Over half the country of Belize is covered in pristine rainforest or sub-tropical jungle brimming with lush plant and animal life. Add in a heaping of Mayan ruins, extensive cave networks, and one of the most far-reaching barrier reef systems in the world, and it’s no wonder why the country is often referred to as ‘Mother Nature’s best kept secret’.
If you’re heading to the country for a rainforest encounter of your own, you’re going to need to be prepared. It might sound daunting, but these packing tips will ensure you’re a savvy rainforest pro in no time.
Rainforest Packing Tips:
Avoid Dark Colors
Mosquitoes are said to be more attracted to dark colors. Stick to wearing tans and beiges; the colors will keep you cool and protected without showing off dirt and grime.
Wear Lightweight, Breathable Clothing
Again, the mosquitoes—wear long sleeves and pants to keep them away. Lightweight, breathable cottons will keep you cool and comfortable in the process.
Quick-drying Fabric Is Your Friend
It’s kind of a given that it rains a lot in the rainforest. And when it’s not raining, it’s humid. You don’t want your clothes taking three days to dry.
Ask Your Jungle Lodge/Tour Operator What Is Included
If you are staying at a lodge in the rainforest or going through a tour operator, ask for the details of what is included. On my recent rainforest jaunt, the hiking boots, socks, binoculars, and ponchos were included, but this wasn’t advertised on the website. Asking about these details in advance saved me money on new purchases and valuable suitcase space.
I truly believe that living out of a backpack doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. A few chic accent pieces and high-quality mascara can make all the difference in how you feel after a twelve-hour bus ride. But when it comes to the rainforest, leave it all behind. You don’t want the make-up sweating off your face to distract you from the surrounding natural beauty. Also, keep in mind that you can wear the same outfits more than once. No one will judge you in the jungle.
Rainforest Packing List:
As a general rule, bring two of each item of clothing so you always have something clean/dry to wear.
- Breathable Tank Tops – Wear them underneath all your layers.
- Long sleeve shirts – They don’t have to be name brand, but remember the tips above.
- Lightweight, waterproof jacket – The rainforest can get surprisingly chilly in the evening.
- Long Pants – The “Prana” line has a nice range of mindfully made outdoor clothing options.
- Tall Socks – These make wearing hiking boots far more comfortable. And though perhaps not so stylish, tucking your pants inside your socks will prevent stray insects from nipping at your ankles.
- Hiking Sandals or Boots – Consider brands like Teva or Chacos. If bringing your own boots, make sure to research if they are suitable for the rainforest.
- Comfortable Shoes – You’ll want something to change into in the evenings. Consider closed-toed shoes to keep the mosquitoes off your toes.
- Comfortable clothing – To wear in the evening at your lodge or campsite.
- A Clean Outfit – Save it for the plane ride home so you don’t get stares of contempt from those sitting around you.
- Swimsuit – There are plenty of waterfalls in the Belizean rainforest just waiting to be explored.
- Wide-brimmed hat – To protect your lovely face from the sun.
- Poncho – Again, it’s not super stylish, but it is certainly the most practical.
- Sunglasses – Preferably a cheap pair that still protects against UV rays.
- High SPF sunscreen – This is no time for tanning lotion.
- Insect Repellent – While typically I try to avoid DEET, it’s really necessary to have strong repellent that works.
- Water Sanitation System – I always travel with a SteriPEN in case of emergencies.
- First-Aid Kit – The Belizean rainforest isn’t the most convenient place to find a doctor or medication. Consider bringing an antibiotic along just in case.
- Headlamp – You know, to see in the dark.
- Daypack – For shorter hikes
- Sarong – Because they can be used for virtually anything.
- All-natural shower products – Depending on where you are staying, your shower bi-products might be washed straight back into the rainforest. Protect it by avoiding shampoos and soaps with lots of chemicals.
Have you been to the rainforest before? What’s on your rainforest packing list?