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What’s In My Suitcase: Packing for a Trip to the Jungle!

  • Published on: 20 January, 2017
  • Last update: 24 August, 2017

Hey friends! I am freaking out right now because in only ~24 hours, I’ll be heading to Costa Rica for an adventure in the jungle. When I say we are smack dab in the middle of nature, I mean it. Our Airbnb host had to send us thorough directions with photos and maps of the dirt roads that lead to her house because our phone service/GPS isn’t likely to work. We also have to drive through a creek to get there! (I know Nick is beyond excited to have fun in a 4×4, haha).

I have to admit, when I first booked this Airbnb I didn’t realize just how immersed in the elements we would be. The house we’re renting is made to be eco-friendly and is built with a completely open design (other than the bedroom thank goodness!) It’s in a secluded area that has barely been touched by the hands of man, and the people who live there do so in complete harmony with nature in order to protect the gorgeous environment. They get water from a nearby spring, they burn their paper trash, and they compost all of their food.

When I read the information sheet that our host sent us through e-mail, I understood what I was about to experience: BUGS, bugs, and more bugs!! My *favorite* part of her message is where she reminds us to check for scorpions in our shoes every day, and tells us what to do if we get stung (apparently it’s just like a bee sting, which is easily one of my top 3 fears in my regular non-jungle life. I have never been stung and that is because I am not too proud to run like a maniac in the opposite direction when I hear that buzz). Did I mention there’s also snakes in the forest and sting rays mating in the water?! Oh and this is what happens when you google ‘costa rica bugs’:

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NOOOOOOOOPE.

Needless to say I’m a little nervous, but I know that this will be an experience I’ll never forget. I always find healing when I’m near the water (and surrounded by vibrant green plants), so this will be a great way for me to recharge and reconnect with myself. I brought plenty of books with me (which I’ll add to my list below, too! I love that you guys are bookworms like me).

Where We’re Staying

I don’t want to give away our location until we get back for safety reasons, but as always, we booked through AirBnb. You can use {this link} to get $35 off your first stay anywhere in the world, including Costa Rica. When I get home, I’ll make a whole review of the exact place we stayed with a direct link, but for now here are the other (gorgeous!) places we were eyeing:

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#1: Link to this one {here}

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#2: Link to this one {here}

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#3: Link to this one {here}

If you’re interested in a location other than Costa Rica where you can reconnect with nature, check out my blog post that features the full list of my Top 20 Nature-Centered AirBnbs.

Jungle Essentials

This section will include the items we’re bringing specifically because of the environment – such as a water bottle that filters 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. This will allow us to safely drink from the mountain spring that feeds to the house (and other springs that we find along our adventures). Our host said she usually boils the spring water, but this will help us avoid that when we need a quick cool drink. Here’s the full list:

  • Grayl Water Purifier Bottle (via Amazon) – as I mentioned this, we’ll be using this to purify spring water in the house. Out of all the bottles I compared, this had the best reviews and looked the sturdiest. I appreciate that they have firm claims about the 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, etc. and I like that heavy metals and chemicals are targeted as well since it’s a 2-in-1 purifier + filter.

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  • J5 Pro Tactical Flashlight (via Amazon) – our host told us that we should bring a powerful flashlight, especially for walking back up the house/coming home at night. This thing is tiny but mighty! It’s nice to have such a bright light in a compact form that doesn’t take up too much space.
  • Contour Ear Plugs (via Amazon) – did I mention bugs enough in this post so far? Because BUGS. When we went to Dominican Republic, Nick was up all night freaked out by the mosquitos flying into his ears. Even though we had a net over the bed, they managed to creep in – and they love warm nesting spaces like our ears. Ew. These plugs are made to contour to your canal shape and I’m hoping they’ll block the buzz!
  • Hand Sanitizer (Whole Foods 365 brand) – it’s always good to have hand sanitizer around when you travel to clean up before you eat.
  • Organic Peppermint Essential Oil (from Vitacost) – I’m going to spread this around the perimeter of the house and near my bed to keep the bugs from invading. It’s especially effective on kitchen counters for ants!
  • Bug Mace Organic Bug Spray (via Amazon) – see ear plugs bullet. BUGS! Haha. My dad was kind enough to inform me this morning that mosquitos kill more people than any other animal (thanks dad) so I’m planning on dousing myself (and my room/bed) in this stuff! As you guys know I don’t like to put chemical products on my skin, so this one is made of essential oils.
  • Binoculars (via Amazon) – Nick is PASSIONATE about birds. We did a past life regression once where we were put into a dream-like state, and while I was an Irish man… he woke up and told us he was a bird. He spent the whole session flying through the forest in his mind haha! We brought a pair of these for bird-watching since there are so many incredible animals in the jungle.

Beach Essentials

  • Water shoes (womens click here & mens click here) – as I mentioned earlier, it’s sting ray mating season! And I just don’t like my feet touching scary sharp things in the ocean (I’m looking at you crabs). I feel like these will give me some sense of (possibly false) protection (since I still have ankles that can be stung and all) but I’ll be combining these with the “sting ray shuffle” that sends out vibrations telling them to stay away. There have been times in the past where I wished I had brought along water shoes, especially for walking along rocks and waterfalls, so I’m glad to have these in my bag!
  • Eminence SPF 30 Red Currant Face Cream (via Amazon) – I’m one of the lucky few that doesn’t really burn in the sun; it’s super rare for me and only happens when I’m in the sun ALL day long without breaks (which is not very smart of me!) For that reason, I’m able to get away with limiting the sunscreen I use on my body in lieu of knowing when to go in the shade (and would only use the RAW brand when I do). Most sunscreens contain chemicals which block the rays that allow your body to produce vitamin D — and what do you know, a lack of vitamin D plays a role in skin cancer in the first place! While I let my body soak up the D-producing sunshine, I do like to protect my face for cosmetic reasons – wrinkle prevention. Eminence is a great brand with organic/non-toxic ingredients and this face cream is awesome.

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  • Coconut Oil + Tea Tree Mixture (homemade) – Coconut oil has a tiny bit of SPF, and keeps my skin moisturized when I’m in the sun and salt water. I like to moisturize my body with this mixture before I leave the house – I add drops of tea tree oil for extra bug bite prevention.
  • Original Mineral 7 Day Miracle (via Amazon) – this is a great deep conditioning mask that I get from my organic hair stylist Mauricio. I put this in my hair as soon as I get out of the water so that my locks can get a mini-treatment in the heat of the sun!
  • The coolest beach towels ever:

blankets

Nick and I got these super stylish beach towels on Amazon (the circle one is here & the rectangular gray one here). I don’t have much to say about this other than they’ll make for some phenomenal Instagram photos. Sue me!

Toiletries + Makeup

  • Primal Pit Paste (via Amazon) – I’ve used Soapwalla deodorant for the longest time and I love it; but it’s kind of annoying to scoop and apply with your hands (I have texture issues haha). For the sake of convenience I switched to Primal Pit Paste. It’s a very similar formula, super effective, but it comes in a roll-on form. This is one of the only natural deodorants I’ve tried that I trust to keep me dry in 90 degree weather!
  • Ilia Lip Gloss (via Citrine) – my favorite lip gloss on planet earth. I know it looks SUPER pink in the bottle, but it applies with the lightest, most beautiful rosy pigment. When you’re tan and in the ocean all day, all you really need is lip gloss & mascara at night. This formula is so shiny, moisturizing, and will go perfectly with my dewy jungle vibe.

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  • Ilia Lip Conditioner (via Follain) – this is an orangey coral lipstick with much more pigment than the gloss, but it’s still just as moisturizing. I love it because it feels like a chapstick on your lips, but can still add a powerful pop of color that complements a tan & a bright sundress.
  • Perfekt Mascara (via Citrine) – this is my favorite non-toxic mascara at the moment because it gives you a LOT of volume/thickness. Most organic mascaras that I’ve tried make a minimal difference, so this is my holy grail!

Books

  • Women’s Guide to Manifestation Workbook – I LOVE this book (well – it’s more like a journal!) and I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to start filling it in. I bought it in an esoteric book shop in London and it helps you to dig deep into experiences that challenged you, emotions you might not want to face, and parts of you that are still unhealed. In the end, exploring all of this helps you to move forward in your life and clearly define what you DO & don’t want.
  • Anatomy of the Spirit – a book about energy medicine and how our emotional state/beliefs affect our physical health. I loved Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life,” and this is like an advanced version!
  • Many Lives Many Masters – I read this book in Dominican Republic and it helped me appreciate my life so deeply. I was able to better connect to the people & nature around me after reading it. It’s a really short book so I’m going to re-read it on one of our beach days. There are so many messages and lessons inside that I know I’ll get even more out of it this time.
  • The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

I hope this list helps you if you’re going on an adventure any time soon, or planning one in the future! Use my tips for traveling on a budget in this post (Student Universe has THE BEST deals for international flights if you’re a student or under 26) and look for Airbnbs (with good reviews!) that you can share with friends to split the cost. Traveling has been so important to my mental health, spirituality, and the sharpening of my mind; there’s nothing that gets your brain going like the sights and sounds of a brand new environment. It opens you up in so many ways and always triggers a flood of new ideas and emotions.

Happy traveling everyone! I’m excited to post pictures when I get there. xx

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