Few places in Costa Rica generate such divergent opinions as Jacó. Partying surfers, North American retirees and international developers laud it for its devil-may-care atmosphere, bustling streets and booming real-estate opportunities. Observant ecotourists, marginalized Ticos and loyalists of the "old Costa Rica" absolutely despise the place for the exact same reasons.
Jacó was the first town on the central Pacific coast to explode with tourist development and it remains a major draw for backpackers, surfers, snowbirds and city-weary josefinos (inhabitants of San José). Although working-class Tico neighborhoods are nearby, open-air trinket shops and tour operators line the tacky main drag which, at night, is given over to a safe but somewhat seedy mix of binge-drinking students and surfers.
While Jacó's lackadaisical charm is not for everyone, the surfing is excellent, and the restaurants and bars are great, particularly those lining classy Jacó Walk.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Jacó.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Jacó.