The Costa Rican resort town of Jacó is one of the easiest beaches to access from the capital of San José, drawing locals and international eco-tourists alike. The town itself stretches fewer than five kilometers from north to south, easily walked in an hour—but in such a popular resort town, it’s key to know just where to stay in Jacó, Costa Rica.

Of course, the answer depends on what you’re seeking. Nightlife? Surfing? Solitude? You can find it all, but here are our tailored recommendations!

La Paloma Blanca condo rental in Jaco Beach
La Paloma Blanca on Jacó Beach

Resort Suites on Jacó Beach

When it comes to where to stay in Jacó, there’s no better place to start than the beach. Playa Jacó is a clean, calm beach that’s easily accessible from most condos and resorts. It’s a great place for beachgoers of all stripes, with ample room for relaxing on the sandy shores and companies like Jacó Surf Club providing surfing lessons. Swimmers should be aware of the beach’s deceptively strong rip tide, but don’t worry—there’s no danger to sipping a cool, refreshing drink on the beach as you watch the sun dip below the waves.

On the secluded, southern end of Playa Jacó, travelers can book a beachfront condo at the luxurious La Paloma Blanca—a bit farther removed from the heart of town. Also to the south of Jacó, Bahia Azul resort includes spacious condos, private swimming pools, and a best-of-both-worlds location: close to the beach, yet an easy drive to wining and dining along Pastor Diaz Avenue.

Just a short walk to town, the gated community of Jaco Beach Village was developed by seasoned surfers and offers incredibly easy access to the sand.

Vista Las Palmas resort
Soak up the views of Jacó’s town center from the Vista Las Palmas resort

Pastor Díaz Avenue

Nightlife lovers need look no further than the main downtown drag. Jacó has an incredible variety of bars and clubs lining Pastor Diaz Avenue, allowing you to dance the night away or just appreciate the music with a drink. No matter your taste in ambiance or musical genres, there’s pretty much guaranteed to be a venue that’s just what you’re looking for.

In the mood to relax to some music? Try the low-key vibe and over 30 beers on tap at Green Room. Ready to get out and mingle? Hip beachfront hostel Selina draws in local visitors and internationals alike, offering great live music at the bar. It’s also the perfect place to watch the sunset! If you like to stay trendy, Swell Bar is one of the hippest joints in town, offering a club atmosphere and excellent DJs with a focus on hip hop and contemporary music.

Want to stay close to all the action in Jacó? Choose from the luxury condominiums at the sixteen-story Vista Las Palmas resort or the spacious suites at Diamante del Sol.

What to See Wherever You Stay

There are some activities and opportunities so magical that it doesn’t matter where you stay—your vacation won’t be complete without checking them out!

playa herradura fishing boats
Fishing boats near Playa Herradura | Photo courtesy of Thomas Anderson

Fishing at Playa Herradura

Beachgoers should visit Playa Herradura to the north. Named after the fishing village just a few miles to the north, it should come as no surprise that the beach is ideal for any amateur fishermen in your group. Plenty of charters like Maverick Sportfishing let you head out on the water and land tunas and mahi-mahi of your very own.

Swimming & Scuba at Playa Herradura

At Playa Herradura, the currents are much calmer than at Playa Jacó, allowing for easier swimming above and below the waves. Sign up for a lesson with Herradura Divers and give scuba diving a try, or just relax on the beach. There aren’t as many crowds as on Playa Jacó, so those looking for alone time can enjoy a mellower atmosphere.

rappelling waterfall jaco costa rica
Rappelling a waterfall near Jaco | Photo courtesy of Stephanie Kempker

Waterfalls Near Jacó

Make sure your stay in Jacó includes the incredible natural beauty just to the east! The dense rainforest that covers the hills above Jacó can be intimidating to outsiders, but with a little help from local experts, you’ll be visiting the beautiful sights within in no time! Costa Rica Waterfall Tours is a good place to start, offering guided tours through jungle trails to breathtaking waterfalls. Don’t limit yourself to just looking—step carefully past the slippery stones and dive into pools beneath the falls. Your guide will make sure your camera stays nice and dry, so you’re sure to get amazing photos of the day’s adventures.

Jacó Rainforest Tour Providers

Looking for a different way to experience the forests? Don’t worry—companies like Vista Los Sueños have you covered! Take in the dense, verdant vegetation from above with a relaxing ride on an aerial tram, or watch it zoom by at thrilling speeds on a zipline. AXR Jacó provides more options with ATV tours letting you go off-road.

If you’re looking for an experience that’s a little less intense, book a tour with a company like Horseback Rides Costa Rica for a lovely horseback ride. From jaunts through the outskirts of the forest to paths that surround you with the dense jungle surroundings, everyone will be able to get the rainforest experience that they deserve.

These tour providers only scratch the surface of all that’s available in Jacó—you can book everything from waterfall jungle tours to monkey mangrove boat tours with Xploratura.

No matter where you stay—especially it’s in one of our beautiful Jacó vacation rentals—you’ll find plenty of amazing places to rest your head and things to do that will keep you coming back for more.

View more Jacó vacation rentals.

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Author: Sam Sexton

Sam moved back to Portland after spending some time in Silicon Valley. Along with Otter Pops, Pokémon, and trains, traveling was one of the high points of his childhood. He is just as ready to try a new restaurant or walk around town as he is to order a pizza and explore the wastes of Netflix.