Jaco Costa Rica has long been known as the party town of the Pacific. Home to an astounding number of bars and restaurants the reputation is well deserved. Jaco, unlike many other small Costa Rican towns, has nightlife which caters to a panaroma of interests; you can find a scene if you're staying in a highrise condo, if you're backpacking across the Americas, or if you are coming in from surfing the waves.
Despite the high concentration of bacchanalian points of interest in such a small town, it isn't always easy to figure out where you want to be and when you want to be there. I'll briefly talk about some of the bars that I like to visit and other bars that I'd like to visit.
Clarita's beach bar is by far the most “happening” place to be on Thursday nights in Jaco. Beer is sold at a steep discount (about half the price of a normal beer at a Costa Rican bar) and a large number of locals and tourists flock to drink in front of the beach between 8 and 10 pm. If you arrive before the crowd don't fret, they have a newly refurbished volleyball net and a beautiful view of the sunset. An added bonus is the nice left break (waves) in front of the bar for those who want to watch surfers, although generally the good waves are limited to high tide.
Green Room is a great bar in downtown Jaco if you are looking to try a good Costa Rican craft beer. Green Room generally has great musicians playing on Friday nights, and on Sundays there is always lots of wonderful local art on display. For those of you who forgot to pack a shuffleboard on your Costa Rican Vacation, be aware that Green Room is the only bar in town, perhaps the only bar in Costa Rica, with a shuffleboard.
Swell is a typical hostel-bar in the middle of Jaco (It's on a Calle Bohio right off of the main road). Swell a good bar for younger travelers and backpackers as it is attached to the hostel Beds on Bohio and the restaurant Papas and Burgers (delicious hamburgers). Recently Swell has been hosting live spanish music on Monday nights. This isn't a great bar for dancing, but there is a foosball table and a balance board if you're in need of a distraction from the endless jabbering of your traveling companion.
For those looking to dance, Orange Pub sits just down the road from Swell. On weekends there is often a cover of about $4, but on Fridays and Saturdays Orange usually fills up to the point where you won't think twice before showing your friends how much better at dancing you've become since that one time... If you happen to arrive on Ladies' night be advised that ladies are offered free well drinks.
Le Loft and Space are the soul siblings of Orange Pub. Le Loft is on the second floor of an ostentatious pink building and Space is on the second floor of a mall, next to Tsunami Sushi.
Jaco Blu is a beach-club and is one of the few places that fills up on Wednesday nights, its ladies' night. They also have a DJ'd Sunday beach party, where ladies drink for free from 2pm to 10pm. Blu is new and very clean; it has a large beachfront pool and plenty of space to either talk with your friends or mingle with new people.
If you are looking to attend a concert, I'd recommend looking into either Doce Lunas or Amapola. Doce Lunas, a hotel on the edge of town which is one of the few locations where I'd recommend visitors to taxi to, hosts Jungle Jam, a music festival that brings down a wide variety of well known bands every year. Both venues, though, bring in bands and DJ's to perform on a regular basis.
If you haven't found the right place for you, you might want to check out: Los Amigos (a fully air conditioned sports bar), Isaga (a local restaurant where you can watch Costa Rican soccer with Costa Ricans), Oz (If you want to play pool), and especially 24 hour Jaco Taco, where, if you are among those crazy souls who happen to be up between 12am and sunrise, you will find other partying insomniacs.