The town of Jacó (pronounced Ha-kó), on the Pacific coast province of Puntarenas, is a small town that has widely developed its tourist offer along the 4 km (2.5 mi) long beach by the same name. You can actually walk from one end of Jaco to the other in 20 minutes or less. Previously (25 years ago) hardly reachable by road, today Jaco is a short 1 hour and 15 minutes drive south from the San Jose airport (SJO) on paved roads in excellent condition.
The landscape around Jaco is that of utter natural beauty: emerald green rainforest mountains and a crescent beach with cinnamon-colored volcanic sand, lined with lazy coconut palm and almond trees that sway with the ocean breeze.
Jaco has not only become a Mecca for surfers from around the world, but also a vacation destination for families, honeymooners and groups of friends looking for a balance between nature, sun drenched beaches, outdoor adventure activities and a great variety of dining , shopping and nightlife options.
Jaco has developed along the street that runs parallel to the beach, Avenida Pastor Diaz. There you will find all kinds of restaurants and shops that cater to both locals and tourists alike. The majority of banks, businesses and traffic are concentrated within the 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) of this “strip” considered to be “downtown”. Outside of this area, the town is quiet and sparse. A few restaurants and bars are located right in front of the beach, so you may enjoy beautiful sunsets while sipping your favorite drink.
During the day, if you’re not surfing or lying on the beach, you will find plenty of other fun outdoor activities within 5 to 15 minutes: canopy zip line tours, ATV mountain tours, horseback riding, sport fishing, golfing, to name a few.
The nightlife is concentrated around a handful of small casinos within hotels and another handful of bars ranging from disco to sports to lounges. Latin music is played alongside pop and rock. World sporting events are always televised in at least one bar.
Jaco is a weekend destination for Costa Rican families and is actually a small melting pot within Costa Rica: people from all over the world have made Jaco their home. This is clearly felt in the town’s atmosphere. Local people are lively, friendly and very service oriented, as well as health-conscious.
Young and young-at-heart visitors are always seen happily trotting up and down the street and beach enjoying themselves, both day and night. The town is very safe and police is always present, including an English-speaking Municipal Police.
The cinnamon color beach in Jaco has generally no more than chest-high waves, so swimming is possible; however, caution should be exerted to stay away from riptides occurring near river mouths. Jogging and walking is made easy due to the tightly packed sand. The flat rocky headlands on each end of Jacó beach make for great exploration adventures during low tide.
The break has consistent ideal surfing conditions for beginners and intermediates during high tide. Surfers from around the world heard the call and brought a subculture with them which locals have now embraced. Jacó is synonymous with surf and there are plenty of surf instructors and surf shops available.
Experts craving more challenging surf head to the point break in front of the Best Western and La Roca Loca, a rocky point with good rights that break over submerged rocks, about 1.5km (0.9 mi) south of Jaco. La Roca Loca is easily accessible by foot, just head south along the beach on the rocks. Many also head further south to Playa Hermosa, just 4 km (2.5 mi) away.
Take a panoramic view shot of all of Jacó beach and the surrounding green mountains from the Mirador (View point) on Miro’s mountain. The access is located on Route 34, across from the gas station at the south end of Jacó. The trail is that leads to the view point is a favorite spot for locals to walk, jog or mountain bike through the rainforest. If you look carefully, you may spot white-faced monkeys and a sloth living and swinging on the trees next to the trail.
Another view point is located further south along Route 34, next to the large and colorful Jacó sign adorned with cute Costa Rican animals: a toucan, a white-faced monkey, a sloth and a scarlet macaw. From there you can see the entire beach from a different perspective.
Our Jacó vacation rentals
We offer vacation rental luxury villas, beachfront houses and both luxury and affordable condos located in various parts of town in Jacó: from the very convenient downtown area to the quieter “suburbs” of Jacó. Regardless of where you are in town, everything is within easy reach, either by foot, rental bike or short taxi ride.