Located just 1 and a half hours away from San Jose international airport closest to Jaco Costa Rica, 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.
Last updated: 14.02.2022
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 or to Jaco Costa Rica beaches:
- 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.
You can also consider visiting this area even if you stay in a nearby location as there might be direct buses to this beautiful beach town.
Let’s take for example Quepos. You have a direct bus from Quepos to Jaco and the journey lasts only for about one hour.
There are also buses that connect the capital city San Jose to this area and the buses San Jose Jaco generally depart every 4 hours and the journey takes about 2 hours.
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 to 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.
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National Parks near Jaco
The location of this beach town makes it the perfect destination not just for a weekend but also for a longer vacation package.
The area is surrounded by lush forests, beautiful mountains, incredible beaches and is quite close located to one of the most popular national parks from Costa Rica.
This spectacular and world-famous national park is located about 90 minutes drive from Jaco, but worth the trip and every minute spend on the road.
The park is without any doubt the most famous park from Costa Rica and is home to a wide range of animals and plants, some of them unique in the world.
After a short walk across the paved alleys of the park you get to one of the most beautiful beaches from the area, so don’t forget to take your swimsuit with you.
Carara is another beautiful protected area from Costa Rica that is located about 30 minutes north of Jaco.
The park hosts a long list of animals and plants and this is the right place to go if you want to spot jaguars, monkeys, and even crocodiles, not to mention the beautiful Scarlet Macaws one of my favorite birds from Costa Rica.
Jaco, Costa Rica has actually been the focal point of the Central Pacific Coastline for a couple of years; it is a Costa Rica tourist hotspot.
Jaco Coastline is located just 1.5 hrs from San Jose on the Pacific Coast. It is conveniently accessible by car rental, shuttle bus, or private transfer!
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 this Jaco Costa Rica beach 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 there 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 kilometers ( 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 White Beach as it is translated into English 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 this Jaco Costa Rica beach as it is not clearly marked but if you follow my instructions you will definitely reach it very quickly and enjoy one of the best Costa Rica best places to explore.
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.
There is one more thing I want to tell you about Playa Blanca: 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.
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On the southern part of Jaco beach, just 8 kilometers (5 miles) away lies another world-class surf beach, Playa Hermosa.
The beach is 7 kilometers (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.
One of the most beautiful Jaco Costa Rica beaches is located 15 kilometers ( 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 Jaco beach in Costa Rica 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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What to do in Jaco beach Costa Rica
To be honest with you the 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 these best activities in Jaco Costa Rica:
- 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
- book your seat at Catamaran tours Jaco beach Costa Rica that offers a completely new perspective of the area
- A tour across Tarcoles River where you can find some huge crocodiles
- Aerial tram ride that offers an interesting tour through the forest
- Jacó 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 in the country perfect for hiking and observing wildlife.
- A night out in Jacó as it is one of the largest party beach towns from Costa Rica and home to the best party in Costa Rica
- snorkeling on the places famous for the best snorkeling near Jaco which are accessible by a kayak tour
- explore the Butterfly Garden Jaco Costa Rica one of the very few places on Earth where visitors can admire butterflies in their natural environment, learn new things about these gentle creatures and observe their behaviour
Where to stay in Jaco beach Costa Rica
The Jaco Costa Rica beaches area is full of hotels and resorts so picking the best hotels in Jaco Costa Rica might be quite challenging and time-consuming.
I drop below the list with my favorite hotels from the area as they have amazing services and a great price-quality ratio:
Hotel Docelunas Costa Rica
Jaco Hotel Docelunas Costa Rica is 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
Nestled in the middle of the rainforest surrounded by tropical trees and exotic plants, the resort offers a beautiful pool with exotic air, spacious and clean rooms, and very delicious food.
The property is about 20-minute walk from the beach and is a great spot for those passionate about wildlife and animals.
You can eat at the open-air restaurant which serves a wide range of dishes inspired by local cuisine and cooked from local and fresh products.
What guests say
David R from Atlanta, US
The staff is very friendly and welcoming. Every staff member I came into contact with exceeded expectations in handling our requests. The place is situated in the jungle and the wildlife is abundant. We saw monkeys, toucans, and birds. The property has a number of great features including native trees and beautiful flowering plants.
It’s easy to relax away from the main drag of Jaco but close enough for quick trips to the beach and shops
Best Western Jaco Beach
Best Western Jaco Beach Costa Rica is an all-inclusive hotel Jaco Costa Rica, a resort with outdoor pools, volleyball and tennis courts, and good services.
The resort is suitable for family vacations, romantic getaways, or a group holiday and is located right on the beach, being able to see the ocean from your room.
There are 125 rooms on the property, all clean with light wood furnishing and tile floors.
On-site there is a restaurant serving buffet-style meals and two bars with a long list of drinks where you can choose your favorite cocktail.
What guests say
Megankzalewski from New York, US
The hotel was extremely clean and safe. It was located within walking distance to the town of Jaco. The staff was very nice and accommodating. I would recommend this resort to all my family and friends. My husband and I will be back
Hotel Club Del Mar Costa Rica
Hotel Club Del Mar Oceanfront Jaco Costa Rica located in the southern part of Jacó Beach right between the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean, within a short walk from Mirador de Jaco.
Hotel Club Del Mare Jaco beach Costa Rica offers great personalized services that transform a holiday into a memorable stay.
All the rooms come with a TV, AC, and a kitchenette, and they are clean and spacious.
You have free parking, room service, and baggage storage if needed just let them know you need these amenities.
You can relax at the pool or right on the beach, take a boat trip to the surrounding area or perfect your surfing skills.
What guests say
Nikki B from US
My husband and I have been visiting Hotel Club Del Mar for almost a decade on our way to and from the southern parts of Costa Rica. We have always enjoyed the friendly staff, excellent view, comfortable accommodations, and the beautiful beach.
We were really excited about the upgrades that were made: keyless entry for the condos, renovated pool area with awesome tiki huts with power, lights, and call buttons for service. The pathways and grounds to the condos are still expertly manicured but the paths have been widened a bit which is helpful when rolling luggage along. The menu has been upgraded, and everything we tried was the best ever! Kudos to the new chef for the truly amazing food. The pool towels are extra large and fluffy- and no more pool towel tags. So many little details that were added really make a difference in the luxury experience that Club Del Mar offers.
The best bars in Jaco Costa Rica
This area is famous for its active nightlife, stunning beaches and incredible restaurants and bars.
People of all ages come here to have fun and party till morning in one of the many bars that are open in the city and along the beach.
The most popular bars and clubs Jaco Costa Rica has are Monkey Bar, Le Loft, Man Cave, Beatle Bar Costa Rica, Orange Pub and Los Amigos.
If you want to find out more about each of these pubs and bars please check our dedicated article about local nightlife at Jaco Costa Rica nightlife: where to party hard till morning.
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 traveling long distances across Costa Rica.
Jaco beaches Costa Rica are have developed a lot in the last few 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.
Does Jaco have nice beaches?
Jacó is quite famous for its amazing beaches, best sunset Costa Rica can display, and location as San Jose International Airport is considered the airport near Jaco Costa Rica.
It is an area popular for its waves perfect for surfing, pristine beaches ideal for perfecting your tan, and vibrant nightlife.
Can you swim at Jaco Beach Costa Rica?
Yes, you can swim at Jacó beach but the place is not that famous for this activity. The beach is quite crowded with people perfecting their tan, watching, or simply visiting the area.
The good news is that there are plenty of other more remote beaches in the area which are perfect for swimming and bathing.
Is Jaco Beach nice in Costa Rica?
Without any doubt, Jacó is a very beautiful place that should be on your travel list once you get to Costa Rica.
It is located just one hour and a half from San Jose International Airport and this makes it one of Costa Rica’s hot spots.
The place is extremely popular among tourists but also locals that wanted to escape from San Jose and relax for a few days on the beach.
How far is Jaco from the beach?
Jaco lies on the seashore so within a few minutes you can feel the sand under your feet and listen to the sound of waves.
The city of Jacó lies between the mountains right near the beautiful beaches of Herradura Bay and Playa Hermosa Guanacaste in the southern part.
Where is Jaco beach in Costa Rica map?
Jacó Beach is located in the province of Puntarenas in the district of the Garabito canton in the Pacific area, about a one and a half hour drive west from San Jose International Airport.
How are the beaches in Jacó Costa Rica?
The picturesque beaches from the area attract an impressive number of visitors all year round, especially during the dry season.
The beaches are covered with sand and surrounded by turquoise waters and lush forest.
The beaches from this area are perfect for swimming, surfing, and perfecting your tan and are located just 1.5 hours away from San Jose.
Are there white sand beaches in Costa Rica?
The beaches located in the area of South and Central Pacific coast are mostly made from black sand, while the beaches from the Caribbean and North Pacific area are famous for its white sand beaches.
Still, Playa Blanca Costa Rica as the name suggested is an exception as it is covered with white sand although it is located in the Central Pacific area.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.