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Jaco Hotel presents a list of competing hotels
If you are looking for a hotel in Jaco, and you can afford the rates at DoceLunas, which are very low for a four star hotel, starting at $125 low season, we highly recommend you stay with us. If $125 is out of your budget range, consider doing what this blogger does and staying in the cheapest place you can find some nights and treating yourself to a fancy place other nights.
But if DoceLunas is just out the question for you, there are other lodging and accommodation options in Jaco. For a list of place to stay in Jaco, check out our Jaco hotels page.
DoceLunas will be welcoming mid-Atlantic funkateers Midnite Spaghetti to throw down their live grooves for you for hours at our annual Halloween Costume Party Dance Concert. More details will follow.
Meanwhile, check out our new Jaco hotel blog location.
We have a nice new waterproof video camera that is available for guest use by special advance request. For information, send us an email. You can use it to make a video of your canopy tour, horseback riding trip, mountain bike ride or surf adventure. Visting Costa Rica is not an experience you will forget, but its fun to have a point of view record of your adventure to share with your friends back home.
Google' servers appear to be down. We cannot reach them from Costa Rica. On March 20th, 2010, google was offline. Sporadic access was possible, but usually any browser we tried returned error messages when attempting to access google. We have not seen any news indicating that the problem occurs outside Costa Rica, but attempts to access google using remote computers in Germany also failed.
We wonder if Chinese hackers have attached Google with a denial of service attach or other method in retaliation for google's planned withdrawal from China.
One of the guests at our hotel in Jaco sent us this photo of three geckos clinging together and hanging from a cieling beam. Geckos make a surprisingly loud chirping noise. They are only about three inches long, much smaller than the famous auto insurance spokesanimal.
Meanwhile, our blog is moving to a new location inside the site. We are going to use wordpress, which is fine product. Check out our new blog on all things Jaco Costa Rica with sections on surf, yoga, events, nightlife, weather and weddings.
Just a few miles south of our lovely hotel in Jaco there is a turtle refuge that stretches from a few hundred yards north of the Tulin river all the way to Esterillos Oeste. The refuge begins where the beach road in Hermosa ends. There is an "alburgue" or hostel there. From May to January thousands of turtles come to the south end of Hermosa beach to lay their eggs. Volunteers and MINAE employees dig up the egg clutches and take them to a protected nursery where they are buried again in a checkerboard grid in the sand. Each clutch is dated and when they are about due to hatch, their human allies start to check up on them and when they are ready, maybe give them a little help getting out of their shells. The turtles rest up a while in protected custody. Their idea of resting up at this age is climbing all over each other with their tiny flippers. After a couple hours, they are taken to the beach and deposited at the waters edge, pointing toward the ocean. And away they go. It is quite remarkable to watch them strugge against the tiny ripples that lap the shores of Hermosa beach near Tulin, distant echos of the giant waves that await a hundred yards out in the surf zone. Somehow, they make it out there. I have seen turtles the size of my thumb swimming outward where the big waves break. Just goes to show you, just keep going, ignore the setbacks, and eventually, you will get there. We will be blogging some more about the refuge in the week to come, so stay tuned. Pura Vida !
I found out some more about the "Autopista del Sol" project - the new highway from San Jose to Jaco. This highway actually runs from Hatillo near the Cima hospital through Belen and eventually to Caldera. Our map page discusses going to Belen to pick up the highway, but it is also possible to pick up the highway near La Garita and Turucares. More details will be coming soon.
Ok. Now we are getting "bloggy." Which is to say, waxing philosphical, roaming into the area of general interest behind. Let us leave behind such keywords as loding and accommodations. Forget for a moment about how many times we can say "tours" in a paragraph or whether people are more interested in travel or traveling. No more shall we dwell on vacation guides, but let us now turn our attention to the power of names.
For instance, Roca Loca. That means crazy rock. The rock is not crazy; the rare daredevils who surf it are. And when Roca Loca is on, its on. Yikes! Rocky headlands, only a one narrow channel in and out of the rocky lumps in the tidal zone, and a huge rock in the impact/takeoff zone along with strong currents and the biggest waves in the area. Anyway, the name is apt and serves as a warning to those planning an expedition.
Then there are all the spots in Playa Hermosa, from north to south, Terraza, Backyard, La Almendra, La Curva, and Tulin. These last three spots are also commonly called by their English translations, and I had been following the local trend towards gringofication, but I saw a blog post on Global surfer and it got me thinking and now "I'magin it".
Which is to say, I think we as tourists and tourism businesses should in all things strive to preserver local customs and language and help our guests enrich their travel experience by immersing themselves in the country they visit. After all, why lave the U.S. to see "The Tree" and "The Corners?" Well, because from corners, its a short walk to Tulin and nobody has an English name for that yet and there are baby turtles there.
Yes, baby turtles. Hundreds or thousands of baby turtles are sheperded to sea every day in the peak of the hatching season from November to March. Baby turtles ! Was I talking about names? Come name the baby turtles as they struggle tenatively out to sea and forget your troubles.
The new highway from Jaco Costa Rica to San Jose is now open. The new highway actually runs from San Jose to Puerto Caldera Costa Rica. There is a toll of about $6 to travel from Santa Anna near San Jose Costa Rica to Caldera. You get off to go to Jaco just before Caldera.
The new highway from San Jose to Jaco can save you time, maybe half an hour or fifteen minutes. It will probably not save you time if you use the new highway to get from the airport, which is in Alajuela, near San Jose, to Jaco during rush hour in San Jose. If you take the old route, you leave the airport going away from San Jose. To get on the new highway, you need to drive past part of San Jose to Belen, which could involve traffic delay, eliminating the gain.
The old highway crosses a huge mountain between Atenas Costa Rica and Desmonte Costa Rica. It is very scenic. The old highway will now have far less truck traffic (because of the fuel costs of hauling big loads up Costa Rican mountains), so the opening of the new highway will speed things up on the old highway! The new highway is also very scenic. Either way you go, relax, enjoy the ride, and drive safely on the new highway to Jaco or the old highway.
We have a interactive map of the new highway from San Jose Costa Rica to Jaco.
Today's weather in Playa Jaco was cooler and cloudier than anyone would have expected three years ago. High temperatures were in the low 80s downtown where it is hottest and reaches the 90s on hot dry season days, it was only sunny part of the day, and at dusk it looked like it might rain in the mountains.
This years' dry season has been cooler than the last, and last year's weather was cooler than 2008. There have been a few more days with cloud cover and even one or two days a rain a month, which I have not seen since I started visiting Jaco in 2008. We have a whole page dedicated to Jaco weather that you might want to check out to get a general idea of what sort of local conditions to expect in Playa Jaco Costa Rica. Keep in mind it is always cooler at our hotel at the base of jungle covered Mount Cerro Puntudo.
I coud not be more serious when I recommend a Costa Rica dental vacation if you need an expensive procedure. The fun part is saving a thousand dollars that you can use to buy a plane ticket to Costa Rica and get some room nights at Jaco hotel DoceLunas.
My old dentist in Washington D.C. was great, but my new dentist in Jaco Costa Rica did my root canal for less than 20% of the price. He speaks english fluently, with better grammar than I do, just like my dentist in D.C. And he did it faster and more painlessly, possibly because he had awesome tools. His Xray machine was much quicker, used a lighter ray dosage, and had a computer display with incredible resolution that allowed us to see the roots in better detail than I had ever seen before. I need to go in for a cleaning soon, and when I do I will get somem more information and put together a whole dental vacation page for you.
Regular brushing and brushing after all sugary snacks and drinks, or avoiding sugar altogether are probably the best way to go, but if you do need a root canal, look on the bright side - it's that extra incentive ( that your vacation will be free because of the money you save ! ) to finally make the leap, get your plane ticket, book your room, and come to Costa Rica. All for the price of a trip to the dentists office at home. Now that is what I call fun, making lemonade out your lemons!
Our Jaco hotel restaurant Eclipse offers some of the best food in the area as our Tripadvisor comments reveal, but variety is the spice of life, so if you are staying several days in Jaco, or walking around downtown and find yourself hungry for a snack, you may want to explore some other options.
Eclipse has one serious competitor in the fine dining category in Jaco - Lemon Zest run by Cordon Bleu Chef Richard Lemon. Eclipse has a vastly superior atmosphere, with the towering palenque roof and open walls surrounded by jungle greenery, but the food at Lemon Zest makes it worth the trip. all ahead for a seat on the balcony which offers by far the best ambience.
Tsunami Sushi defines the "Rockin Sushi" category, with a casual vibe and fancy food. It is the about same price range as Eclipse and DoceLunas, if you stick with a couple rolls in place of an entree. They have really good sushi and I find myself running up a tab that doubles the cost of eating at Eclipse or Lemon Zest, but for a person with self control, it offers a comparable quality and value.
In the daytime (until 7 pm) the fish market Bertil, 3/4 mile from our Playa Jaco hotel, is a great place to stop for ceviche. High volume and direct sales from small fishing operations is your guarantee of freshness. They use a nice amount of mandarin lemon, onion, green pepper, and parsley.
For those looking for a sweeter snack, the Heladeria El Barco - the Boat Ice Cream Factory, near the center of town has excellent Italian Gelato made onsite by the Italian owner. El Barco is about 1.25 miles from our Jaco hotel.
A few days earlier our Jaco hotel posted an article on sodas, which gives some insight into menu choices at typical restaurants. For the 24 hour traveler and the late night adventurer, soda Marea Alta on the way back to the hotel from town center (about 3/4 mile away) is open 24 hours and does a high volume of business over the course of the day and thus offers very fresh, albeit rather bland, and quite cheap. Also available late at night: "pinchos" or skewers of meat or chicken cooked on barbecues conveyed in shopping carts outside nightlife hotspots. Viva pinchos! No hay que tener miedo! Which is to say, hooray for pinchos. There is no need to be afraid! As long as its steaming hot off the grill - the international rule of street food.
There are so many things to do in the area around our Jaco hotel, you could stay here for a month and still look forward to a new adventure each day. Our tours and activites section lists twenty organized outings with fees ranging from $25 all the way to over $1,000 to charter a top of the line sportfishing boat for 8 people. While all twenty options offer good values and great experiences, sometimes the most memorable adventures are free. The Playa Jaco area provides plenty of opportunities for self guided adventure.
Hiking, mountain biking, strolling down the secluded beaches in the area, surfing and kayaking are some of my favorite free loca activites. The jungle covered mountains surrounding the Jaco bay offer wildlife and birdwatching opportunities punctuated with scenic views. The dense foliage and steep slopes keep the mountains a little cooler than the beach, so hiking and biking at midday is a possibility. The mountains go up 1,000 feet within as little as three miles from the trailhead, so you can get a big rewarding vista for a modest effort. We can also tell you how to get to some nice waterfalls on our mountain and in the next valley over.
Surfing, boogie boarding, and surf kayaking all require equipment of course, but other than that the only cost is getting to the beach and bodysurfing offers an equipment free option to enjoy the surf zone if you have the swimming and waterman skills. You can ride a beach cruiser from the hotel to Jaco beach or Hermosa Beach, but its a project getting around the corner to Hermosa with only one gear, so you might want a bike with gears for that, or a $7 cab ride or a car. Car rentals in Playa Jaco are pretty cheap if you want to explore beaches further south or north. There are 10 options within a half hour drive. You could use the local bus system too, but it only runs every couple hours.
There are some local attractions that draw more Costa Rican visitors than foreigners and these can be interesting and fun to visit. Playa Jaco and all the neighboring towns have annual Topes - horse parades, coupled with fairs and rodeos. Our staff like to go on outings to a riverside palenque that serves river shrimp in the next valley over a few miles from the coast. A few more miles up the road from the river shrimp there is a butterfly farm with an entrance fee of $2 that I really like to visit. Its in a tiny town with one church, one convenience store, one small grocery, and its own annual rodeo and horse parade.
The butterfly farm is a nice flat 30 mile round trip bike ride from our Jaco hotel or an easy drive on a gravel road even without four wheel drive. The mountain town of Bijagual provides an epic mountain bike ride option that takes you up and down the ridges from one summit to the next on the mountains that ring the Jaco valley. Parts of the route from the hotel are used on the Ruta Conquistadores Mountain Bike Race.
Whether you just feel like a short stroll to the beach, a half mile hike on a jungle mountain, an epic all day trip over a mountain down to a marsh and on to a mostly deserted beach or a quick single track loop, or and epic bike ride that has tested the most undauntable riders in the world, there are plenty of fun free outdoor activites waiting for you in Playa Jaco Costa Rica.
In June 2008, in response to a helfpul guest's constructive criticism about fruit falling loudly on the roof of the duplex suite they stayed in at our Jaco hotel, we decided we would have trim some of the many trees we have carefully preserved throughout the property. It's very quiet at night here, and I had heard the sudden impact of a mango once myself and although its just a piece of fruit, in the still of the night, its quite loud.
We have a lot of fruit trees and several magnificent flowering trees, including a Manzana de Augua that carpets the ground with feathery purple flowers and a huge orange Costa Rican Fire Tree. Some of the rare indigenous pines tower as high as 60 feet over the hotel property.
We wanted to get the trees trimmed as quicky as possible, but our Jaco hotel staff are not replaceable, and 60 feet is a long way down. Our Jaco hotel maintenance crew learned the figure eight knot, belay management, and harness fitting quite quickly, but what was far more impressive was their ingenuity and speed in seeing the opportunties to create the safety points and pulley systems in the maze of branches to lower the trimmed limbs safely and protect the climber. All the trees that we had to trim continue to thrive.
The Costa Rica equivalent of the U.S. EPA (called MINAE) has set a coliform bacteria count level of 240 part per million - or 240 coliform bacteria in 100,000 milliliters of water - as the maximum for safe bathing contact. (For comparison purposed, the U.S. EPA requires 210 ppm, so its very close to U.S. standards.) A few years ago, the bay near our Jaco hotel was registering around 400 ppm, but has now fallen below 240.
The beach at Quepos (just a couple miles from Manuel Antonio) is still registering over 400, so I recommend if you go swimming down there you grab a bottle of denatured alcohol for $1 at the grocery store and drop a little in your ears after your swim.
And after years of kayaking and surfing, I have found its not a bad idea to drop a little alcohol in your ears (unless you find it dries out your skin too much) any time after going in any water beacause it will evaporate and dry out quick and save you the trouble of hopping on one foot to get the water out of your ear.
Every Friday, Playa Jaco Costa Rica is host to a colorful farmers market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, most of which are harvested very near ripe at farms close by. It is about 3/4 of a mile from our Jaco hotel.
In the U.S. there is a growing "community supported agriculture movement" in which local consumers buy directly from local farms, rather than shop in supermarkets. Here is Costa Rica, "CSA" is a standard practice for many people and it may explain the relatively long average lifespan in this not-poor-but-not-rich-country.
My favorite stall in the farmers market has hot peppers, garlic, ginger, lots of fresh spices like basil and tarragon, and a special kind of black eyed pea that has a unique taste, somewhat reminiscent of brown lentils. While the produce is very good at this stall and they have more spices than the other stalls, the best part about it is that you can often see a crocodile just 20 feet away from the stall! Don't worry, its a small one and it keeps to itself, sunning on a small sandy bank on the other side of the estuary. When I went to take a photo of it, it bolted into the water. So as long as you stay out the estuary, I think you can visit the famers market without fear of taking home bite marks as a souvenir.
The have some craft and furniture at the market too. Its one of the better places in Playa Jaco to shop for locally made furniture, but its not great for souvenirs. Still, its fun and interesting to visit and maybe see the croc, have a fresh squeezed orange juice or a piece of fruit, and its less than a mile from the finest of Jaco hotels, Jaco Hotel DoceLunas.
Playa Jaco Costa Rica - it's not Mexico, but you still probably don't want to drink the tap water, unless you are at Jaco Hotel DoceLunas.
Water quality in Jaco is better than some place, worse than others. The water may on a rare good day pass U.S. standards for drinking water, but I doubt it. I know a few expatriate gringos in Jaco who are able to drink the muncipal water without getting sick after gradual acclimation, but I have known other people to get sick. Sometimes it comes out looking like you might not want to bathe in it, although you would not notice in a shower. Ask around and I believe you will find DoceLunas, which has its own water system, is the only Jaco Hotel that has bathtubs.
As I said though, the water in Jaco is much healthier than the water in southern Mexico where travelers are well advised to avoid eating salads and things that have been washed in local tap water. Here in Jaco and in most of Costa Rica the tap water is not so bad that you cant eat a salad washed in it, but I prefer eating salads washed in spring water at DoceLunas.
At Jaco Hotel DoceLunas, not only can you eat the salad, but you can drink the tap water, which comes from the aquifer in the 1,000 foot tall jungle covered mountain that borders the back of the property. There is nothing but jungle on top of that aquifer, but we run the water through a two stage purification system just in case. I don't live at the Jaco hotel myself, but I do go up and fill a water jug from time to time. It been tested on several occasions to enure quality and our Jaco hotel water exceeds U.S. bottled water standards.
Costa Rica has a long tradition of a certain basic type of restaurant that is very similar throught the country. These "typical" restaurants are called sodas. They typically offer slightly smaller meals than U.S. restaurants. A very traditional soda will have breakfast of gallo pinto (a special beans and rice) and eggs with bacon, ham or sausage and maybe plantains. Lunch a nd dinner you have your choice of casado or casado. Casado means "married." Its a plate with a 3 to 4 oz serving of chicken, beef, pork or fish, beans and rice, a small salad, and a small veg. And maybe some plantains.
Sodas are inexpensive, around $3 to $4 for a meal plate, and most do a fairly high volume of business. Consequently the food is fresh. And tasty? Well...if you like bland food, maybe slightly overcooked, then yes!
For most, its more of a mild culinary adventure than a culinary delight. But the food is fresh and healthy and cheap and its a taste of local culture so please try some! The gallo pinto dish, beans and rice mixed with a little bit of vegetables and some mild herbs, is the stand out of Costsa Rican cuisine. Most sodas will allow you to substitute Gallo Pinto for your regular beans and rice. There are several options for sodas that we can direct you to that are within a mile of our Jaco hotel.
You know, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship. You want to know about Playa Jaco Costa Rica, and we want to tell you.
Email me your general Jaco questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not the front desk, so you won't get an immediate response. For bookings or questions about the hotel, you can contact email@example.com