Located just 1 and a half hours away from San Jose international airport, beaches in Jaco Costa Rica are among the most popular beaches in the country.
They are very popular destinations for tourists because of their amazing scenery, great location, proximity to San Jose and a large number of activities from the area.
The area around the most beautiful Jaco beaches Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities, besides the exotic jungle packed with wildlife and unique plants.
Besides being a great place for perfecting your tan on the central pacific coast, the place is also famous among surfers from all over the world for its amazing waves and vibrant nightlife.
So, no matter if you are looking for a relaxing holiday on the beach or you want to live the adventure of your life, Costa Rica is the right choice.
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The best time to experience Jaco is during the dry season, from December to April, when you have many hours of sun and the weather is great for the beach.
I would recommend this place for those of you who visit Costa Rica for the first time and are searching for a great beach destination but don’t have time to travel for 3 or 4 hours across the country to find the perfect spot.
How to get to beaches in Jaco Costa Rica
There are 3 ways to get to Playa Jaco:
- By bus
- By car
- By shuttle
If you choose to travel by bus then you should know that the bus ride lasts for about 2 hours and costs about 5 USD.
If you prefer to travel on your own, then the best thing to do is to rent a car from the airport and plan your own trip.
The car gives you the mobility and freedom needed when exploring a foreign country and in Costa Rica, there are plenty of interesting things to see so yes, renting a car is a smart decision.
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The road to Playa Jaco is quite straightforward, so all you have to do is to pick up your car and search for Route 27.
Follow this route until you reach the sign with Jaco Route 34 and in about one and a half hours you reach your final destination.
As you drive on a highway you have to pay taxes so you’d better take in your pocket some local currency, Costa Rica Colones.
The road taxes from San Jose to Jaco beaches Costa Rica are around 2 USD and are paid at the entrance of the highway.
And there is the shuttle option and here you can choose from a private shuttle of a shared one.
The private shuttle costs around 200 USD and can be transported a maximum of 6 passengers, while the shared shuttle is just 50 USD per person.
Once you arrive at your destination is time to start exploring the area and get in touch with the local culture and beautiful beaches.
Jaco Beaches in Costa Rica
The most famous and the largest beach from Jaco is Jaco beach, a 3 kilometres ( 2 miles) dark sand beach bordered by deep waters and green forests.
This Costa Rican beach is very popular among surfers because it has one of the best waves in the area.
Even though it is a very popular beach, full of tourists and locals, the place is quite wild and untamed with rich fauna and flora living in the jungle, just a few meters from the beach.
So don’t be surprised if you will see on the clear sky above the sea Scarlet Macaws flying around, as the place is wild and parrots, monkeys and many beautiful creatures live nearby the sea.
The southern part of the beach is most popular among surf beginners and you can find their many shops with surf equipment.
The northern part of the beach is generally more crowded as in this part of the beach are located some of the hotels from the area and here is the place where locals come to the beach.
Because of the high waves and strong currents, this beach is considered best for surfing not for swimming, but I will present to you some great swimming places below.
One of the best family beaches in Jaco Costa Rica is Playa Herradura located just 8 kilometres ( 5 miles) north of the town of Jaco right near Los Suenos resort.
It is a pretty rocky beach but the waters are calm, being the perfect playground for your kids no matter how old they are.
For a small fee, you can park the car at the entrance of one of the most interesting Jaco beaches Costa Rica and enjoy a wonderful day on the beach with your beloved ones.
Playa Blanca is located on the northern side of Playa Herradura and a great place to spend a day on the beach as it is less touristy and noisy.
It might be a little complicated to find it as it is not clearly marked but if you follow my instructions you will definitely reach it very quickly.
You have to go north on Costanera highway and just before Punta Leona hotel turn left and follow the road until you reach a parking area.
From there walk for a few minutes and you will reach Playa Mantas and if you keep walking south you will get to Playa Blanca.
Between these two beaches, Playa Blanca is more beautiful as it has white sands, crystal clear waters and many palm trees for shade.
It is a very popular spot among locals so try to avoid it during weekends and legal holidays as it might get crowded.
The beach does not have any facilities, nor bars and restaurants so bring with you everything you need for a day on the beach.
On the southern part of Jaco beach, just 8 kilometres (5 miles) away lies another world-class surf beach, Playa Hermosa.
The beach is 7 kilometres (4 miles) long and is covered with grey sand with basic facilities around like a restaurant, some small shops with surf items and a few hotels right at the northern end.
Playa Esterillos Oeste
Last, but not least from my list of Jaco beaches in Costa Rica is Playa Esterillos Oeste which is a very isolated beach perfect for a quiet and relaxing day at the beach.
The beach is located 15 kilometres ( 9 miles) away from the Playa Hermosa and is a great place to practice surfing as the waves and the currents are just perfect for this sport.
The beach is remote and wild, with no facilities around, just a small market from where you can buy some water to cool off.
Within a few minutes walk from the beach you will find a few restaurants where to eat and drink something after a relaxing day in the sun.
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Things to do around the Jaco area
But the Jaco area is more than these beautiful beaches in Jaco Costa Rica presented above.
You definitely have to spend at least 3 or 4 days in the area and besides visiting these beautiful and secluded beaches you should book some time to explore the surrounding.
Include in your itinerary:
- a day trip to Carara National Park that has a very beautiful network of trails to follow and explore the forest and observe the wildlife
- A day trip to visit Jaco town
- horseback riding on the beach
- A tour across Tarcoles River where you can find some huge crocodiles
- Aerial tram ride that offers an interesting tour through the forest
- Jaco waterfall tour as in the area are more than 30 waterfalls to visit
- A day trip to Manuel Antonio National Park, the most famous park from the country perfect for hiking and observing wildlife.
- A night out in Jaco as it is one of the largest party beach towns from Costa Rica
The area is full of hotels and resorts so picking the best one might be quite challenging and time-consuming.
I drop below the list with my 5 favourite hotels from the area as they have amazing services and a great price-quality ratio:
- Jaco Hotel DoceLunas, a 4 stars resort ranked as one of the most romantic resorts in the area with beautiful rooms located in the middle of the jungle
- Best Western Jaco Beach an all-inclusive Costa Rican resort with outdoor pools, volleyball and tennis courts
- Hotel Club del Mar Oceanfront located in the southern part of Jaco Beach right between the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean.
These beaches in Jaco Costa Rica are the ideal places to go if you visit this country for the first time and don’t feel comfortable travelling long distances across Costa Rica.
Jaco beaches Costa Rica are has developed a lot in the last years and now is a great place to spend a beach holiday in Costa Rica. The area has a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops where you can eat and buy souvenirs before you leave.