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A Traveler’s Guide on the Top Things to See in Jaco, Costa Rica

Jaco is a beautiful beach town in Costa Rica that is located really close to San Jose City, in the Central Pacific region. This area is well known for its luxury hotels and wide selection of tours. There are also tons of things to Do in Jaco and many interesting things to see in the area, some of the best ones are:

Things to see in Jaco that you Can’t-Miss

  • Live crocodiles and the scarlet macaws in Carara National Park.
  • Miles of beautiful coastline Tortuga Island and all of its marine life.

a beach at jaco in costa rica


Jaco Beach

3 Kilometers of sandy beach, this popular spot is great for both novice and connoisseur surfers. Its year-round beach breaks and accessibility to other nearby surf spots make it a great home base. With some serious riptides, lifeguards man the towers during high season, even so, take caution when swimming.

Playa Hermosa

The beautiful beach is the exact definition of Playa Hermosa, and it holds true. With wide grey sanded beaches and white surf, Playa Hermosa is not only known for its tranquility but also for being the biggest beach break (after Dominical) on the country’s Pacific Coast. The ten-kilometer beach is part of Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge. Experienced surfers from all around the globe gravitate to this place, still preserved from overdevelopment, to experience the incredible surf and see international surf contests. Beware, the riptide is strong and makes it hard to swim. This isn’t a place for little kids to play in the surf, even big kids need to be extra careful.
Location: 5 Kms south of Jaco

Playa Herradura

Playa Herradura is home to the only Marina (Los Suenos Marina) in Costa Rica (others are in development). Herradura means horse-shoe and that’s exactly what is so special about this beach. Due to its shape the waters are calm and swimming friendly. The beach is dotted with excellent seafood restaurants and you can get a full-service sportfishing charter boat for big game fish: billfish, marlin, mahi-mahi and tuna. Contact us for tour info.
Also book snorkeling and dive trips that leave from here to nearby reefs and islands.
Location: 10 minutes north of Jaco.

Playas Esterillos

Not even half an hour north of Jaco you’ll find Playas Esterillos. These three peaceful, palm-fringed beaches: Esterillos Este, Centro, and Oeste, have long stretches of coastline and pretty good waves for long rides. The strongest beach breaks of the 3 are: Esterillos Centro and Este. They can ALMOST compare to Playa Hermosa. Swimmers can have their fun too, the northern end of Esterillos Oeste, is a calm tidal pool offering shelter from the area’s dangerous riptides.
Location: 20 kms north of Jaco

Playa Bejuco

Going southbound towards Quepos is Playa Bejuco. Here you will find raw, untouched coastal beauty. Wanna walk for miles and not see another soul, come to Bejuco. Another surf spot with the swimmers remaining at bay due to super-strong riptides.
Location: 30 kms south of Jaco

Day Trips From Jaco

Tortuga Island

Tortuga Island is between Jaco and Nicoya Peninsula with beautiful white sanded beaches and crystal clear waters. You can spot dolphins, turtles, and whales on your way over there.


Carara National Park

With the increasing development in this region, Carara National Park has become a critical sanctuary for wildlife. A mix of wet rainforest of the southern Pacific and the dry tropical forest of the northwest is home to over 2000 crocodiles, 450 scarlet macaws and much much more.

A Traveler's Guide on the Top Things to Do in Jaco, Costa Rica

Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge

Ten minutes south of Jaco is Playa Hermosa which is part of this wildlife refuge. July and December months are worth a trip to see the female Olive Ridleys (locally known as Tortuga Lora) come ashore to lay their eggs.

Everybody Loves Butterflies

Have you seen a morpho butterfly flutter through the air? At the local butterfly farm and serpentarium you can see that and a lot more. (wishlist)

Rivers & Waterfalls:

The Tarcoles River

Do not miss this attraction! Rarely are you able to see firsthand one of the world’s largest populations of American crocodiles (over 2000!). This croc can grow as large as 12 feet from nose to tail. Make a pit stop at Tarcoles Bridge and check this creature out in the flesh when traveling from San Jose or Puntarenas. Another great way to see them is on boat tours of the river, which is also known for its rich avifauna, with over 120 birds living in its mangrove estuaries.

Bijagual Waterfall

One of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica (600 feet) is right here! Only 35 minutes north of Jaco.

Waterfall del Zorro

Not far from Jaco is a 35 ft.Waterfall de la Gloria In the hillside of Playa Hermosa.

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A Traveler's Guide on the Top Things to Do in Jaco, Costa Rica

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