Beach at Jaco
Photo by: wytze, Creative Commons

Tourists who have become weary of the generally laid-back vibe of many of Costa Rica’s beaches should find Jaco more to their liking. While Jaco is as relaxed and casual as any other place in Costa Rica, the town boasts of a large number of dive bars, casinos, discos and nightclubs that ensure it has a boisterous nightlife and have helped it to earn a reputation as the country’s rowdiest party beach.

Still, it’s all about the surfing for the majority of foreign tourists who flock to Jaco. Jaco Beach boasts of some big waves and excellent breaks. Jaco is also adjacent to two other popular surfing mecca – Playa Hermosa, where an international surfing contest is held every year, and Playa Herradura, a refuge for those seeking to get away from Jaco’s busyness.

Of course, there are things to do in Jaco other than surf. Non-surfers can go kayaking or try their hand at off-shore sport fishing. While Jaco Beach itself is generally too dangerous for swimmers, beaches north and south of the town are safer and more scenic. Landlocked nature lovers can take hikes through the jungles that border the town, enjoy horseback rides on the beach or visit the nearby Carara Biological Reserve, which is a significant nesting ground for the scarlet macaw. And there is plenty of good food to be had from the many restaurants in town.

The best time to visit Jaco is from January to April, when the weather is at its driest, while tourists should avoid coming in September and October, which is the area’s rainy season.

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