Jaco is one of the 29 best things to do in Costa Rica.It is known for its popular beaches, sport fishing, excellent surfing spots and its unique location only 1.5 hours drive from San José. Between the natural beauty and the luxury accommodations, it's no surprise that Jaco is the most touristy beach in the country.
Whether you're looking for a secluded hilltop retreat, a family-friendly resort, or a top surfing destination, the Central Pacific Coast can provide everything you're looking for. Grab your rental car and enjoy life in Jaco.
1. Visit the Royal Butterfly Farm
People love this place. You can enjoy an unforgettable experience while surrounded by colorful butterflies in a lush setting of tropical plants.
Learn about the amazing life cycle of butterflies and stroll along the river path while exploring the 70+ types of fruit trees grown on the property. Cold drinks and souvenirs are available in the gift shop.
- The cost of the tour is $10 per person.
- Free for children under 6 years of age.
Playa Hermosa in Jacó
Located in the Golfo de Nicoya region of Costa Rica, Jacó has a fair number of breaks that attract surfers of all levels.
Whether you like rights or lefts, you will be served. Moreover, as far as infrastructure is concerned, nothing to say: not only are there about 30 surf shops in the city, but there are also quite a few surf schools on the beach. These schools are ideal for beginners.
We share with you the 10 best surf spots in Costa Rica.
For the more experienced surfers, you will love Playa Hermosa de Jacó. There are big swells. So check the forecast before you go! Hermosa is only a 5-10 minute drive from Jacó, so it's easy to get there.
3. Visit the "Neo Fauna CR" refuge
Tired of surfing the waves? Get up close and personal with some of Costa Rica's most exotic mammals, reptiles and insects by visiting Neo Fauna CR.
This wildlife conservation area is nestled in the wilderness and is dedicated to the preservation and reproduction of endangered species. The farm pays special attention to butterflies, poisonous frogs and snakes.
The center also serves as a sanctuary for injured or sick wild animals to heal and then be safely released back into the wild. Admission costs $20.00.
4. The aerial tramway of Jacó
Aerial tramway of Jacó
The cable car is one of the most unusual excursions. It consists of 18 gondolas with a maximum capacity of 9 passengers each, with a naturalist guide, who takes the passengers to discover the canopy.
Observe the wildlife and admire the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a guided hike through the rainforest, and finish your 2.5-hour tour with a visit to a serpentarium and medicinal garden.
5. ziplining in the jungle
Right next to the tram, get a shot of adrenaline by going down one of the 10 zip lines overlooking the jungle. Glide through the rainforest and feel the adrenaline rush!
Enjoy breathtaking views of the rainforest canopy while being guided by zip line professionals.
6. Enjoying the nightlife
Once the sun goes down, Jaco goes from being a sleepy beach town to a party town, with great clubs along the main strip. Let's face it, most tourists come here to party.
Jaco offers a great party scene for those looking for an excellent nightlife.
You can choose between Jaco Blu, Black Marlin, Orange Pub, and many other bars and nightclubs located on the main street.
7. Relaxing on the beach
Jaco is a very popular beach because of its proximity to the capital, San José.
So avoid weekends as all the city dwellers go there to relax after a week of work.
During the week, you'll have better luck finding a nice spot on the beach to enjoy the waves, brown sand and sunsets. Prefer the eastern end of the beach, less saturated and more green.
The viewpoint "El Miro”
El Miro is an old mansion with white arches, pillars, spectacular murals and breathtaking graffiti. As if all that wasn't enough, it also offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Playa Jaco.
It is a walk of just under an hour, during which you can observe a number of wild animals such as monkeys, toucans, frogs, morphos, macaws and, as in all mountains, snakes.
The trail is marked, so you can enter the mountain without fear. This place has two viewpoints and if you want to continue the adventure, you can follow other trails that will take you to Playa Hermosa and another to Bijagual.
Mountain bike or Quad in the jungle to see the waterfalls
On the mountains of Jacó you will hear the thundering engines of quads exploring the jungle. Thrill-seeking tourists venture out on these machines that go everywhere. Don't expect to see any animals on your way: the noise of the quads will scare them away!
You will have the opportunity to visit the mountain in a different way and to see waterfalls around Jacó. Be careful with safety: helmets are compulsory and it is strictly forbidden to ride on the beach. The agencies located in Jaco will provide you with all the necessary equipment. Don't forget your swimsuit!
One way to see the mountains while doing sports and being more friendly with nature is mountain biking, one of the favorite sports of Costa Ricans. Go to the main street of Jacó to find the agency that will take you for a ride.
Discover the National Parks
Manuel Antonio National Park
Just to the north and extending into the mountains is a vast expanse of virgin rainforest. Carara National Park has a small network of trails through primary and secondary forest. There is even a loop accessible to the disabled.
Along these trails, you will be able to observe wild animals such as monkeys, leafcutter ants and many birds. In fact, Carara is considered one of the best birding sites in Costa Rica, with over 400 different species identified.
Open to the public from Monday to Sunday, with two variable hours per year: from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm during the dry season (December to April) and from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm during the rainy season (May to November).
Further south, you can visit the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, where you will be surprised by the number of monkeys and raccoons that will come to say hello. The beaches are idyllic and the fauna simply lush.
Manuel Antonio National Park is open to visitors from Wednesday to Monday from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. (closed on Tuesday)
Tickets can only be obtained through the website : https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/.
Entrance fees :
- Non-resident adult (over 12) $16 + VAT.
Where to stay in Jaco?
Jaco has plenty of hotels to suit all tastes. Here are some tips:
Tuanis Aparthotel : If you want to stay in a hotel in Jaco Beach at an affordable price and get the service you deserve, while reducing your carbon footprint, then Tuanis Aparthotel is for you! !! Tuanis is an eco-friendly establishment that uses solar panels to generate energy. It offers an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi and non-smoking rooms.
Hotel Ibiza Jaco : 3 stars hotel held by French people. You will have the impression to be in the Mediterranean Sea so much the decoration resembles that of Ibiza. The hotel also counts with a common kitchen which will allow you to simmer your dishes if you do not want to go to the restaurant.
Best Western Jaco : a classic of the famous hotel chain where you have all the comfort of a 5 star hotel.