Famed for its grey-sand beaches and lively nightlife, Jaco is a popular tourist town on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It’s on the doorstep of legendary surf beaches, towering waterfalls and wildlife-filled parks that provide habitat for endangered scarlet macaws.
Things to do in Jacó
Stretching along the length of town is Jaco Beach, which is dotted with surf schools where you can rent boards or book in for a lesson. For the best waves, head south-east to Hermosa Beach, which hosts an annual professional surfing competition. To experience the Bay of Jaco from above, take to the skies for an unforgettable tandem paragliding adventure.
Hidden just inland from Jaco is Bijagual Waterfall, a 180-metre-high cascade that can be reached along a steep, mossy trail. Alternatively, you can explore the surrounding rainforest on a guided horseback riding excursion, accompanied by glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for native birdlife and poison dart frogs. Also near Jaco is the Catarata El Salto Gamalotillo, which features a picturesque waterfall and swimming hole.
Jaco is an ideal base for exploring Carara National Park, which is a renowned birdwatching destination due to the presence of endangered scarlet macaws. Join a guided trek to spot two and three-toed sloths or spot wild crocodiles from the bridge spanning the Tarcoles River. Several hiking trails wind through the park’s tropical forest, including the Laguna Meandrica and Araceas Nature trails.
Getting around Jacó
Jaco is just under two hours’ drive from San Jose and 1.5 hours from Juan Santamaría International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and the Americas. Regular buses connect from San Jose to Jaco while the town is compact enough to explore on foot. Taxis are also readily available for getting around.