Jacó: 117km (73 miles) W of San José; 75km (47 miles) S of Puntarenas

Playa de Jacó is a long stretch of beach backed by a dense hodgepodge of hotels in all price categories, souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, pizza joints, and rowdy bars. The main strip, running parallel to the shoreline, is an overcrowded and congested collection of restaurants, shops, and small strip malls, where pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, cars, and ATVs vie for right of way both day and night.


The number-one attraction is the surf, and this is definitely a surfer-dominated beach town. Surfers love the consistent beach break; however, the beach itself is not particularly appealing. It consists of dark-gray sand with lots of little rocks, and it’s often pretty rough for swimming. Still, given its proximity to San José, Jacó is almost always packed with a mix of foreign and Tico vacationers. Beyond the surf, Jacó is also known for its nightlife. The raging bars here offer everything from live music venues to chill lounge environments to beachfront sports bars with pool and foosball tables.