Jaco: Your Tropical Playground
Many people come to Costa Rica every year to experience the Pura Vida that this country is so famously known for. While some travellers are seeking seclusion and tranquility during their stay, many visitors are looking to experience the adventure, nature and fun that Costa Rica has to offer. If you fall into this group, then Jaco is the perfect base for your next Costa Rican vacation.
Jaco is a booming beach town located on the Central Pacific Coast, just 1.5 hours drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport. It is the most accessible and developed beach town in Costa Rica and receives a number of foreign and local tourists throughout the year creating a good mix of cultures. Surrounded by lush green mountains and farmer’s pastures, this town does not fall short of amazing. While it is best known for it’s great surf breaks and busy nightlife, Jaco is increasingly becoming a top destination for families and couples looking for fun and a relaxing vacation.
Jaco has a wide range of tour companies offering every kind of excursion imaginable from paragliding, zip-lining, surfing, and hiking, to monkey and whale watching. Jaco also offers up an amazing selection of restaurants, from typical sodas to trendy eateries. With the recent addition of the commercial complex, Jaco Walk, visitors are able to stroll around the lovely grounds and enjoy some of the many services offered by the establishments. Jaco Walk offers up a variety of shops, restaurants , bars and eateries, cafes, ice cream stands, medical services, yoga studio and gift shops. There is even a small playground for children where kids can play and parents can mingle with each other. Jaco Walk also hosts a number of live music events, festivals, art fairs and markets.
Jaco is a world-class destination for surfers. The pacific coastline offers a variety of breaks to suit all levels of surfers, from beginners to experts alike. The South end of Jaco has ideal conditions for learners due to it’s mildly sloping beach and gentle breaks. Most surf schools host their lessons on this end of the beach. The centre of the beach is slightly more crowded and attracts many of the local surf talent. Don’t be surprised to see some of Costa Rica’s best young talent surfing here daily.
For surfers who like slightly larger surf, the North end of Jaco offers uncrowded, good-sized waves that break both left and right. The waves on this end are best between December and May. Caution should be used if surfing on this end of the beach as it is prone to some rip currents.
For the more experienced surfer, the neighbouring town of Playa Hermosa offers several breaks with world class waves. It’s not uncommon to find pro surfers here catching some barrels and getting some amazing airs. The Backyard Bar hosts local surf competitions on the weekends, where spectators can watch the surfers rip it up as they sip on a ice cold beer.
A short 20 minute drive away is Playa Esterillos Oeste. This sleepy fishing village has a beach that stretches over 10 km and waves that are perfect for longboarders. It is also home to a well-known local monument ‘La Sirena’; a mermaid sculpture that sits atop the reef that becomes surrounded by water during the high tide.
Whatever waves you are seeking, Jaco has it all.
Here at Vista Guapa, our instructors will take you to the best surf spots in the area to suit your level of experience and ensure that you have an incredible experience surfing during your stay in Costa Rica.
Over the past few years, Stand Up Paddle has grown widely popular here in Costa Rica. Just a short 10 minute drive away is Playa Herradura. With it’s sheltered horseshoe-shaped bay, it experiences calm surface conditions perfect for an early morning SUP or SUP Yoga session. At Vista Guapa, we offer individual or group SUP lessons. Let our instructors guide you while you take in the natural beauty of the coastline and watch the Scarlet Macaws fly overhead.
Costa Rica is home to 6% of the world’s bio diversity, making it a top destination for nature lovers. The province of Puntarenas alone boasts a good number of national parks and incredible landscapes made up of mangroves, pastures, tropical forests, beaches, and rivers. If it is wildlife and natural beauty you are after, Jaco is the perfect place to enjoy the wonders of Costa Rica.
From our Lodge, there are several nearby hiking trails where one can enjoy the splendid views of Jaco, as well as regular sightings of Capuchin monkeys and toucans. Our most popular trail in Jaco is the Miro trail, which lies at the South end of town across from the ‘gasolinera’. This beautifully shaded trail is frequented by locals and tourists alike. The trail is busiest on the weekends when people are out hiking, biking, horseback riding and taking photos of the wildlife that inhabits this trail. The trail has two really incredible lookout points that offer panoramic views of Jaco beach. Go and explore it yourself, or have one of our experienced nature guides show you the hidden treasures that Miro Mountain has to offer.
Many tourists also make a point to visit the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, wich is known for its breath-taking ocean views, pristine white sand beaches, waterfalls and large populations of monkeys and raccoons.
Enjoy a full day at the park swimming and sunning as you watch the cute capuchin monkeys jump from tree to tree. Just keep an eye on your things! The monkeys are known to be mischievous!
If thrills are more your thing, head to the Tarcoles river, situated a quick 20 min drive from Jaco. Here you can stop along the bridge to witness numerous large crocodiles laying on the river bank. This is a popular stop along the way for many visitors heading towards Jaco. For even greater excitement, take a riverboat tour with Crocodile Man Tours. This excursion will take you down the Tarcoles river where you will encounter a variety of exotic birds, iguanas, lizards and more! Let yourself be amazed as you watch your guide hand-feed crocodiles that can measure up to 17 feet in length. Make sure to bring your camera as this tour will be one you won’t ever want to forget.
Come to Jaco, Costa Rica and experience the vacation of a lifetime. Whether you love nature, wildlife, beaches, hiking, surfing or just want to lay back and enjoy the spectacular surroundings, Jaco offers it all. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff take care of the details while you sit back and enjoy your trip to paradise. Visit vistaguapa.com for more information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
photos courtesy of Surf Girl CR