and Managua (must pay with cash)
$28 exit tax before exiting San Jose, Costa Rica (can pay using cash, debit/credit card)