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Jaco Costa Rica: Great Surf and Nightlife

Jaco Costa Rica was once an inconspicuous fishing village where the only attraction was excellent surf and its proximity to the famous Hermosa Beach in the south and the nearby Carara Biological Reserve.

Now, however, it is a party hotspot and a cannot miss locale for any traveler wishing to experience Costa Rican nightlife, sample its famed eco-tourism or explore its wild and stunningly beautiful Pacific Coast. Or maybe just relax in one of the numerous Jaco beach hotels.


Jaco Costa Rica is located on the country's Central Pacific Coast to the south of the city of Puntarenas and only a couple of hours from the capital, San Jose. This proximity has been a major reason for the towns growth and popularity. The two main draws of the
View overlooking Jaco Costa Rica
city are its beach, which stretches for more than three kilometers, and its nightlife. While the beach itself is not as picturesque as some, the closeness to the capital makes for a very reasonable trade off.

Over the past few years, Jaco has become one of the top party spots in Costa Rica. Now, people from all over the world, rich and poor, travel to Jaco in order to enjoy the renowned bars and clubs. It has become a resort town where you can go out with Brazilian backpackers one night and business men from Northern Europe the next. Jaco is not just a place to go out in Costa Rica; it is a place to meet people from around the world.

One of the main reasons for this newfound international status is Jaco Beach itself. Although it is not one of Costa Ricas most beautiful beaches and is sometimes dangerous for swimmers, Jaco Beach has been blessed with great waves and fantastic year-round surf.

These factors make Jaco, Costa Rica, a destination for serious surfers throughout the year. In addition, due to a number of surf schools, it has also become a place for novices and beginners. While not as forgiving a surf spot as Tamarindo Costa Rica for new surfers, the town is so easily reached from San Jose that its easy to squeeze into any itinerary.

As would be expected with the large influx of tourists, Jaco, Costa Rica, is a very tourist-friendly city. It features everything that a tourist could need from internet cafes to banks to international cuisine to tour companies offering a wide variety of eco-tourism options. Its easy to see why the Jaco real estate market is so hot right now.

Despite its newfound popularity, however, Jaco Costa Rica has tried to maintain a generally tranquil atmosphere. Yes, it is a place where people come to enjoy a vibrant nightlife and meet people from around the world, but it is also a place where people can come to relax and try to escape from the real world for a little while.

Jaco Beach Costa Rica Activities

The most common activity that brings people to Jaco, Costa Rica, is surfing. At Jaco Beach, serious surfers can find the waves and breaks they need throughout the year. With a variety of surf schools, however, it has also become an excellent place for those wishing to learn how to surf or simply to refine their skills.

In addition to surfing, Jaco, Costa Rica, offers a variety of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and kayaking. Also, there are boats that head north into the Golfo de Nicoya and allow you to try your hand at sport fishing. Even if you are not interested in fishing, however, these cruises provide an excellent opportunity to relax and take in the scenic shoreline while sailing upon the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous other tours Jaco has to offer tourists

Another option is to use Jaco, Costa Rica, as a base to explore the local coastline. From Jaco, you can head south to Hermosa Beach, which is about six miles south and features a yearly international surfing competition. Or, you can take a tour over to the Carara Biological Reserve and observe the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits the area. Another option, if you want to do something a bit more off the beaten path, is to take a car and explore up and down this incredible coast or go inland to discover the mountains and jungles of the interior.

Jaco Hotels

There is an excellent range of hotels in Jaco Costa Rica. As a beach resort as well as a center for backpackers and surfers, Jaco offers a wide range of accommodation from luxury hotels to more modest budget hostels. In general, the luxury hotels are located along the beach and towards the south of town, which is generally more tranquil.

A fortunate side effect of Jacos small size and large number of hotels is that it is usually possible to find exactly what you want. Moreover, even many of the budget hotels are located only a few minutes walk from the beach. I stayed at a basic little hotel when I was there and only had a two minute walk to the beach!

Usually, there is no need to make advance hotel reservations in Jaco Costa Rica. You can take your time to explore the town and find a hotel that fits your requirements and budget. This is not true, however, during Spring Break or other national holidays when both the city and the hotels are generally full. Also, weekends may be more crowded in the lower price categories as Ticos flock here for the beach.

Getting to Jaco Costa Rica

The easiest way to get to Jaco Costa Rica is to first head to San Jose. For international travelers, this usually entails flying into Costa Ricas international airport, Juan Santamaria (SJO). From there, many travelers rent cars as Jaco is less than two hours away. For the more budget conscious, you can take a bus into San Juan and from there choose either a local or first class bus to get to Jaco.

For those already in Central America, the best way to reach Jaco is still probably to head to San Jose. In some cases, it may be preferable to fly(it would be much quicker), but San Jose is also accessible via bus.

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