Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
Jaco Beach in Costa Rica isn’t a quite little village anymore. Times have changed and with it brought surfers and the throngs that follow. Today, Jaco offers some of Costa Rica’s best surfing with hotels and accommodation that is nothing short of sumptuous. The location is perfect for a quick mini-holiday and the surf is always up.
Jaco is located just south of the bay formed by the Nicoya Peninsula on the mainland. Jaco Beach is north of Dominical and two hours southwest of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. Visitors often rent a car from the San Jose airport and drive here for the beaches, surf and nightlife. Or, buses run direct from in town with more expensive “private” transport available from most hotels
Jaco Beach in Costa Rica is known as a beach and party escape, though there is no lack of other recreational activities. Hiking and trekking in the Rainmaker Nature Refuge helps pass daylight hours with nearly 2000 acres of rainforest. Meandering trails snake through the Refuge for short or long hikes. The Carara National Park has some trekking trails as well. Other activities include sea kayaking, zip line canopy tours, horseback riding on the beach, sport and deep-sea fishing, ATV-ing, Jet Skiing and, of course, surfing. For strangers to the sport, there are plenty of surf schools to help newcomers learn.
One of the best places to view wildlife and birdlife near Jaco Beach is Carera, and the Carara National Park on the banks of the Rio Tarcoles. At 1,600 acres, or just under 4,800 hectares, the park can take days to explore. The area is famous for the scarlet macaws and the anhinga, famous for sunning its feathers in nearby trees.
The sands at Jaco Beach can be grainy and strewn with pebbles. Swimming is really not an option as rip tides and undertows pull hard. An mélange of swimmer-friendly beaches lie due north and south through the coast, however. Playa Hermosa can have too big of waves for beginners at times. Other beaches include Playa Herradura, Suenos Marina, with Playa Palma, Bejuco, Esterillos and Palo Seco all south of Playa Hermosa.
Surfers and the crowds that follow them to Jaco Beach make up a big part of the visitors. With nightly parties and plenty of bars, restaurants and general carefree attitudes, Jaco has turned into a party scene. However, the place still caters very openly and warmly to families and groups of sightseers. Playa Hermosa has bigger waves when the swells roll in. Other beaches might be better for beginners; those needing lessons should head south.
Jaco Beach has a constant year-round temperature, hovering between 85 F in November and reaching 90 F by March and April (30-32 C). In September, the rains reach 23 inches (580 mm) and dissipate to less than an inch (10-20 mm) in January to March. Humidity is held at bay by the Pacific Ocean but this doesn’t mean that it’s never sticky.
Jaco Beach Hotels
The accommodation around Jaco Beach started with surfers staying wherever they could find a dry bed. Times have changed, and Jaco has everything from luxurious, all-inclusive resorts to hotels with just a bed and sink. Jaco is a mix of luxury and ma-pap hotels all in a picturesque location. The high season is busy with higher prices; the lower season offers some fantastic deal.