Dangers & Annoyances
Aside from occasional petty crime such as pickpocketing and breaking into cars, Jacó is not a dangerous place. But keep the following in mind:
- The high concentration of wealthy foreigners and comparatively poor Ticos has resulted in a thriving sex and drugs industry. The local council has cleaned things up in recent years, but not entirely.
- Jacó is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s prostitution scene. Travelers who wish to explore this dark corner of Costa Rican nightlife should consider the health and safety risks and negative social impacts.
- Locals warn against walking alone on the beach at night due to muggings.
For cash, there are ATMs along the main Av Pastor Díaz, though the best rates will be found at the big branches like Banco Popular.
There’s no independent tourist information office, though several tour offices will give information. Look for the free monthly Jaco's Guide or the quarterly Info Jaco.
Travel with Children
Jacó has long been on the radar of Tico families looking to swap the congestion of San José for the ocean breezes of the central Pacific coast. Therefore, you’ll find that your children are very well cared for in Jacó, and there is enough going on to keep even those with the shortest attention spans amused for days on end.
Families flock to the beach, and, compared with more famed surfing destinations up and down the coast, the waves here are modest. As with any water-based activities, the usual amount of parental watch is required, though young children can safely splash about on most days. However, strong surges often accompany ill weather, so it’s always best to survey the scene and inquire locally about conditions.
Beyond the beach you’ll find a laundry list of activities on offer, and a good number of operators offer discounts for young children.
There is a tremendous diversity of accommodations in the Jacó area, and aside from the more backpacker-oriented youth hostels and the upmarket boutique hotels, the vast majority welcome children. Smaller, more intimate B&B types are good for maintaining a comfortable, familial atmosphere, while larger resorts have a range of child-friendly amenities. If possible, book in advance if you need to reserve child beds or have other special requests. Hotels with pools can save the day, especially when the mercury starts to rise.
Eating out with children is a breeze, since nearly all of the places in town offer English menus and/or have English-speaking staff, and there are plenty of familiar takeout options. Fruit smoothies are an excellent way to keep your kids hydrated and happy.