When you think of Costa Rica, you think of the rainforest, warm weather, and an unforgettable experience. With a population of 4.906 (as of 2017), this country has a lot of beauty. According to Brittanica, pineapple, coffee, and bananas are three major things that Costa Rica exports. You'll find all kinds of trees and plants during your time here.

Any vacation requires at least a little bit of advance planning and it's going to be helpful to learn more about the most famous landmarks, most exciting and delicious restaurants, and best hotels before you book anything.

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Here is a travel guide to Costa Rica: 11 things to know while planning your trip.

Visit A Nature Reserve And Walk High Above The Rainforest

There are so many things to do in Costa Rica and they all involve getting close to nature, which is awesome.

According to The Culture Trip, you can go to La Selva Biological Station and Reserve where there are more than 350 birds. You can visit La Fortuna Waterfall, where you can hike, swim, and even go horseback riding in order to reach the area where you'll be hiking.

And you can also walk along the Rainmaker Aerial Walkway where you'll see monkeys and other animals. It's super high with the rainforest below (25 stories, to be exact) and will be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Travel To Costa Rica From December Until April

Two Weeks In Costa Rica recommends December, January, February, March, and April as the best times of the year to visit. This is because it's "the dry season" rather than "the rainy season" and you'll be able to look at every attraction with tons of fog.

And since hiking is such a good way to see all that this place has to offer, it's definitely preferable for it not to be pouring rain for a lot of your trip.

The website does mention that there can be quite a bit of heat during those months, though, so that's something to keep in mind.

Stay At Hotel Vela Bar Or Hilton Garden Inn San Jose La Sabana

Hotel Vela Bar is located in Manuel Antonio and it's convenient as it's five minutes away from the beach. There is A/C in every room, which is good news if you'll be there during the dry season when the weather is very warm, and people praise the breakfast and service on Trip Advisor. The vibes of this hotel seem very peaceful as you'll look out the window and see lots of lush and beautiful plants.

If you'd prefer to stay in San Jose, a good option is Hilton Garden Inn San Jose La Sabana. The 14th floor of the hotel has a pool, and it's close to the airport, too. You can also walk to many restaurants.

Base Yourself Out Of Manuel Antonio Or San Jose

Travelling King recommends that you base yourself out of Manuel Antonio during your trip to Costa Rica. According to the website, "Much of the area is covered by Manuel Antonio National Park, which includes rainforests, beaches and off-shore coral reefs." That sounds incredible, right?!

You can also stay in San Jose, which is the capital city of Costa Rica and has a lot of things to do. Trip Advisor lists many epic activities from visiting the Arenal Volcano and Tabacón Hot Springs to the Museo Nacional De Costa Rica which has butterfly gardens.

Grab Coffee At Cafe Miel Costa Rica And Dine At Rico Tico Jungle Grill

Since Costa Rica is known for its coffee, no traveler can miss out on this experience. Head to Cafe Miel Costa Rica in San Jose and you can also enjoy pastries and empanadas.

You'll also want to check out Rico Tico Jungle Grill, where you will eat outside and feel like you're in absolute paradise. It's part of a hotel but you can still dine here if you're not staying on-site. You can enjoy many seafood dishes, like Breaded Trout and Blackberry Glazed Fish, and if you visit for lunch you can order a burger or Pineapple Gazpacho.

You'll Want To Rent A Car Or Take Taxis

According to Costa Rica Guide, renting a car is the best thing that you can do during your trip to Costa Rica. The bus can be pricey or even take a lot of time.

The website also says that you can take taxis (or Uber) if that's something that appeals to you more. Maybe you want to mostly stay at your hotel or resort and only go off on a few brief excursions, so taking taxis would make sense rather than having your own car for the duration of your trip.

Check Out The Cloud Forests And Antonio National Park

Planetware suggests that you go to The Cloud Forests (which, from the name alone, sound absolutely amazing). You'll see wildlife and as the website explains, "The clouds that cover these forests provide the moisture necessary to sustain the area's unique habitats that are only found here."

You can also go to Antonio National Park, where you'll see a lot of animals and also get some gorgeous beach views. You can sign up for tours to get the most out of it.

You Can Use USD Here Along With Credit Cards (But Might Want To Get Some Local Cash, Too)

Lonely Planet says that the currency used in Costa Rica is the colón. The website explains that you can use credit cards during your trip along with US cash in the majority of places.

They do warn, "When paying in US dollars at a local restaurant, bar or shop the exchange rate can be unfavorable," so it seems smart to exchange some money so you can pay with the local currency, and you can do that at banks.

The Most Affordable Time To Go To Costa Rica Is September

Cheap Flights notes that booking a December flight is going to cost you the most money, but September is the most affordable time to fly to Costa Rica.

If you want to save even more, book a flight that leaves on a Tuesday night. And make sure that you make your travel arrangements two months prior to when you want to go so you can save the most, too.

The Best Beaches Include Tamarindo And Playa Manzanillo

Jetsetter recommends the beach Playa Manzanillo as the sand is white, which is beautiful, and you'll also see the rainforest. You can also go to Tamarindo, which is located on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. People go surfing here and there are also many places to eat.

If you stay in Manuel Antonio there is also a wonderful beach there.

Don't Worry About The Water And Make The Most Of Your Trip

According to My Tan Feet, there are some things you should know before going to Costa Rica. One important thing is that you don't have to be concerned about drinking the water as it's fine. Another piece of advice from locals is to make the most of your trip by not just chilling out at your hotel/resort the entire time.

The website also mentions that the food in Costa Rica is typically fish, other protein, plantains, tortillas, salad, and rice and beans, so be sure to experience that.