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What To Know About Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Jaco Beach)

What To Know About Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Jaco Beach)

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on September 14th, 2017.

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PLAYA JACO COSTA RICA (JACO BEACH)

Jaco Costa Rica is both the country’s most Americanized beach town and the go-to spot of many vacationing Costa Ricans during weekends and on holidays, especially those who reside in the Central Valley. Dubbed Costa Rica’s nightlife capital, the community is a favourite among young visitors looking to let loose and socialize with other travellers. Travellers who are able to look past the town’s obvious and indiscreet vices will find vibrancy in the area’s surf culture, souvenir stores, and other specialty spots scattered along the main strip.

WHAT TO DO IN JACO COSTA RICA

  • Surf lessons, surf trips, and/or board rentals (consider the Vista Guapa Surf Camp, the Walter Surf Shop, Carton Surfboards, Chuck’s W.O.W. Surf Lessons, Jaco Surf School, Jaco Surf Club, or Tortuga Surf Camp)
  • ATV tours (try the ATV Tour del Rey, the ATV Tour de los Pueblos, the ATV Tour de la Paz, or the ATV Tour de la Gloria)
  • Visits to the Carara National Park
  • Crocodile tours (consider Jose’s Crocodile River Tour)
  • Aerial tram rides (consider Rainforest Adventures’ Aerial Tram)
  • Visits to botanical gardens (consider the Pura Vida Garden)
  • Visits to waterfalls (consider the Catarata Manatial de Agua Viva/Bijagual Waterfall)
  • Hiking (consider the trail at Mount Miros)
  • Kayaking (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Kayak fishing (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Sailing (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Snorkeling (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Outrigger canoeing (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Stand-up paddling (consider Kayak Jaco)
  • Horseback riding (consider Discovery Horseback Tours)
  • Ziplining (consider Canopy Vista Los SuenosRainforest Adventures’ Tranopy Tour, or Chiclets Zipline)
  • Golfing (consider the La Iguana golf course at the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort)
  • Sportfishing (consider Costa Rica DreamsMaverick Sportfishing, or Jaco Tours and Sportfishing)
  • Hang gliding (consider Hang Glide Costa Rica)
  • Parasailing (consider Hang Glide Costa Rica)
  • Bike rentals
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Bar hopping
The below Jaco Costa Rica information can also be found on our related post:

The Best Costa Rica Beach: What To Know About The Central Pacific Beaches

JACO COSTA RICA DETAILS
(SELLING POINTS, DISADVANTAGES, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND EXTRA NOTES)

Located north of Playa Manuel Antonio and south of Playa Herradura

Distance from San Jose: 100km (approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes)
Closest Town: Jaco
Beach Status: public beach
Type of Sand: light brown sand, smooth beach

Playa Jaco Costa Rica selling points

  1. For those travellers looking to visit a popular beach town, Playa Jaco is a great choice. This town is one of the most vibrant and populated areas along the central pacific coast, especially when compared to its neighbouring beaches (Herradura and Hermosa). Travellers who choose to stay at accommodations in town have access to a variety of dining and shopping options–the majority of which are within walking distance to the beach.
  2. Playa Jaco is the bar or “disco” capital of Costa Rica. For those travellers looking for an active nightlife, Jaco is an ideal location in which to find it!
  3. Since Playa Jaco caters to young travellers, the area offers many inexpensive accommodation options. Although superior and resort-quality accommodations do exist, these are overshadowed by the abundance of economy and standard accommodation options targeting backpackers and travellers with a limited budget.
  4. Travellers looking to participate in a number of tours/activities during their time at the beach will find a variety in Playa Jaco. Most of the tour operators in this town also service nearby beaches, however transportation to/from these other beaches and Playa Jaco is not always included with the tour cost. For this reason, Playa Jaco is a good choice for those individuals who will not have a rented vehicle and would prefer to stay in a popular town where tour offices can be reached on foot.
  5. Playa Jaco is a long beach. Although it is popular and attracts quite a few visitors, its length allows visitors to spread out down the coast providing beach-goers with the feeling that the area is less busy than it actually is.

Playa Jaco Costa Rica disadvantages

  1. Given its popularity, Playa Jaco is more of a rocking beach town than a quiet, coastal retreat. For this reason, although there are many activities that children can participate in, families tend to prefer the more family-friendly feel of nearby Playa Manuel Antonio to the party atmosphere generated in Playa Jaco.
  2. Since Playa Jaco tends to attract younger travellers, the town offers more economy and standard accommodation options than superior and resort-quality stays. For honeymooners and/or travellers looking for higher-class travel experiences, where Playa Jaco succeeds in student nightlife and penny-pinching it fails in the romance and luxury departments.
  3. Since Playa Jaco offers an active nightlife, the town requires travellers to be alert and use common sense while visiting bars, restaurants, and/or the beach after dark.

Playa Jaco Costa Rica recommendations

  1. If a beach town offering a party atmosphere is what you are looking for, than Playa Jaco would be one of the best central pacific beach options for you. Otherwise, if coastal swagger does not play into your trip plans, perhaps a less busy and more intimate beach area would be a better choice.

Playa Jaco Costa Rica extra notes

  1. Recommended day trips from Playa Jaco include visits to Playa Herradura and Playa Manuel Antonio.

MAP OF PLAYA JACO COSTA RICA (JACO BEACH MAP)


QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Jaco Costa Rica before? What did you think?

Pura vida!

Nikki and Ricky

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