Jaco Costa Rica is the most popular surf beach town in Costa Rica. It is the easiest beach town to get to from the San Jose airport. The trip to Jaco used to take between an hour and fifteen minutes and two hours, but the new highway just opened up on January 28th, 2010. Now the trip from Jaco to the airport takes only forty five minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes.
There are lots of things to do in Jaco Costa Rica. This page covers general information about Jaco Costa Rica.
The majority of Costa Ricans live in the central valley where the airport is, so Jaco is the closest beach town for both travelers and locals. Consequently, Jaco has been a major vacation destination for Costa Ricans for years.
Jaco is located in the center of the Pacific coast. It is an hour to Manuel Antonio Park to the south and half an hour to Carara National Park to the north, and there are ten surf beaches within an hour drive. It is only ten minutes to Hermosa where the ISA World Games of surf were held in 2009. In addition to the world class surfing down the road, there is pretty good surfing for everyone from expert to beginners right here on Jaco Beach. For these reasons, hotels in Jaco provide a very popular base for international and domestic tourists.
Jaco Costa Rica Nature
You couldn’t be in a better location to enjoy nature. Capuchin monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, ahinga, and another 200 or so species of birds, crocodiles, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and many more species make their home in the area. While they are rare on the hotel grounds, we have seen capuchin monkeys and arboreal anteaters in the trees that we carefully preserved while constructing the hotel, providing habitat for kinkajou that still live here, and many more can be found on the jungle mountain behind the hotel. Because of our commitment to preserving habitat, you can see a lot more wildlife here than at other area hotels.
At night Jaco is a party town, and for many visitors that is the prime attraction, but there are also many tourists who come here are early risers on an a hardcore surfari or eco-adventure mission. Our hotel in Jaco provides a quiet retreat from the festive atmosphere downtown, except on the three or four nights a year when we host concerts by international superstars. We will be sure to let you know when you ask for your reservation whether you will be listening to the roots reggae of Steel Pulse or the quiet chirping of exotic tropical birds.
Jaco Costa Rica Facts
Jaco’s permanent population is only around 10,000, but because of all the national and international tourists, there are a wide variety of services and amenities available, from rustic traditional places to very modern ones. There are also lots of exciting activities to try, as detailed in our vacation package section. Our beautiful beach town offers a wide range of accommodations and loding: Jaco hotels.
Jaco Costa Rica restaurants and grocery stores
While there are several U.S. style grocery stores now, a discount store, and five fine dining restaurants, there are also typical Costa Rica grocery stores and traditional “soda rustico” restaurants with four dollar meals abound.
For sodas, try Garabito on the pops road or Soda La Marea Alta on Pastor Diaz near the muni. For Jaco Costa Rica restaraunts for fine dining, our CIA chef at Eclipse at DoceLunas is our favorite. We also recommend Lemon Zest by Cordon Bleu chef richard Lemon. Tsunami sushi is a popular lively spot serving japanese fusion. Pili Pili serves a lively blend of eastern influences and Papparazzi has excellent Italian food. Restaurante el Estero is a good option for Costa Rican style fine dining; few tourists find this spot on the north end of town.
Jaco Costa Rica Transportation
There are several options for car, scooter, and ATV rental, but you can also still find plenty of places to rent a horse or a bicycle. Cabs around town are $2 or so. Busses run frequently to Hermosa, Manuel Antonio, and San Jose and cabs and transfer services are also available for these routes at around $7 to Hermosa, $100 day trip to Manuel Antonio, $100 airport transfer – approximately.
Jaco nightlife is equally varied, ranging from typical Costa Rica bars to fancy Miami style clubs. Los Amigos is a popular gringo sports bar, there is a pooles (pool hall – outdoor ) by Pachi’s Pan, Los Amigos sports bar and Le Loft across the way for later clubby partying, Ganesha on the beach with a south beach kind of vibe, Bohio beach bar, Monkeys, Bruja hard rock bar and many more. For details see our blog.
Jaco Costa Rica Marina
There is a marina 15 minutes away in Herradura for sportfishing, with charters ranging from $200 for a small panga to over $1,000 for an 8 passenger 40 ft cabin cruiser.
Jaco Costa Rica Amenities
Art galleries and souvenir shops abound, along with churches of various denominations, two bi-lingual health clinics, three casinos with weekly hold ’em tournaments, the hotels own yoga studio and several other yoga options, a second division soccer team and two gentleman’s clubs. Each year in the first week of December, Jaco celebrates with their annual Tope, a horse parade. There is literally something for everyone
Jaco Costa Rica: Surf City
Jaco has long been recognized as the “surf city” of Costa Rica. Our hotel in Jaco is only one mile from the south end of the beach and ten minutes from the world famous Hermosa Beach where the 2009 ISA World Games of Surf were held, and there are ten more beaches and river mouth breaks within an hour drive. To the south, Hermosa, Esterills Oeste, Centro, Este, and Bejuco, and to the north La Isla, Escondido, Coralillos, Puerto Caldera, and Boca Barranca await you. This area of the coast receives more consistent surf than most places on the planet, and with ten beaches to choose from, there is almost always something firing. There are at least eight surf shops in town and with all the competition repair and rental prices are pretty low.
Jaco Beach itself is about three miles long. The valley is ringed by beautiful jungle covered mountains that rise 1,000 feet from the sea. Our hotel is at the base of the tallest mountain, one mile from the south end of the beach. [map-please use the same one as before] On the south end, much of the beach front development is residential and the sand and the surf breaks here are wide open and uncrowded. In the center and middle you will find more hostels and low budget hotels and the mega hotels in Jaco, so there are crowds there if you are looking for them, but seclusion is an option.
Playa Jaco Costa Rica
Always something for everyone! Join us in paradise.