The hotspot of the Central Pacific coast undoubtedly the tourist hub of Jaco Costa Rica. To many first time visitors its wide selection of accommodations, fine dining, shopping, adventure tours and consistent surf breaks, make it Costa Rica’s most attractive destination. The ability to walk from one end to the other in very little time makes everything easily accessible. Many visitors enjoy their whole vacation within the town limits of Jaco.
For those with more of an adventurous spirit, renting a car or motorcycle is an obvious choice. There are many beautiful beaches you can visit just a short distance away without having to worry about getting lost. Private shuttles are also easily found for reasonable rates in town with knowledgeable English speaking local drivers. These drivers are sometimes the best options as they can show you a whole different side of the Central Pacific. Just remember to check the tides, low tide is much preferable to high if you want to walk a pristine stretch of beach.
Some often heralded spots just beyond Jaco’s borders include these recommendations for day or half-day beach trips:
This tranquil beach just 25 minutes south is a great place for wandering, collecting seashells and taking in the ancient lava formations that finger out into the sea. There are numerous calm coves with shallow grooves etched into the stone and one can find octopus, starfish, crabs and more. The famous Siren (mermaid) statue protecting boats and watching over the beach way out in the surf is truly a sight to behold. Ask your guide to point out Punta Mala.
A short hour-drive from Jaco takes you to Costa Rica’s most popular national park. Known for its white sand beaches and horseshoe-shaped bay, it boasts an incredible variety of wildlife, spectacular views and some world-class snorkeling. There are several great restaurants in the Manuel Antonio area with ocean and island views so bring your appetite.
Less than 20 minutes to the north, an unmarked dirt road leads to a popular rental and vacation area called Punta Leona. It is a gorgeous stretch of white sand with palm trees leaning into the sea, and has lots of comfortable shade and incredible wildlife (white-nosed coatis abound). Make sure you don’t forget the cooler though, because there is nowhere to buy cold beer or fruit!
----I prefer to think of Jaco Beach as a great vacation base, as well as a gateway to some amazing and lesser-known beaches. Costa Rica is a safe and friendly country and adventure is calling just beyond the edge Jaco Costa Rica!