Ten Reasons to Visit Jaco, Costa Rica
Jaco is a great small town located about an hour and fifteen minutes south of airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Jaco is known for it’s great surf (especially for beginners and intermediate surfers) and it’s even better nightlife. Stephanie, one of Room2Board’s volunteers shares her top ten reasons to visit Jaco.
The weather here is absolutely amazing, understandably so since we are closer to the equator! Even during the rainy season of September/October you will get plenty of sunshine. There’s never a ton of wind! The average temperature throughout the year is 75-85 degrees (23-30 degrees Celsius for all the centigrades out there). There is a consistent humidity but that just gives you more reason to jump in the pool or ocean! You can almost always expect to have a beautiful, sunny day here, perfect for tanning, surfing, and exploring.
Jaco is extremely lucky to have so many great locations to eat! Whether you’re wanting tacos, burgers, sushi, you name it, you can find it in Jaco.There are options for date nights, casual dinner because you didn’t want to cook, or lunch outings with friends. The delicious options seem to be endless, with all restaurants putting their own Costa Rican flair in too.
This is one of my favorite parts of Jaco. If you’re an animal lover like me, this is the right town for you. Walking down the street to the beach you’ll pass chirping geckos, friendly dogs, and little chickens. Walking up to Mirador you can find monkeys, butterflies, and sun-bathing iguanas. Buses out of town to Manuel Antonio will let you see sloths and even more monkeys in their natural habitats. You can even take a crocodile tour and see them in action in the rivers. Jaco feels like its own little zoo with all the creatures you can find.
4. Chili Guaro Shots
These are the shots of the land. Don’t leave Jaco without trying one! These fiery shots are made with tomato juice, hot sauce, lizano, guaro liquor, salt, and pepper. Similar to a mini bloody mary but so much better! You won’t find a single bar here that doesn’t offer this native shot.
Tours are leaving every single day of the year from Jaco, allowing travelers to experience every type of adventure possible. Options include ziplining, ATV trips, bird sightseeing, volcano and island explorations, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, the list goes on. No matter the age group you have, there will be something to entertain everyone. When’s the next time you can walk near a volcano with your best friends or family?
Surfing is a completely different activity in Jaco because it is the favorite past time and even job for many ticos (Costa Rican natives) in the area, as well as travelers! Just about anywhere in this town and the surrounding areas you’ll be able to find surf lessons, surfboard rentals, really cool natives who will help you with your technique, whatever you need to become a surfing pro. I’m working on it myself even. You can’t come to Jaco and not give surfing a try!
The jungles here are absolutely breathtaking. Along with the stated animals from before, the plants and scenery are amazing. Colorful flowers and leaves around every corner, vines hanging from the tree tops, massive tree trunks jutting out into the paths, mountains on mountains to climb, waterfalls, the site seeing in the greenery is endless and one of the most relaxing things to do after a long day of being in the sun.
8. Suitable for all pay scales
No matter what kind of paycheck you have at home, you’ll be able to have an enjoyable time in Jaco. A meal can range from $3 to $50. Some locations offer free daily tours while other far out tours can reach $150/person. Shopping in town can be reasonable as well as a hefty price if you’re wanting the higher end materials and gadgets. You can even find flights as cheap as $120 to San Jose if you do your searching right, then take a $7 bus ride here! Even if you have no money, you can take some friends to the beach and have a bonfire and listen to the ocean for free! Regardless of your situation, Jaco has something for everyone to do at all types of cost.
Another beautiful part of Jaco: the sunsets are absolutely insane. And it’s not a random sunset or two that are nice. It’s every single night, unless there are some thick cloud cover which rarely happens. Go down to the beach around 5:30pm and you’ll be surrounded by locals with their families playing in the ocean, tourists coming by with their cameras, and surfers trying to catch the most picturesque wave on the setting sun. It’s a daily event for the entire community, setting right over the ocean for everyone to see. Each one is different from the night before, making it hard to get bored.
10. Pura Vida
If you haven’t seen this saying while doing your research of Costa Rica in general, you’re doing it wrong. The saying “pura vida” can be translated to “simple life” or “pure life.” Either way you get the point. This term can be used in so many contexts throughout the country and is deeply used in Jaco itself. The mentality of a simple life is seen all throughout Costa Rica, whether it’s in the handmade, cozy homes tucked away into the jungle, the family owned businesses lining the beaches, or the laid back mannerisms of the locals. There is no fast-paced, competitive atmosphere here like in most first-world countries. Everyone here is content with how their life is and nobody tries to make it more than it needs to be. It’s been a humbling experience for me so far, allowing me to view life with a more relaxed mindset and appreciate each little thing that I usually take for granted. Jaco has been helping me see a new way of life through “pura vida” and I can’t wait to bring the mentality back home.
If I’ve talked you into visiting Jaco, come see my friends and I at Room2Board and we’ll make sure you have an amazing time!