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The contents of a bag emptied on the floor

Getting Ready for my Costa Rica Adventure!

By Lucy Bartlett

Last updated: 31st July 2015

First off, let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Lucy and I was fortunate enough to win a spot on the Costa Rica Adventure with Gap 360 this August. I figured that you only get one summer when you’re 21, so I spent most of my final year at uni daydreaming as to what I could do (and what my bank balance said I could do). So, when I came across the chance to take part in this giveaway, I jumped at the opportunity and was ecstatic when I heard I had been offered it. If you don’t enter, you won’t win, so it’s always worth a shot.

Jungle Formula insect repellant

When it had finally settled in that I had won, time was already ticking away; a very long list of things to sort out needed attending to. First thing first, I had to sort out how I’d actually be getting to Costa Rica. Kali at Gap 360 sorted my flights before I had even known it. I’d be flying from Heathrow and getting a connecting flight from Houston, US. I’ve never flown solo before nor have I had to get a connecting flight so I am a tiny bit apprehensive but I’m sure all will be fine as there is plenty of time between flights. My trip supervisor Katie set my online account up and was very helpful in asking any questions I had. I then had to sort the all important travel insurance as soon as possible, which literally took minutes!

I then headed to my GP to get the vaccinations I’d need, such as my Typhoid jab and my Hep A and B jab. As Costa Rica is tropical, I bought myself insect repellent spray and a mosquito band to give myself a better chance of avoiding bites and diseases. Keeping sure I was as prepared as I could be, I also purchased a tiny travel first aid kit. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

American bank notes


Once all the major things were ticked off the to-do list, I had to consider how much money I would need to take with me. Costa Rica do have their own currency, but after doing a bit of research, I found out American dollars are widely accepted in the country. Considering I’d be stopping off first in Houston, it seemed logical to get the dollars. I figured on my first day there I’d exchange some dollars for Costa Rican Colones for when I’m in the more rural areas of Costa Rica just to be on the safe side.

It probably goes without saying, but Costa Rica is a lot hotter than the UK, so I needed to sort what clothes I’d be taking with me that would be suitable for the conditions. I decided I’d pack a couple of shorts, vests and tops but enough long tops to wear at night when it’s cooler. As I’m travelling to a tropical destination, I couldn’t miss out on packing sunglasses, flip flops and of course a bikini but also packed an easy to fold pac mac for when it rains. I also bought myself a giant micro fibre towel that was lightweight, easy to pack and would dry quickly.

The itinerary for the trip seemed so adventurous and thrilling, which was one of the main reasons I entered the giveaway in the first place. Volunteering at a Sea Turtle conservation in Playa Junquillal is one of the first things we get up to and I’m so unbelievably excited about this and I can’t wait to learn more about such incredible reptiles. I’ve never seen a real volcano or trekked through a rain forest, so I’m excited to see what I come across when I’m out there. I didn’t realise Costa Rica was so rich in wildlife; it is basically a haven for so many species such as the red-eyed tree frog, jaguars and sloths! If you are having a bad day, definitely check out photos of ‘happy sloths’. It will certainly cheer you up.

A backpack near a door

The last few bits I had to do included printing of my flight tickets and packing my bag. When I get ready to pack, I usually make a massive pile of everything I’d be taking, as the image illustrates, before packing it as strategically in my backpack just so I know that everything is together. Thankfully, I soon packed this up in my backpack that’s been gathering dust in my wardrobe since I bought it last year, so it was great to see it finally in use!


So, now I’m all packed and ready for the Costa Rica adventure. Next up is arriving at Heathrow ready to board the first plane.

Bring it on!

Here’s what Lucy is going to be getting up to in Costa Rica

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