I originally wrote this post for Tico Lingo, a Spanish immersion school located in Heredia, Costa Rica, as part of a WorkAway program. I wanted to share this adventure as well as some tips about a weekend adventure you could have while visiting Tico Land!
Wanting to step outside of the valley for the weekend, I ventured to the quirky town of Jaco in search of sandy beaches, pina coladas and a little spontaneity. What I found was so much more than I had originally expected. I’ll preface this by stating that the original plan was to spend a short time in Jaco simply as a stopover to Manuel Antonio. I’ll cut to the chase, however, and confess that one night in Jaco quickly turned into three with absolutely zero regrets on my part.
HOW TO GET THERE
I was able to catch a local bus to San Jose for a mere 550 colones (roughly $1) directly to the Coca Cola station. From there, I asked a few locals where to catch the bus directly to Jaco. (Side note: Always try and get on a “directo” bus. This will be the quickest route to your location.) Many locals recommended I get a taxi directly to the new 7-10 station since the area was a little sketchy and I had a backpack worth of goodies on me. So for 2000 colones I jumped in a red taxi with a yellow triangle (super important!) and got dropped off in front of the station. It looks just like a mall with the tickets being sold upstairs and the boarding downstairs. Cough up 2335 colones for a one-way ticket and jump on the 2- hour ride to Jaco!
The bus will drop you off at the main Jaco station directly across from the Best Western hotel. Take a left and begin your journey down the main drag of Jaco town!
WHERE TO STAY
As I mentioned before, the original plan was just to crash in Jaco for the night and then head out to Manuel Antonio. However, it wasn’t that long before I realized I wanted to spend more than 24 hours in this hippie beach town.
ROOM2BOARD HOSTEL – Starts at $18 a night
I was ridiculously impressed with this hostel. Not only was the price definitely affordable but this place was literally right on the beach! This boutique hotel offered a luscious pool with a waterslide and plenty of poolside seating as well as a bar that offers $5 cocktails, woodfired pizza and a talented and helpful staff. They also have a giant wall where they project movies or hockey games until 11 p.m. The final icing on the cake? Rooftop hammocks overlooking beautiful Jaco beach and the Pacific Ocean.
A friend and I splurged and booked a private room in this boutique hostel kitty-corner to Le Loft and The Green Room. The weather in Jaco can be brutal in terms of heat so having a room with a private shower and air conditioning was well worth the $25 each. Also, having a private hammock and bean bag chair wasn’t too shabby either.
WHERE TO EAT
THE GREEN ROOM – $6-$10
There are tons of small sodas, coffee houses and bars that offer some delicious quick bites but for slightly above your normal Costa Rican fare. Friends and I stumbled upon The Green Room and we were immediately hooked, eating there three times during our stay! This place offers many delicious and fresh choices such as banana pancakes, vegetarian breakfast burritos and fizzy berry mojitos. Even their water is great as it is infused with mint, basil and cucumber before being served cold. This place has amazing live music every night, plenty of art for sale and fair prices for the high quality.
WHAT TO DO
Jaco is a fairly tourist town so the main strip is covered in choices for ATV, zipline, waterfall, crocodile and biking tours. A friend and I chose Costa Rica Waterfall Tours for our Explorer Tour climbing 10 waterfalls and jumping off a few of them! This adventure took us 4x4ing through the jungle to a serene waterfall where all you could hear was the sound of water and birds. With the help of a local Tico guide, our group hiked down to the bottom of this 10-waterfall canyon and hiked our way up, stopping to jump off cliffs as high as 20 feet! I’ll admit my knees were a little shaky but it was well worth it!