When you think of a tropical paradise, you might imagine crystal-clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and an abundance of marine life. While Jaco Beach in Costa Rica is certainly paradise, it's not necessarily the best place for snorkeling. While Jaco is world-renowned for its amazing surfing and swimming conditions, it’s due to the wave activity that Playa Jaco isn’t well suited for snorkeling. The ocean’s movement kicks up sand along the coast and thus, the visibility at Playa Jaco isn't ideal for underwater exploration. Fortunately, there are several incredible snorkeling tours just a short distance from Jaco Beach that offer breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences. Keep reading to discover our picks!
Snorkeling at Tortuga Island is an experience you won't want to miss. Located just off the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and only about 40 minutes out, this former hotspot for tall ship pirates like Blackbeard and Henry Morgan features some of the clearest and calmest waters in all of Costa Rica, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. As you explore the vibrant coral reefs, you'll be greeted by an incredible diversity of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, starfish and more.
The waters around Tortuga Island are dense with aquatic life, which means you'll have the opportunity to see some of the most exquisite and pristine underwater ecosystems in Costa Rica. With visibility at up to 98 feet, snorkelers can explore fascinating rock formations that are home to a wealth of sea creatures. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, you'll be thrilled by the beauty and variety of marine species that call Tortuga Island home. A catamaran tour bound for Tortuga leaves every day out of the Los Suenos Marina in the Los Suenos Resort, only about 15 minutes from Jaco. Snorkeling equipment is included, and free local transport is available for the tour if you need a ride.
Snorkeling from a kayak in the open Pacific waters off of Playa Agujas is an exhilarating experience that combines adventure and relaxation. On the Kayak Snorkeling tour, you'll start by paddling out to sea on your kayak while accompanied by a professional guide, enjoying stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding mountains. Once you reach your destination, you can jump into the water, where you'll be surrounded by an incredible variety of marine life. Agile and easy to maneuver, a kayak allows you to explore hidden areas where colorful fish, sea turtles, and other creatures thrive.
Snorkeling from a kayak in the open Pacific allows you to get up close and personal with the underwater world, with the added benefit of gliding through the water at your own pace. Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or a first-timer, this activity is a unique and breathtaking way to explore the beauty and diversity of the Pacific waters off of Playa Agujas. Families with younger children or elderly adults might enjoy using an outrigger canoe instead of a kayak, as it requires less effort to maneuver. Both the kayak tour and the outrigger canoe tour are only 30 minutes from Jaco. While transportation isn’t included for either of these tours from Jaco or Los Suenos, it is available if you need it.
Ocean kayaking to the hidden gem of Biesanz Bay on a guided kayak tour that includes snorkeling gear is a thrilling adventure that's perfect for anyone looking to explore Manuel Antonio’s stunning coastline, abundant marine life, and secret, hidden coves. As you paddle your way along the coast, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the lush rainforest and picturesque beaches that have made Manuel Antonio so famous. On route to Biesanz Bay, you’ll pass a series of small islands where a variety of marine birds nest year round. Stunning cliffs and mountain views greet you as you pass by. Once you reach the secluded Biesanz Bay, you'll have the opportunity to take a break, rest your body, bask in the sunshine, and then suit up with the provided snorkeling gear so that you can explore the bay’s fertile offerings.
A variety of colorful fish make their home in these serene waters, including starfish, angelfish, parrotfish, and more. The Olive Ridley and other beautiful sea turtles nest along this incredible stretch of shoreline. The crystal-clear waters of Biesanz Bay make for excellent visibility, and the abundance of marine life in the area make for an outstanding day of discovery.
While Jaco Beach may not be the best location for snorkeling, its strategic proximity to some of the most exotic snorkeling spots in the area makes it a fantastic home base for those seeking the best snorkeling adventures. The experience of exploring the vibrant underwater world in these spots will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. Whether you're a first-time snorkeler or a pro, closeness of Playa Jaco to a variety of snorkeling hotspots provides the perfect opportunity to indulge in this exhilarating activity during your stay.