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Caribbean Beaches Guide – Playa Jacó, Costa Rica

By Angela Braun, GoGirlfriend correspondent

Beach 411 ~ Playa Jaco Beach

Central Pacific Coast

  • Beach type: Local gem
  • Beach geography: Coarse, volcanic and gravel-like with dark to near black sands. Rip tides can make swimming dangerous and it’s recommended that you wear water shoes since the rocks can be rough on your feet. Sadly, many visitors report finding trash on this beach.
  • Ease of access: It’s a short 2-hour drive to reach this beach from San Jose, making it the closest beach to Costa Rica’s Capital City.
  • Extra costs: No extra costs
  • Beach amenities: Chair and umbrella rentals are occasionally available in front of Carlita’s at the northern end of the beach. Be aware that there are no other beach amenities at this location, however, shops, restaurants and bars are only a short distance from the beach.
  • Special note: Surf by day, party by night
  • Geo-locator: Where is Playa Jaco Beach?

Playa Jaco BeachSurfboards & light pilsners

Come to Playa Jacó for the surf, local flavors and most prominently – the nightlife. When compared to other beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Jacó is not the go-to beach for sunning and swimming or for those looking to see Costa Rica’s most awe-inspiring sights. Simply put, Playa Jacó is a surfer’s beach by day and a party spot by night. Beginners come to seek the wisdom of life-long surfers and night owls come to seek dance floors, star-gazing terraces and live music once the sun disappears into the sea. Since Playa Jacó is the closest beach to San Jose, dining opportunities are also plentiful. With more than 90 restaurants and a long list of bars and clubs, you’ll be able to get a true taste and feel for this little slice of what some call paradise.

Playa Jacó activities

Totoga Surf CampSlip on those water shoes, splash and swim in the water or take an unhurried walk along the shoreline. Reap the benefits of Playa Jacó’s gentle sea and learn the art of surfing at this beginner’s location; visit Tortuga Surf Camp or Dominical Surf Lessons. Eat like royalty at Graffiti Restro Café & Wine Bar, grab a taco at the TacoBar or let the taste of the sea melt in your mouth at I Love Sushi.

Playa Jacó attractions

The vast number of people who get married at Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls is proof of its rare beauty. Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls is where you’ll find the best vantage points for bird watching and four of the islands most remarkable waterfalls – one of which you can actually climb.

relaxing Costa Rica beach-sideDiscovery Horseback Tours have been awarded the "Certificate of Excellence" from Trip Advisor for 4 years running. Share a trail with your guide and lots of wildlife; ride to the secret spring fed waterfall or gallop along a deserted beach. But let’s be honest, no matter what direction you choose to travel, your horse is sure to be rider-friendly, your tour is sure to be personal and your experience is sure to be treasured.

Playa Jacó events

  • Festival de Arte (February): Featuring local artists of all kinds, you’ll be inspired by crafts, movies, theater, circus arts and other visual media when you participate in this beach festival.
  • Reto Jacó Extremo (April): Be thrilled by this spectacle as runners take off from the center of Jacó, race over an entire 10km of beach and finish on the main road to downtown.

Playa Jacó nightlife

Los Amigos BarDue to a recent boom in development, Jacó has managed to make its way to the top of the list for Costa Rican Nightlife. The newest club addition, Le Loft, caters to the high-end with luxurious furnishings and impressive DJs; be prepared to wait in line if you aren’t going VIP. Other nightlife can be found at Monkey Bar, Vibe and Disco La Central. Are you seeking a more casual bar experience? If so, we recommend evenings at Tabacon or Los Amigos.

GoGirlfriend Playa Jacó hotel recommendations

Hotel Perico, Costa RicaHotel Perico Azul: Hotel Perico Azul, a 2-minute walk from the beach, offers private rooms and dormitories and features an outdoor barbeque area and swimming pool. The pool area also has loungers, chairs and sunshades for your leisure. The rooms at Perico Azul hotel are decorated simply, have private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have air-conditioning and a cable TV – but all have at least a ceiiling fan. Surfing lessons and watersport equipment rentals are also offered here. Visit Hotel Perico Azul and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Hotel PumilioHotel Pumilio: Terraces, gardens, barbecue facilities, free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a hot tub as well as a spa, coupled with great service and luxuries accommodations, are what make this hotel perfect for families, solo travelers and couples. Each room has modern décor and features cable TVs, equipped kitchens, coffee makers and private bathrooms with showers and free toiletries. You’ll enjoy a complete breakfast at your leisure, a balcony or a terrace to admire the view and free transportation to either Jacó or Herradura beach once a day at your request. Visit Hotel Pumilio on Facebook and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Hotel Club Del Mar: Offering a variety of luxury accommodations ranging from deluxe hotel rooms, fully equipped one and two bedroom villas, to a Penthouse Suite. Nestled in a quiet cove at the south end of the beach, find yourself amidst tranquility and peace. Visit Hotel Club Del Mar on Facebook and Twitter and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Hotel Mar de Luz: Surrounded by gardens and located 200 meters from the beach, this hotel takes pride in providing cozy, comfortable accommodations at an affordable price. The service is friendly and the staff will be delighted to help you organize interest specific activities. Hotel Mar de Luz provides free Wi-Fi, on-site private parking and free daily a la carte breakfast. Rooms are cleaned daily and come equipped with a cable TV, a safety-deposit box, air conditioning, a private bathroom with hot water and a kitchenette. Visit Hotel Mar de Luz on Facebook and Twitter and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

For more hotel recommendations throughout Jacó we recommend visiting Booking.com.

Playa Jacó weather

Costa Rica weatherTemperatures remain stable throughout the year with average daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and nighttime lows dropping to the upper 70s. During dry season, which extends from November to April, you can expect splendid blue skies and non-stop sunshine. If you visit between May and October you can expect daily showers.

For more information or help planning your next Costa Rica getaway, visit:

Read our other Costa Rica beach guides:

Ever been to Playa Jacó in Costa Rica? We'd love hear what you love about it! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let's continue the conversation!

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