Hundreds of articles on Costa Rica trip planning, travel in Costa Rica, and saving money, plus free discounts. Pura vida!

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

NEW! Our awesome Costa Rica Destination Tool filters 66 destinations by nearly 150 criteria to help you quickly and easily decide where to go in Costa Rica according to your unique preferences, wants, and needs. Learn more and access the tool on our sister site, DIY Costa Rica, here.

Photos of Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Central Pacific) From Our Personal Collection

Photos of Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Central Pacific) From Our Personal Collection

Last updated on July 29th, 2021 at 11:22 am EST

Playa Jaco Photos

Playa Jaco fast facts

  • English name: Jaco Beach
  • Distance from San Jose: 100km (approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Tarcoles (small town), Quepos (large town)
  • Beach Status: Public beach

Playa Jaco beach details

Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features

Playa Jaco is a long beach with trodden brown sand. The beach also has long, unbroken waves you can surf. A few palm trees at the back of the beach provide cooling shade.

Crowds and noise

Playa Jaco regularly entertains several visitors, mainly because it fronts the town of Jaco, which serves a high volume of residents and visitors. Due to the town’s popularity, and particularly its role as a quintessential “party” town, crowds and noise can be an issue. Fortunately, the multi-kilometer-long beach provides plenty of room for spacing out and rarely feels full.

Cleanliness and Ecological Blue Flag rating

Costa Rica’s Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag Program) promotes sustainability and public health (to learn more about the program, see our related blog post: Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag Program: Safe and Sustainable Beaches). Every year, several beaches in Costa Rica compete for top honors, which are bestowed annually according to strict criteria that span the topics of water quality, beach sanitation and garbage disposal, the treatment of industrial waste, beach security, and environmental education. Beaches that participate in the program and meet 90-100% of the eligibility criteria achieve a 1-star rating. Additional efforts invite beaches to achieve 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star ratings (5 stars is the highest rating).

In 2019, Playa Jaco did not participate in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and therefore did not receive a star rating.

Development at Playa Jaco

Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.

The town of Jaco provides an assortment of establishments, including hotels, restaurants, tour offices, surf schools, and shops. Most line both sides of the town’s main drag (Avenida Pastor Diaz) and are spread out along side streets that connect the main street to Playa Jaco. The majority are within walking distance of the beach. In addition to finding restaurants and hotels located directly on the beach, you’ll also find a few lounge chairs and umbrellas, as well as a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk comprised of recycled materials.

Playa Jaco safety

Swimming and water safety

Swimming is allowed at Playa Jaco, however, as a well-known surf destination, the water can be wavy and rough. As always, exercise caution in and around the water, especially if you plan to visit with children or inexperienced swimmers.

General safety

Never bring items of value with you to the beach and always keep an eye on your belongings. Remember to lock your rental car if you have one. Do not visit the beach before sunrise or after sunset.

Playa Jaco location and road conditions

Access to Playa Jaco and 4×4 requirement

Playa Jaco is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It is the principal beach of Jaco, a popular beach town on the west side of Highway 34.

Playa Jaco sits just west of Avenida Pastor Diaz, the main street that runs the length of Jaco center. Two main access roads, The Boulevard and Avenida Amapola, jut off Highway 34 roughly 20 kilometers south of Parque Nacional Carara (the Carara National Park) and connect with Avenida Pastor Diaz at the north and south ends of town. A 4×4 vehicle is not required to reach Playa Jaco.

Map of Playa Jaco Costa Rica

Parking at Playa Jaco

There is no official parking at Playa Jaco. Locals park randomly along the sides of Avenida Pastor Diaz or along side streets that connect Avenida Pastor Diaz to the beach.

Best reason(s) to visit Playa Jaco

Playa Jaco isn’t worth traveling to purely to experience the beach. However, if you plan to station yourself in the Jaco area of Costa Rica primarily for another reason, such as to surf or to enjoy the area’s vibrant nightlife, Playa Jaco provides decent waves and no shortage of bars. Go for the surf or Jaco’s social scene, not the beach itself.

Beach hopping from Playa Jaco (or alternative beach options in the region)

Recommended day trips from Playa Jaco include visits to Playa Mantas, Playa Blanca, Playa Herradura, or Playa Hermosa.

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

Pura vida!

Scroll over the below images and hit “Save” to add Playa Jaco to your favorite Pinterest board!

Not sure which Costa Rica beaches are the best to visit? Let the beaches in this article inspire you:

66 Costa Rica Beaches (In Photos) And Where To Find Them

Costa Rica Travel Blog

Costa Rica tour discounts

DIY Costa Rica

DIY Costa Rica

Costa Rica Recommendations Map

Costa Rica Destination Tool

Costa Rica Trip Planning 101 E-Course

Summary
Photos of Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Central Pacific) From Our Personal Collection
Article Name
Photos of Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Central Pacific) From Our Personal Collection
Description
We provide photos of Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Central Pacific coast), plus info about beach features, safety, location, parking, and more!
Author
Publisher Name
The Official Costa Rica Travel Blog
Publisher Logo

Private

  • You do not have permission to view this forum.