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Things to do in Jaco

Things to do in  Jaco

Welcome to Jaco

On Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the small town of Jaco draws visitors with its opportunities for rainforest adventure, relaxed social climate, and surfing, all just a 1.5-hour drive from the capital, San Jose. On dry land, travelers can take adventure tours in the jungle via horseback; get muddy on an adrenaline-filled ATV tour; fly through the air by zipline or tram; or get wet with waterfall tours, whitewater rafting, crocodile river cruises, and mangrove kayaking. In the Manuel Antonio National Park, tours offer views of native wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and agoutis in their natural environment, along with 180 species of birds and stretches of white sand beach. The Arenal Volcano brings the heat with visible plumes of smoke and rivers of molten lava and, after viewing, tours often stop for a soak in nearby geothermal hot springs. Cool off with surf lessons on Jaco beach, where the waves are surfable year-round and the long beach offers a variety of waves for different levels, from rookie to expert. Cruises from the Gulf of Nicoya take passengers to the white sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters where snorkeling and sunbathing opportunities abound on nearby Tortuga Island, while other boats offer full-day fishing trips for marlin, mahi mahi, and even tuna.

Top 4 attractions in Jaco

Jaco Beach

Jaco is a lively beach town known for its water sports and party atmosphere. Located on some of Costa Rica’s most developed coastline, within two hours of the capital, it’s a favorite escape for San José residents, as well as backpackers, snowbirds, and North American retirees.More

Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

A postcard-perfect paradise of white-sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, and sapphire-blue water rife with marine life, Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga) is an ideal spot to swim, snorkel, or bask in the sunshine. The island is only accessible from Costa Rica’s main cities via a scenic boat ride across the Gulf of Nicoya—an extra perk for your vacation.More

Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara)

Located north of Jaco along the Pacific coast, Carara National Park is at the confluence of two important ecosystems—the steamy jungle of the southern coast and the dry tropical forest of Guanacaste. Walk along easy trails to spot outstanding wildlife including 400 bird species, sloths, capuchin monkeys, anteaters, parrots, and most notably, huge populations of scarlet macaws and crocodiles.More
Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls

Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls boast nature trails, streams, and views of the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica. After exploring orchid gardens and watching toucans flying overhead, you can enjoy an al fresco meal on the patio.More

Trip ideas

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Jaco

We had a wonderful time!...
Amy_Z, Dec. 2022
10 Hidden Waterfalls With Local Cuisine
The waterfall and the entire hike was absolutely amazing and our tour guide did a fantastic job explaining everything.
Most amazing sunset I've ever seen!!!
Candace_D, Nov. 2022
Full Day Tour to Tortuga Island from Jaco
Snorkeling was fun but the water a little too murky to see anything.
Great rainy day adventure!
Tammy_L, Oct. 2022
ATV adventure 2hrs and Waterfall in Jacó
Going across the creeks and hiking across the water and up to the waterfall was amazing!
Friendly and Accommodating
Caroline_M, Aug. 2022
Transfer FROM Jaco Beach TO SJO Airport OR RETURN (One Way) Up to 5 passengers
They even let us stop at a bridge to see crocodiles!
Great ATV ride in the mountains near Jaco
jschnitzer, Dec. 2022
3-Hour ATV Jungle Waterfall Adventure
The waterfalls were lovely, but for me the experience of my first ATV ride in Costa Rica made it special.
Amazing Fun Day
Madelyn_P, Dec. 2022
10 Hidden Waterfalls With Local Cuisine
If you’re looking for a fun hike to beautiful waterfalls book with Pablo!
Book this Shuttle!
Erin_A, Sep. 2022
SJO to Jaco private transportation or vice versa
The drivers were professional, friendly and English-speaking.
Great Staff, awesome Park!
Fawwaz_I, Jul. 2022
Zip Line + 3hr ATV & Waterfalls Combo Tour
The waterfall was refreshing and such a good time
My friends and I were...
Matthew_L, Jul. 2022
The King's Full-Day ATV Adventure - Rainforest Waterfalls, Villages, Rivers
We rode the ATVs all over, down to a waterfall, onto a part of the beach that was secluded.
Great driver friendly and on time
Dominique_D, Jun. 2022
Transfer FROM Jaco Beach TO SJO Airport OR RETURN (One Way) Up to 5 passengers
We even stopped to see a popular spot for crocodiles on the way to Jaco.
Fun and adventurous
C_B, Mar. 2022
3-Hour ATV Jungle Waterfall Adventure
Jaco Falls was pretty cool.
Kevin_S, Sep. 2021
ATV Tour in Jaco
The ATV tour is one of the best activities to do in Jaco.
Phenomenal experience
Robert_N, Apr. 2021
Amazing Mega Zipline (25 lines) over 11 Waterfalls
Amazing waterfalls and the best zip line that myself and everyone has ever been on!
The waterfall tour was amazing- we...
Kathryn B, Aug. 2017
Hiking and Waterfall Tour in Jaco
The waterfall tour was amazing- we had so much fun!
Long day, great tour
Matt_G, Apr. 2022
Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall, Hot Springs Combo Tour with Lunch & Dinner
The waterfall was amazing.
So glad we did this excursion!
Ann_G, Apr. 2022
4x4 Jungle Safari to Waterfall & Delicious Rainforest Lunch
The views were stunning and the highlight was swimming under the falls in the cool pool.
First Class and a terrific value.
Charles_Y, Feb. 2022
Savegre River Rafting Class II-III from Jaco
Our rafting was interrupted for a short period where we ventured off to take in an impressive water fall then we finished up with fresh fruit and liquids.
Fun times, great guides and a MUST do!
Patricia_P, Sep. 2021
Zip Line + 3hr ATV & Waterfalls Combo Tour
The best experience was the ATV ride and waterfalls with Israel!.
If you do one thing in Jaco, do this...
Shayda M, Jul. 2018
Full Day Fun Pass Jaco Jungle Adventure Five in One with Lunch (7 Hours)
Our tour guide was amazing and so knowledgeable about the local plants and each of the activities.
I was very pleased with this 1/2 day...
Matt K, Jan. 2018
4-Hour ATV Waterfall & Delicious Rainforest Lunch
After stopping by a few waterfalls and other beautiful scenic spots for some pictures we stopped for a break and had a delicious lunch at a Tilapia farm.
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All about Jaco

When to visit

Jaco is at its most pleasant, weather-wise, in Costa Rica’s dry season, which runs from December until April or May. This time of year is hot and dry, and it definitely draws in crowds of domestic and international visitors, with the largest crowds around Christmastime and during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). If you don’t mind a little rain, the wetter months (May through November) are much less crowded.

Getting around

Jaco is small and easy to navigate on foot, as most of the shops, restaurants, and hotels are on the main drag—Pastor Diaz Avenue. If you want to explore area beaches, you can easily hire a taxi or grab a local bus. If you’re flying into San Jose and making your way to Jaco, your best bet is to prebook a private or shared transfer service.

Traveler tips

If you want to get away from the scene at Jaco, head out to El Miro ruins, on the southern edge of town, just past Hotel Club del Mar. Here you’ll find the ruins of the foundation of an old mansion, with grand staircases and elegant columns that have been decorated with colorful art by local graffiti artists. Climb to the top of the ruins for sweeping views over the sea.

Jaco information

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Frequently Asked Questions
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