Costa Rica is a country known for its diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity, and warm hospitality. With so many incredible destinations to choose from, it can be challenging for first-time visitors to decide where to go. If you're a first-timer to Costa Rica and want a taste of everything this beautiful country has to offer, Jaco should be at the top of your list.
Located on the central Pacific coast, Jaco is a vibrant beach town that perfectly combines adventure, relaxation, and culture. Here are a few reasons why Jaco is the ideal destination for Costa Rica first-timers:
Jaco is easily accessible from the country's capital, San Jose, so it's an exceptionally convenient choice for travelers. It's only a short 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), making it an ideal place to start your Costa Rican adventure. If you’re not interested in the complications of an international car rental, taking inexpensive private transportation from SJO airport to Jaco Beach couldn’t be easier. You can also catch a taxi, shared shuttle, or Uber from the airport.
The Jaco area boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the country. The region's long tropical coastline and warm Pacific waters are perfect for sunbathing, surfing, or taking a refreshing dip to cool off. Experienced surfers will love Jaco’s consistent waves, while inexperienced or curious beginners will find the conditions excellent for surfing lessons. As the day slowly comes to a close, the breathtaking, cotton candy sunsets over Jaco beach paint the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple in an awe-inspiring display of natural beauty.
For adrenaline junkies, Jaco is a dream come true. The region offers a wide range of adventure activities such as ziplining through the rainforest canopy, ATV tours through the rainforest mountains, waterfall rappelling, whitewater rafting and more. There's never a dull moment in Jaco, and you'll have the opportunity to create a whole host of unforgettable memories during your stay. Jaco’s abundant adventure tours guarantee loads of fun - all within arm’s reach.
If you're looking for a lively and energetic nightlife scene, Jaco won't disappoint. The town is known for its diverse dining options, bustling bars, nightclubs, and live music venues.
You can enjoy local and international cuisine, indulge in delicious cocktails, partake in an amazing selection of craft beers, and mingle with both locals and fellow travelers. Whether you’re looking for delicious international cuisine, a laid back beach bar, or the opportunity to dance the night away, Jaco delivers.
Costa Rica is famous for its rich biodiversity, and Jaco offers fantastic opportunities to get up close and personal with some incredible wildlife. Take a guided tour through one of the nearby national parks, including Manuel Antonio or Carara. Opt for a boat trip to see the adorable Capuchin whiteface monkeys in the nearby Damas mangroves or go see giant crocodiles with a mangrove tour of the Rio Tarcoles. The opportunities in and around Jaco are incredible for nature lovers, as the region is home to 5 different species of monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, coatis, colorful birds, lizards and countless species of frog!
Jaco serves as an excellent base for exploring other destinations in Costa Rica. From here, you can easily access Los Suenos Marina, which is only 15 minutes north of Jaco. The picturesque, rocky shoreline of Playa Hermosa is also nearby at only 15 minutes to the south.
Manuel Antonio, home of Costa Rica’s most famous national park, is only an hour south of Jaco. The stunning Cloud Forest of Monteverde is about 2.5 hours from Jaco, while La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano are around 3.5 hours away. There are many smaller and lesser-known towns and villages nestled along the coastline surrounding Jaco that you can discover during your stay, making the area perfect for those seeking to explore.
Jaco has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that makes it an ideal destination for first-time visitors. Locals are known for their warm hospitality, and there are plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and shops that cater to tourists. English is widely spoken, making communication with locals a breeze. The overall vibe in Jaco is vibrant, energetic, and laid-back all at once, giving the town a lively ambiance that seamlessly blends with its relaxed surfer culture. The streets are filled with locals, tourists, and surfers strolling along the sandy shores and exploring the variety of shops that line the main strip. Sounds of reggae music and laughter fill the air, giving Jaco an easy and comfortable vibe.
Jaco offers a little bit of everything that makes Costa Rica such a fantastic destination. From its stunning beaches and thrilling adventures to its vibrant nightlife and rich wildlife, Jaco is the perfect choice for first-time visitors. If you’re looking to visit Costa Rica for the very first time, Jaco is an excellent choice.