Jaco in Costa Rica is a pretty great vacation destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts looking to unwind from the usual and boring city tour packages.
Yearning for adventure activities such as going ape ziplining above the cloud forest and doing your best cannonball (dive) into waterfall’s pools?
Jaco is also one of the most liveliest destinations in the world, offering tons of outdoor activities. Its 2.5 miles long crescent-shaped vast coastline is located about halfway down Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
With stunning natural beauty, warm weather and friendly locals, Jaco might be the top vacation spot for you and your family on the next trip to Costa Rica.
Where Is Jaco In Costa Rica
Jaco and San Jose are regarded as the only two locations in Costa Rica that are 24-hour destinations. There is no cold season to be concerned, as this beachside town is located about 600 miles north of the equator.
The former fishing village with a small community of about 12,000 has grown into more of a city that includes some commonly seen beachfront properties. Those include hotels and a casino along with the requisite bars and restaurants.
Jaco is super popular for surfers and provides visitors with warm waters from the Pacific Ocean. Rip tides can be strong and frequent, so it’s important to swim or surf with the safety guidelines.
You can enjoy typical beach activities, including fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking. The sunsets are nothing short of stunning, and the climate is tropical.
Mid December to April is considered the high season. This period is pretty perfect for adventure activities like surfing, ziplining, and ATV tours as the weather is sunny with little to no rain at all.
The dry season, which lasts from May to December is considered the low to shoulder seasons. If you want to explore local culture and enjoy great discounts on tours and activities, this season can be the best time to visit Jaco.
things to do in jaco
Jaco vacation is pretty fun-filled for everyone. You can enjoy some time in the sun relaxing and working on your tan.
If you bring along a snorkel and mask, you can get a up-close view of the Pacific Ocean and the colorful fish and other aquatic animals in the sea.
Adventurous groups and outdoor thrill seekers can enjoy the many scenic trails and vantage points that support hiking and mountain biking.
Birdwatchers can take photos of species they normally do not encounter, and landscape photographers can get terrific shots of the Pacific Ocean and the lush green hills that surround Jaco.
You might consider an off-road adventure that takes you to hard-to-reach locations on all-terrain vehicles guided tours through the jungle visiting waterfalls and other popular local attractions.
Jaco is also a family-friendly vacation destination, home to a highly diverse array of flora, fauna, and wildlife. At nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, you can take the family on a rainforest tram ride above the cloud forest canopy.
There is a monkey mangrove safari that will give your kids an up-close look at wild monkeys in their natural habitat. Local bus tours with open sides and covered tops travel through the forest monkey habitat regularly.
Outdoor photography is a pretty popular activity that do not cost much at all. As long as you are moderately fit, you can trek or ride mountain bike along the established trails.
Top things to do in Jaco
- ATV tours
- Zip lining
- Waterfall tours
- Horseback riding
- Surf lessons
- Fishing charters
- Whale watching
1. ATV tours
Jaco ATV tours are a great way to explore the rugged hills and deep forests of the Jaco province. You’ll come across some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful natural landscapes, such as breath-taking ocean views and towering mountains.
The tours will take along scenic trails in Manuel Antonio, passing through pristine beaches, and viewpoints with panoramic views, stopping to take photos or go for a dip in the refreshing pools beneath secret waterfalls.
You’ll also experience local culture while passing through local villages and learning about the customs and traditions of the local people.
Check out Manuel Antonio ATV Tours. The ATV tour package offers a scenic ride through the rainforest, along the beach, and up to a stunning 160 foot waterfall. Perfect for family with kids riding on the 2-seater ATVs.
- Address: Manuel Antonio , Quepos, Costa Rica
- Contact: +1 888-260-5671
- Website: manuelantonio/
2. Zip lining
You can even get much closer to the rainforest with a zip line adventure, together with a professional instructor showing you and your family how to zip line properly.
Ziplining canopy tour in Jaco is a pretty adrenaline fueled adventure activity that allows you to soar above the cloud forest and enjoy breathtaking views. Typically, the tour starts with short hike to the tree platform with your guide.
You can do the Tarzan swing or Superman flight through the forest canopy on a series of zip lines, with each one offering a different adrenaline rush.
Keep an eye out for wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and toucans that inhabit the area while you glide through the lush clouded forest.
3. waterfall tours
If you love waterfalls, Jaco is a great place to see them in the local rainforest. Many local tours will take you to several popular local waterfalls that are fed by the nearly daily rainfalls that creates the misty cloud forest.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls is one of the most stunning waterfalls tours in Costa Rica. Approximately an hour and a half away from Jaco, it consist of two double decker (cascades), the upper one being around 148 feet high and the lower one around 65 feet.
This secret waterfalls tour near Jaco start with an easy hike up to the top tier and followed by a cool swim at the lower falls. You can also hop on a tractor ride to a beautiful spot for lunch.
The Bijagual Waterfalls is 30 minute drive and nearest to Jaco. This incredible waterfall has about 600 feet cascade, and is surrounded by lush jungle.
You can also do a hour hike starting from Carara National Park. The entrance fee into the private property is USD$20.
4. Horseback riding
In Jaco Beach, horseback riding is one of the top well-liked activity because it offers an unique and thrilling alternative to explore the breathtaking natural surroundings.
Whatever your riding skill, the tour offers horseback riding adventures for all levels of experience. You can ride along beautiful trail through lush tropical rainforests, and along the vast coastline as well.
The best thing is that, there are different types of tours such as sunset beach ride, waterfall ride including the duration of your choice.
5. Surf lessons
Jaco is known for its excellent surf breaks, and surfers from beginners to the elite come here for the rip tide. Spot fishing, I reckon, come in second with big game fishing like Marlin. Kayaking, stand up paddling and horse riding are also some great activities to try.
6. Fishing charters
Fishing charters for sport fishing is a perfect and exciting outdoor activity in Jaco if you want to catch big game fish like marlin, sailfish, and tuna.
There are several fishing charter companies in Jaco that offer half-day or full-day trips including boat, crew, and fishing equipment with onboard meals.
The fishing season in Jaco is all year round, but the peak season for big game fishing (billfish, Marlin and Sailfish) is from December to April. More common species like Mahi-Mahi and Snappers can be caught year round.
7. Whale watching
You might want to spend time on the ocean off Jaco with an awe-inspiring whale watching tour. The boat trip will depart towards the Pacific Ocean to spot for Humpback and a few varieties of whales.
Depending on the whereabouts of the biggest mammal in ocean, the excursion probably lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. The boat will carefully maneuvers towards the whales while maintaining a safe distance once they are sighted.
Jaco is known for its coastline and marine life, stunning shoreline, with miles of sandy beaches, peaceful rivers, and Kayaking is one of those great beach activities that allows you to explore popular spots like Herradura Bay and Tarcoles River.
Whether you want to paddle at your own pace or join a guided tour, kayaking in Jaco is an unforgettable experience for families, couples, and solo travelers as well.
You can stay up all night dancing, boozing, and enjoying local foods. Many local attractions are within walking distance from popular hotels and eateries, and taxi service is also available 24/7.
If you enjoy visiting entertainment hotspots, a casino at the north end of the beach is your best bet for trying your luck at a variety of table games and slots.
A local civic center hosts events that might interest you during the daytime or even at night if a concert or similar event is scheduled.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun in Jaco, and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money on your stay.
A local hostel helps to save on lodging costs, and you can hike or rent a bicycle to get around during your stay to save some cash.
Because Jaco is a popular tourist destination, travel costs can be a little higher than in other cities in Costa Rica. Nevertheless, everything is located fairly close and is easily accessible.
Hotel Buddha House offers private rooms with shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen. It’s located just a few steps away from the beach and offers a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.
Hotel Mar de Luz is a bit up-market with spacious rooms and private bathrooms, a swimming pool, and you get free breakfast as well. It’s located in a quiet area of Jaco and is just a short walk from the beach.
You can find local eateries that offer fantastic local foods at very affordable prices to keep you well-fed during your stay. You can also opt for higher-end restaurants, and those located in hotels or at the local casino.
Tacobar Jaco is a prominent restaurant serving tasty tacos and other local food. They have a wide variety of tequilas and drinks to choose from, and their prices are pretty affordable.
- Address: Jaco Walk Shopping Center, Provincia de Puntarenas, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
- Contact: +506 2643 0222
- Facebook: tacobar/
Graffiti Restro Cafe & Wine Bar provides sumptuous Latin American and Mediterranean food. They also have a huge wine selection and lovely Alfresco sitting areas facing the beach.
- Address: Jaco Walk Open Air Shopping Center, Avenida Pastor Diaz, Provincia de Puntarenas, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
- Contact: +506 2643 1708
- Website: graffitirestro/