Jacó

Jul 1st 2011
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Easy-access beach and party scene

Jacó is a Central Pacific Coast beach town turned boomtown. Everywhere you look, there are new buildings going up--both residential and commercial. Some might even qualify as rascacielos (skyscrapers), 14 or more floors of glass and steel rising up from what was recently a low-rise town.

Ease of access is the town's main charm. You can land at the
Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José and be at the beach in less than two hours. Another hour south from Jacó is Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Javier Barquero, former manager of Best Western
Jacó, describes how the town has changed in the last few years. "Now there's more construction, more investment, more opportunity. Better services. Lots of nice places to go out for a drink or have dinner. But there's also been an increase in drugs and prostitution."

As in many beach towns, the layout is basically one long strip, parallel to a long stretch of playa that often hosts surf competitions. There are the usual open-air bars and restaurants, souvenir shops, budget cabinas, and some larger chain hotels (like Best Western) outside the town proper. Many beach towns force you to go elsewhere if your needs go beyond food, alcohol, or a new bikini, but
Jacó also offers up banks, medical clinics, supermarkets, hardware stores, and car repair shops.

Beaches north & south of Jacó
Among the better-known beaches close to Jacó is Playa Herradura (7 kilometers/4.3 miles north), the site of Los Sueños, a Marriott megaresort and residential complex with hundreds of condos and its own marina. There are also tennis courts and a championship golf course.

Just south of Jacó is Playa Hermosa, a 10-kilometer (six-mile) stretch of gray-brown sand battered by the kind of waves surfers love. It's become a favorite among those who want something more laid-back than Jacó. An hour further south is Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.


Area Central Pacific Coast
CategoriesBeaches & Towns