Seeking the ultimate escape? Look no further than Jaco, Costa Rica for an unforgettable adventure in paradise. Nestled along the stunning Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this charming beach town is just an hour and a half's drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO). Boasting local allure, thrilling excursions, tropical beaches, an amazing culinary scene, and a vibrant nightlife, Jaco promises an experience like no other.
Whether you crave serene relaxation or thrilling adventures, Jaco caters to all desires. But before you embark, you'll want to familiarize yourself with some of what awaits along Jaco's picturesque beaches and bustling corridors. This guide provides insights into accommodations, transportation, activities, weather patterns, and will leave you with plenty of practical guidance to ensure your Jaco vacation is nothing short of spectacular.
Jaco, (pronounced /ha-CO/), is a picturesque and bustling beach town in Costa Rica that has long been celebrated for its diverse attractions and amenities. The town of Jaco gracefully stretches along the Pacific Ocean, offering 7 kilometers of beautiful sandy shoreline. Renowned throughout the world as both a surfing haven and a world-class destination, Jaco attracts numerous visitors year-round.
For those inclined towards surfing or swimming, Jaco Beach and its surrounding areas provide exceptional waves and ideal conditions for enjoying the ocean for hours at a time. The southern end and the adjacent Playa Hermosa, offer the most favorable waters for surfing enthusiasts, while the central beach and adjacent Playa Herradura offer the best opportunities for swimming.
Beyond its stunning beaches, Jaco is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets and an array of unique adventures. From exhilarating excursions and wildlife tours to memorable fishing expeditions and leisurely catamaran cruises, there's no shortage of thrilling activities to indulge in. In addition, English is widely spoken here, making it easy to communicate during your stay. Jaco is a perfect destination for many types of travelers from groups of friends, to couples seeking romantic tropical nights, to families with children. Its proximity to the airport, range of activities and abundance of amenities make Jaco an ideal destination for first time visitors to Costa Rica.
Jaco boasts a diverse culinary scene that caters to all preferences, whether you're a discerning foodie, a vegetarian, a vegan, or have picky eaters or children in tow. The town's vibrant nightlife adds to its allure, with a burgeoning craft beer scene and numerous venues where one can dance the night away. Jaco, Costa Rica is known for its vibrant nightlife. With plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants, there is something for everyone. The town is full of energy and the nightlife scene is always bustling. Whether you are looking for a lively bar to grab a few drinks with friends or a club to dance the night away, Jaco has it all. There are numerous bars and clubs that offer live music and entertainment, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes. The town also hosts a range of cultural events such as art exhibitions, concerts, and festivals, ranging from beachfront bars to rooftop lounges. The atmosphere is always friendly and inviting, so you can be sure to have a great time. Jaco's nightlife is the perfect way to let loose and make some unforgettable memories.
Jaco, Costa Rica is a great destination for those looking for adventure. From tours of the local mountains, to visiting breathtaking waterfalls, there's something for everyone. ATV tours are a popular way to explore the region, and there are plenty of zipline canopy tours available for those who prefer to stay off the ground. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys in the trees and be sure to take in the stunning overviews. From such points of interest, you can see the lush rainforest and the beautiful beaches. You can also explore the local culture by visiting the markets, restaurants, and shops. For those wanting to relax, Jaco has plenty of spas, yoga classes, and beachfront resorts to choose from.
Jaco, Costa Rica has lots of things to do. From quaint boutiques to delicious dining, you don’t have to go far from the shoreline to find something fun to do. Along the main street you’ll find a plethora of souvenir stores and places to grab coffee, or bars to grab a drink and a game of pool. Visitors traveling in from all around the world enjoy the eclectic mix of activities and experiences Jaco, Costa Rica has to offer.
If you’re hoping for the adventure of a lifetime, Adventure Tours Costa Rica has dozens of options in Jaco for you. Animal lovers can find crocodiles, monkeys, or opportunities for horseback riding on wildlife excursions.
For a bigger thrill, try flying through the rainforest canopy on a zipline or sailing down the Savegre River on a white-water rafting adventure. From repelling down canyons to a catamaran trip to Tortuga Island, Jaco has something for everyone!
Wondering what to do in Jaco, Costa Rica after your day of outdoor adventures? Not to worry! Jaco is one of the best places to enjoy Costa Rican nightlife. Whether you want to dance, listen to live music, try your luck at one of the town’s casinos, or simply enjoy a great dinner—nighttime fun is always just minutes away! There are exciting things to do around town every night of your vacation.
This town is great to visit because of the easy access to and from Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José.
How far is Jaco from San José? As you can see on a map, it’s just an hour and a half drive from Costa Rica’s capital city, where SJO - the country’s largest airport - is located. Savvy travelers to Costa Rica book their transportation from the airport to their condo or hotel in advance of their trip to ensure the safest ride to where they are staying.
Situated on the Pacific Coast of the country at the southern mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya, Jaco is part of the Puntarenas province. The city lies between several mountains and is neighbored by the beaches of Herradura Bay to the North, and Playa Hermosa to the South (not to be confused with another beach by the same name in Guanacaste). About 35 kilometers north lies Carara National Park, recognized for its exuberant wildlife and dense rainforest. Carara is home to one of the largest remaining populations of wild scarlet macaws in the country. Manuel Antonio National Park is located 75 kilometers south of Jaco.
Jaco’s elevation is 7 meters (about 23 feet) above sea level. In the mountains, you can reach up to 3,000 feet or 914 meters. Its mountains are geologically formed by volcanic rocks, providing a beautifully diverse landscape throughout the region.
Jaco is a favorite spot for tourists and Ticos (Costa Rican nationals) alike, so there are plenty of great options for lodging in the area. Many vacationers choose to rent a condominium in one of the gated communities here that have beachfront access with private pools and all the comforts of home. Rental units are usually well-maintained and updated with modern amenities.
Condos aren’t the only places to stay! There is no shortage of other private vacation rentals or hotels in this stunning town. Enjoy a Costa Rica beachfront rental, a tranquil resort, or one of the large casino hotels Jaco, Costa Rica has to offer. If you’re looking for a luxury experience, check out the Los Sueños Resort, just a ten-minute drive from downtown Jaco.
The average temperatures in Jaco, Costa Rica are between 85-90°F during the day and 75-80°F at night. Monthly average temperatures in Jaco are lower in the months around October and are higher closer to March. Downtown Jaco is hottest from mid-morning until late afternoon. The dry season is from December to August and the wet season from September to November.
With relatively warm and pleasant weather year-round, anytime is the best time to go to Jaco, Costa Rica.
Even in the rainy or “green season,” Jaco, Costa Rica is an excellent vacation spot. The green season runs from September through November, during which time you can expect some rain that typically comes after dusk or during the nighttime. This weather pattern leaves vacationers plenty of time during the day to enjoy all that the town and the surrounding area have to offer.
Many guests prefer traveling to Costa Rica during the green season because the temperature is more moderate, and the overcast days provide relief from the hot sun. It’s also a time favored by sportfishing enthusiasts who prefer more open seas and active billfish. Fewer vacationers are traveling during this time, so the town is not as busy, and airfare can be much cheaper, making it worth the visit!
Throughout Costa Rica, Jaco is one of the fastest growing tourist regions. It draws in explorers from all over the world due to its solid infrastructure, modern amenities, and a plethora of options for adventure.
The town of Jaco is home to right around 11,000 residents. It is the capital of the Garabito district, which has about 20,000 residents. The resident population as well as the “floating population” have increased immensely in this area over the past few decades because of the booming tourist industry here.
Thanks to this significant growth, many new businesses, modern services, and schools have popped up throughout the district of Garabito. A large percentage of those living in the region are expatriates, drawn to the beauty of Jaco by the majestic shores of the Pacific Ocean and lush wonder of the mountainous rainforest.
Adventurous excursions, incredible wildlife, and both luxury and budget accommodations make Jaco worth visiting. Join us for a Costa Rica vacation you won't soon forget!
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One of the most prestigious sportfishing destinations in the world is only 15 minutes north of Jaco in Los Suenos, Costa Rica. Los Suenos is home to the Signature Triple Crown and has hosted the International Masters Tournament, along with many other renowned fishing championships. If you're staying in the Jaco area and enjoy sportfishing, you'll definitely want to book a Los Suenos fishing charter. [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco is an excellent destination for families with kids, thanks to its family-friendly attractions, beaches, and activities. Some of the popular kid-friendly options in Jaco include the Tortuga Island Catamaran tour, surfing lessons, horseback riding, Rainforest Safari or ATV tours, canopy ziplining, monkey tours, crocodile tours and guided hikes of the national parks: both Carara and Manuel Antonio are nearby. In addition, the abundance of both local and international cuisine on offer in Jaco appeals to families with children who are picky eaters or have dietary restrictions. It is worth noting that Jaco can get quite crowded during peak season and holidays, so it's important to plan ahead to secure your spots. [View Full Blog Post]
Travelers who are preparing for their upcoming vacation to Jaco Costa Rica should take certain steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. These preparations include learning about the local weather and packing with the weather and your planned activities in mind, informing your financial institutions and cell phone providers about your travel plans, and checking that your passport is current and will not expire during your travel dates. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the local currency, fill your prescriptions for any necessary medications, and if you are traveling solo, you should discuss your plans in detail with family or your closest friends. [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco beach is known as a world renowned surfing spot, but it is the presence of these waves that make Jaco less than ideal for snorkeling. Repeated motion of the ocean’s water causes sand particles to scatter, which in turn, causes limited visibility. There are several snorkeling options available from Jaco that offer excellent visibility if you seek to explore Costa Rica’s underwater world.
Jaco is a great destination for first-time travelers to Costa Rica due to its proximity to SJO Airport and ease of accessibility. It offers a wide range of activities, including wildlife, water sports and adventure tours. The town has hotel and condo options for various budgets and a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shops. While there are other cities and towns in Costa Rica that offer fantastic experiences, Jaco is an ideal location for first-time travelers exploring the country. [View Full Blog Post]
The amount of money needed for a vacation in Jaco will depend on your travel style, accommodation preferences, the size of your group, the activities you want to do, and your dining choices. Some travelers on a tight budget might be comfortable with budget accommodation, eating street food, or taking public transportation, while others might prefer luxury resorts, fine dining, and private tours. The easiest way to budget for your Jaco vacation is to contact one of our agents for a quote. [View Full Blog Post]
Yes! Most of Jaco can easily be explored on foot. Shops, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and beaches are all within walking distance of the town center. Depending on where you are staying, you should be able to walk just about anywhere in the town of Jaco you’d like to go. Strolls along the shoreline are quite beautiful. Most people can walk from one end of Jaco Beach to the other in around 20 minutes. Cab rides are also cheap in Jaco if you prefer. They typically only cost around $2-$3 to get you anywhere in town. [View Full Blog Post]
No, Jaco Beach is not a black sand beach. Instead, it has a grayish, sandy beach with a few scattered rocks, mostly on the northern end. The sand at Jaco is not black, but it is still a beautiful and popular beach destination.
Jaco Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica, with a stunning coastline, warm Pacific waters, and incredible views. Since Costa Rica is known for breathtaking beaches, determining which is the best is probably next to impossible. That said, what really separates Jaco from the rest is the abundance of local amenities and activities on offer. With a lively, laid-back atmosphere, great surf, plenty of dining options, shopping, a vibrant nightlife, and its close proximity to two national parks and dozens of adventure tours in the area, we think it’s safe to say that Jaco Costa Rica is pretty hard to beat.
The town of Jaco itself is bordered by beautiful primary and secondary rainforest mountains, however these rainforests are typically only accessible by way of excursions, such as Jaco ATV tours or canopy zipline adventures. The closest rainforests for hiking are Carara National Park, which is located about 15.5 miles north of Jaco, and Manuel Antonio National Park, approximately 37 miles to the south of Jaco. Organized hikes or adventure tours are always the best way to explore the rainforests in Costa Rica. [View Full Blog Post]
Some of the best day trips from Jaco include a full day ATV tour exploring the rainforest mountains that surround Jaco Beach, or a full day of sportfishing out of Los Suenos Marina. Combo tours are also available, including a combo Monkey Mangrove and Manuel Antonio National Park trip for the nature lovers in your group, or a Canopy Zipline and ATV combo tour for those seeking a truly thrilling adventure. Tortuga Island is another great day trip, departing from nearby Los Suenos with local transport included for free. [View Full Blog Post]
One of the top attractions in Jaco are its beautiful sandy beaches, which are perfect for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. Jaco also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking in the rainforest, ziplining, and ATV tours. In addition, visitors can explore the local culture by visiting the main strip in Jaco, which offers a variety of shops where you can find souvenirs and local crafts. The nearby Carara National Park is also a popular attraction, with opportunities for bird watching and hiking. Other noteworthy attractions in the area include the Rio Tarcoles crocodile river, Croc’s casino, and Los Suenos Marina. Top tours include the Signature ATV Canopy Waterfall Adventure, the Tortuga Island Catamaran Tour and Los Suenos Sportfishing. [View Full Blog Post]
Transportation in Jaco is relatively easy. When getting around, walking and biking are excellent options for short distances. For longer distances, taxis, Uber, or private transportation are options. Official red taxis cruise the main roads in Jaco and can be hailed on the street. Other options for transport include rental cars, with offices for pickup in both SJO and Jaco. If you decide to rent a car, it is important to note that damage deposits, mandatory insurances, and taxes can be rather costly, and conditions may also be challenging for drivers who are inexperienced with the local roads. [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco is a popular destination for families, and there are plenty of things to do with kids. Some of the best things to do in Jaco with kids include visiting the beach, taking a surf lesson, exploring the national parks with a family friendly guide, checking out Rio Tarcoles on an exciting crocodile tour, or visiting the curious whiteface monkeys that live in the mangroves about 40 minutes away. Other kid-friendly activities in Jaco include outrigger canoe trips, Rainforest Safari excursions, and ATV tours with a Rhino. Finally, a day trip to Tortuga Island is sure to delight everyone in the family. [View Full Blog Post]
The primary language spoken in Jaco is Spanish. However, due to its popularity as a world-class destination, a large percentage of the locals also speak English fluently. Tour guides and transportation drivers are bilingual, making it easy to enjoy Jaco tours and excursions during your stay without worrying about a language barrier. [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco offers a variety of unique activities for vacationers. Those seeking a unique adventure can take a catamaran tour to Tortuga Island, go horseback riding, or take an ATV tour through the rainforest. The monkey mangrove tour in Damas offers the chance at a truly unique wildlife encounter and shouldn’t be missed. [View Full Blog Post]
The best time to visit Jaco is generally during the dry season, which lasts from December to April. During this time, visitors can enjoy sunny weather and clear skies, making it the perfect time for outdoor activities. However, the high season also means higher prices and more tourists, longer lines, and limited availablity. Those who prefer fewer crowds and lower prices may want to consider visiting Jaco during green season, which occurs from May-November. Despite some afternoon showers, visitors can still enjoy pleasant weather and fewer crowds during this time, with the added bonus of considerable savings.
Jaco offers a wide range of activities and attractions. The town is known for its beautiful beaches, ideal for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. Visitors can also experience the lush rainforest, where they can hike, birdwatch, and see various wildlife species. Jaco also has a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of brew pubs, bars and clubs to choose from. For those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere, there are many spas, yoga studios, and wellness centers in the area. Finally, Jaco boasts a diverse dining scene, offering a variety of cuisine options for travelers with a picky palate or dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian, and Kosher requirements. [View Full Blog Post]
The town of Jaco and the ocean itself are safe if you take proper precautions. Out in the water, undercurrents and stronger waves can develop, particularly on the northern end of the beach. Visitors are advised to swim only in designated areas and within sight of a lifeguard and other beachgoers. It's important to pay attention to posted safety signs, know your limits, and keep within ear and eyeshot of other people. No matter where you are, it's never a good idea to swim alone on a deserted section of the beach or swim in the ocean at night. With caution and common sense, visitors can safely enjoy the beautiful Pacific waters at Jaco Beach, and all that this town has to offer.
Jaco is full of hidden gems for visitors to explore. One such gem is the Tarcoles River, which is home to a large population of massive crocodiles and offers boat tours for visitors. Another hidden gem is the nearby Carara National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife such as macaws, toucans, and many rare birds. For those looking for a stunning sunset view, the amphitheater at Villa Caletas offers a vantage point that can take your breath away. Visitors can also take an ATV tour into the rainforest mountains that surround Jaco, where you’ll get to enjoy parts of the backcountry, quaint mountain towns, and even a hidden waterfall that few outsiders get the chance to see.
Jaco is known for its vibrant nightlife scene and is considered a party town by some as it offers a variety of bars, casinos, nightclubs, and restaurants that stay open late into the night. Jaco also has a more laid-back side, with its beautiful beaches and outdoor activities attracting visitors looking for a more relaxed vacation. The area has many tours and amenities that appeal to families with children as well. Depending on one's preferences, Jaco can be a party town, a family-friendly destination, or a peaceful retreat - it's really up to you! [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco is well known for its beautiful beaches, surfing, and nightlife. It is a popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, offering a range of activities such as ziplining, ATV tours, and fishing. The town is also home to a variety of restaurants and bars, making it a lively spot for both locals and visitors. [View Full Blog Post]
Jaco Costa Rica is generally considered a safe place to visit. Although it has a reputation as a party town, there is generally low crime and violence reported in the area. Jaco is well patrolled by local police who have a presence in the streets. (View Full Blog Post)
Yes, Jaco has some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. The beaches in Jaco are known for their beautiful views and turquoise waters. There are also many fun activities to do on the beach such as surfing, swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.
Massage prices in Jaco typically range from $70 to $100 per hour, depending on the type of massage you get. Swedish massages are generally in the lower price range, while deep tissue massages cost more. If you plan to get a specialty treatment, such as warm stones, rainforest mud or herbal body wraps, you might expect to pay up to around $120 per hour. [View Full Blog Post]
The beach in Jaco is a great place to relax and enjoy a few drinks. There are many bars and restaurants along the beachfront that offer a variety of alcoholic beverages in designated drinking areas. Outside of the designated areas, you might decide to purchase alcoholic beverages at a convenience store to enjoy at the beach. In general, you should be fine proceeding, provided you understand the expected etiquette and know the local laws. Public intoxication is illegal in Jaco, so should you decide to enjoy a few beers on the beach, you should be mindful of your consumption and respectful of others. All in all, drinking on the beach in Jaco can be a great way to enjoy the local atmosphere and the beautiful scenery provided you do it in a responsible way. [View Full Blog Post]
Many people find Jaco to be a great tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and many available activities and tours. It has a great infrastructure with plenty of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, but it can also be quite crowded. It also may not be the most authentic experience of Costa Rica, since it has heavily shifted toward catering to tourists. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide if Jaco is too touristy for them. (View Full Blog Post)
The price of a beer in Jaco can vary depending on the type of beer and where it is purchased. Generally, an imported beer can at the grocery store will cost between $2-$4 USD, while a local beer will cost around $1-$2 USD. At the bars, you should expect to pay $2-$3 for a local beer, $4-$5 for an import, and $6-$7 for an artisan or craft brew. ( View Full Blog Post )
Jaco is a beach town, so it is important to wear clothes that are appropriate for a beach destination. As a general rule, light and airy clothing made from breathable fabrics is ideal for a hot and humid climate. A tank top and shorts are a great option for a casual day, and a sundress or a skirt and blouse can be more suitable for a night out. Women should also bring a scarf to use as a beach cover up, since some beaches may require modest dress. In addition, it's always a good idea to bring a hat or sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. You should also pack sandals or flip flops to wear while exploring the town or going to the beach. ( View Full Blog Post )
It is not necessary to have a rental car in Jaco. Public transportation such as Uber, taxis and buses are widely available. Additionally, there are many rental car companies located in the area if you would prefer to have your own vehicle. However, if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing or if you are looking for a convenient way to get around town, a car would definitely be an asset. If you plan to stay mostly within walking distance of downtown Jaco, you may not need a car.
If you do plan to rent a car, it is important to keep in mind that parking can be difficult in Jaco, especially near the beach and downtown areas. Make sure that your hotel or condo has space for your vehicle.
The amount of time you should stay in Jaco depends on what you want to do while you are here. Jaco is a popular beach town in Costa Rica that offers activities ranging from ATV tours, to surfing, to zip-lining, to hiking. It can be a great destination for a beach vacation, a weekend getaway, or a longer stay. If you plan to stay for a week or longer, you should be able to take part in a variety of activities and explore the local culture. Jaco is a great destination for any length of stay - we’ve been here since 2001! [View Full Blog Post]
Yes, in general, it is safe to drink the water in Jaco, Costa Rica. The water in the town is treated with chlorine and other chemicals to make it safe for drinking. However, some visitors may experience some gastrointestinal issues due to the change in water mineral content, so it is recommended to drink bottled water or filtered water instead.
Yes, you can swim at Jaco Beach. The beach is very popular for swimming, surfing, and other beach activities. The warm water temperatures and good waves make it a great spot for swimming. Swimming is allowed in designated areas, and there are lifeguards on duty during the day. The South end of the beach has much calmer currents than the North end. So, if you’re an intermediate swimmer, stick to the South end of the beach. Also, as conditions can vary depending on the time of day/tides, wave conditions, and weather. (View Full Blog Post)
Jaco, Costa Rica is approximately 94 kilometers (58 miles) from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. The drive by car usually takes about 90 minutes.
Jaco, Costa Rica is generally considered to be a budget-friendly destination. The cost of living is lower than in many other tourist hot spots and hotel, restaurant, and recreation prices are typically quite affordable. That being said, prices can vary depending on the time of year and the quality of the location. Therefore, one could say that Jaco is generally a cheap place to visit, but it can depend on individual preferences and budget. [View Full Blog Post]
Yes, Jaco is definitely worth visiting while in Costa Rica. It is one of the most popular beach towns in the Central Pacific Region and is known for its surfing beaches, thriving nightlife, and laid-back atmosphere. It's also close to a few national parks, tropical forests, and several waterfalls, making it an ideal spot for adventure and nature lovers. Additionally, it has a variety of activities and adventures including incredible tours, excellent fishing, golfing, and beach sports. Jaco is also home to many of the country’s best restaurants and bars. ( View Full Blog Post )
No. Snorkeling is not possible at Jaco Beach due to a lack of coral formations and the world-famous waves, which cause an issue with visibility. That said, there are several outstanding snorkeling spots nearby, with tours leaving out of the Jaco area. [View Full Blog Post]
Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna are approximately 3.5-4 hours from Jaco.
The short answer is ‘no.’ Hot springs are formed when rocks and other matter deep within the Earth’s surface become heated. These heated elements force water below the surface up, creating hot springs. In order for this phenomena to happen, there has to be a suitable heat source. In the case of hot springs in Costa Rica, more often than not, that heat source is volcanic activity. Since there are no active volcanoes in or around the Jaco / Los Suenos area, we do not have hot springs available here. The closest volcanic source for hot springs is Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, which is approximately 3.5-4 hours from Jaco.
The trip from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose is a beautiful 1 1/2 hour drive that makes us the closest beach resort community from the International Airport.