Jaco is a bustling beach town on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
From stunning natural attractions to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there are TONS of fun things to do in Jaco, Costa Rica.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the local wildlife, or try your hand at a new water sport, we’ve got you covered.
So pack your bags and get ready to discover all the excitement that this beach town has to offer!
Go Zip Lining
There are several zip-lining options in the Jaco area. Our absolute favorite company to visit for soaring through the air is Rainforest Adventures. They offer a great combination of an aerial tram and 10 zip-lining platforms.
Zip lining is thrilling and offers great views, but with the aerial tram, you actually get a chance to soak in the views at a slower pace.
Rainforest Adventures offers pick-up from all Jaco area hotels.
↪ Arrange Your Zip Lining Tour
Take a Day Trip to Isla Tortuga
Isla Tortuga is a beautiful uninhabited island located off the Pacific coast. We love taking a day trip here by boat!
You can enjoy snorkeling, relaxing on one of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica, hiking, renting kayaks, and eating a tasty lunch on the island.
↪ Book Your Tortuga Island Trip Here
Enjoy a Catamaran Tour
In Jaco, it is possible to take a day catamaran tour or enjoy a sunset trip. Usually, these tours include snorkeling and the opportunity to enjoy a remote beach.
Our favorite option for this is to enjoy a catamaran trip to Playa Fantasia with Sealounge Catamaran. On this trip, you will be treated to a delicious lunch, an open bar, and tons of time to enjoy the beach. It’s a really fun day trip!
↪ Book Your Catamaran Trip Here
If you are a more experienced surfer we suggest heading just south of Jaco to Playa Hermosa for some more advanced waves. There are plenty of surf shops in the small village where you can rent a board.
If you are a newbie surfer, it is best to start in the Jaco area with some lessons.
We suggest arranging your lessons with Surf Factory School in Jaco. They are amazing and can teach you the fundamentals and most likely get you standing on the board within two hours.
↪ Book Your Surfing Lesson Here
Take a day trip to Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is about a 45-minute drive from Jaco. This is the most popular national park in the country. It is home to TONS of wildlife, beautiful beaches, nice hiking trails, and a waterfall.
You can drive your rental car and visit the park on your own or you can always book a day tour with transportation and guide.
We suggest this tour from Tucanes Tours. It’s great! It includes transportation from Jaco, lunch, an experienced guide who will show you tons of wildlife, and admission to the park.
↪ Book Your Manuel Antonio National Park Tour
Take an ATV Tour
Go with an experienced guide for a thrilling ATV experience through the dense jungles near Jaco. During your journey, keep an eye out for wildlife. Your guide might point out animals such as sloths and monkeys.
Our favorite ATV tour is done by Adventure Tours Costa Rica. They offer pick up or you can meet at their office. This ATV adventure lasts for three hours and includes riding to two waterfalls. It’s the perfect fun half-day adventure!
↪ Arrange Your ATV Tour
Go Whitewater Rafting
There are two places to go white water rafting near Jaco. The Savegre River is for less experienced rafters and has class II and class III rapids.
↪ Book Your Class II and III Rafting Trip
The Naranjo River is for more experienced rafters and has a class of III and IV.
↪ Book Your Class III and IV Rafting Trip
Take an In-Shore or Deep Sea Fishing Trip
If in shore or deep-sea fishing is your thing, Jaco is a great place to take a trip from.
We suggest booking your trip with Captain Jorge on the Barrileta out of Herradura (just north of Jaco).
During your trip, you might catch mahi-mahi, wahoo, dorado, red snapper, and more.
↪ Arrange Your Fishing Adventure
One of the best places to spot birds is actually directly from Jaco Beach. This is a popular spot for Scarlet Macaws to hang out and they are usually in packs.
Alternatively, if you would like to do some more serious bird watching we suggest taking a day trip with a guide.
We highly recommend taking a tour with Sergio. He really knows his stuff and is just a nice person.
↪ Book Your Bird Watching with Sergio
Take a Combo Day Tour
A combo tour is a way of combining many activities in one fun day.
We are huge fans of combo tours in Costa Rica!
Often they will save you money instead of booking many different separate activities. Plus, they save you the hassle of planning many things on your own.
Here are a few of our favorite combo tours in Jaco.
Visit Carara National Park
Carara National Park is located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Jaco. The trails are flat and should be no problem for most skill levels. This is a popular place for bird watchers.
You can visit this place on your own without a guide, but if you are looking to see a lot of wildlife, we suggest taking a tour with Maurice.
↪ Book Your Carara Tour with Maurice
Learn About How Chocolate is Made
Are you a daily chocolate eater?
I always suggest that people visiting Costa Rica go on a chocolate tour. It is the perfect activity for all ages, it is not high energy, and you get to eat a lot of chocolate. What could be better?
We suggest visiting Los Suenos Adventure Park for your cacao bean and chocolate production experience.
You will learn about the behind-the-scenes magic of chocolate-making, from bean to bar, and engage in an interactive experience as you witness the fascinating process of chocolate creation.
Plus, the tour ends with the chance to eat as much chocolate as you can want.
↪ Book Your Chocolate Experience
Go Horseback Riding
Get ready for the wind in your hair as a galloping horse takes you along the beautiful Pacific coastline.
We suggest a private horseback riding adventure with Gustavo. Gustavo is well-trained and will take great care of you if you are new to riding or more experienced.
↪ Book Your Horseback Riding Adventure
Visit the Crocodiles
Rio Tarcoles is located close to Jaco. This river is home to huge crocodiles. One of the best ways to see them for free is by going to the Rio Tarcoles Bridge and looking down.
Alternatively, you can take a Rio Tarcoles boat ride with an experienced guide to see them up close.
↪ Arrange Your Crocodile Adventure
Visit Catarata Bijagual
This impressive waterfall is located just a short drive away from Jaco near Carara National Park. It is possible to visit here on your own if you have a rental car.
Combining this with Carara National Park, Rio Tarcoles Bridge to see crocodiles, and a few hours relaxing at Playa Blanca would be the perfect day trip.
To get to the waterfall just follow this Google Maps link.
Note: For all your Costa Rica car rental needs we suggest our favorite local company, Adobe. You can find out about car rentals and get a 10% discount here.
Spend the Day at Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is the nicest beach in the area (in our opinion). Get ready for fine white sand and turquoise waters backed up by palm trees.
The only downside to visiting here is that it is kind of difficult to get to.
Luckily, we made a complete Playa Blanca guide to help you plan your visit.
Go on a Jet Ski Adventure
Have you ever gone jet skiing? It is such a fun and thrilling way to enjoy the coastline. We suggest taking a jet ski tour from Playa Herradura which goes to the remote Fantasia beach.
We like this tour because it is limited to just a few guests, includes the usage of snorkeling gear, and the guides are excellent.
↪ Book Your Jet Ski Experience
Hike to Miro’s Mountain
A secret hidden gem when visiting Jaco is the hike up Miro’s Mountain. Search for “El Miro” on your GPS or in Google Maps and it should come up.
The trailhead is not marked, but it is located directly across from the gas station in the south part of town. If you can’t find it just ask someone for help.
The hike is a little over a mile one way. Make sure to walk far enough to get to the abandoned restaurant. It’s super cool! Plus you’ll get a great view of Jaco.
Go Beach Hopping
We recently wrote a guide to all the best beaches near Jaco. This will help you plan out the perfect beach-hopping day trip along the Central Pacific coast.
You can visit Herradura Beach, Playa Hermosa, and more nice spots!
Ready for one of the most thrill-seeking experiences you can have in Costa Rica? Paragliding is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is an experience you’ll likely never forget.
Plus, there isn’t any other way to get such amazing views of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
↪ Arrange Your Paragliding Adventure
Take a Picture at the Jaco Sign
If you drive just south of Jaco (heading toward Playa Hermosa) you will pass a pull-off with a parking area on your right.
Pull in here to get a picture of the Jaco sign and a great view of all of Jaco.
Go on a Jungle Booze Cruise
Um, how cool does a jungle booze cruise sound? This tour is done on a 4×4 with a guide going off-roading to some beautiful places.
Beer, transportation from your hotel, and an experienced guide are included.
↪ Book Your Booze Cruise
Take a Costa Rican Cooking Class
Melissa Guzman is the author of a cookbook called Living Longer Healthy and Happier: Recipes from Costa Rica.
She offers private Jaco cooking classes with the chance to make a delicious meal. She can come to your rental if it has a kitchen or she can host your experience.
Just note that you need to be at minimum a group of three people to book this experience.
↪ Book Your Cooking Class
Watch the Sunset
Jaco Beach is a great place to catch the sunset. In Costa Rica, the sun sets every day between 5 pm and 6 pm all year round.
We like to grab a beer from the grocery store and enjoy a nice sundown drink before going out for dinner.
Enjoy the Nightlife Scene
So, we aren’t the best people to advise you on the nightlife scene because that’s just not really our vibe.
But, I can tell you that when our friends in San Jose are looking to go clubbing, they all go to Jaco.
Jaco is known for being a bit seedy at times, especially within the nightlife scene, so just use caution.
Although the nightlife scene isn’t really our thing, I can definitely advise you on some good bars that are open late. Check out our guide to restaurants in Jaco for more info.
Check out the Farmer’s Market
The farmers market in Jaco is held every Friday morning between 6 am and 2 pm. Some vendors are also there on Thursday evenings.
This is a good place to buy some unusual tropical fruits that you likely have never seen before as well as stock up on any vegetables you might want.
The market is located downtown right here.
Other Things to Note
-I included a lot of activities that include transportation from your Jaco area hotel. However, some activities require you to have a rental car. We suggest booking your rental car with our favorite Costa Rica car company, Adobe.
You can read all about the Costa Rican car rental process and make a reservation here.
Oh, and by booking through us you will get a 10% discount plus other great perks.
-Most of these activities can be done all year round. However, I suggest arranging your fun day trips for the morning during the rainy season. Typically during the rainy season, the rain will roll in around 2 pm and last for an hour or two.
-If you would like more information on visiting Jaco, check out our complete Jaco Visitor Guide. It includes info on the best hotels, great restaurants, safety, the best time of year to visit, and more!
-Please be careful on your adventures. All activities (such as zip lining) are well-regulated. But, some places might not have the same security measures that you are used to. For example, at waterfalls, there are often no blocked areas. It is up to you to use your best safety discretion.
On that note, don’t forget to get travel insurance. We like the company Heymondo. Their basic plans cover injury from a lot of activities, but you can add on an Adventure Sports option which will also cover you during more high-adrenaline activities such as white water rafting. Plus, by booking through us you can save 5%!
And that is all for activities in Jaco. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Just leave them in the comment section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
The post 26 Fun Things to Do in Jaco, Costa Rica appeared first on Costa Rica Vibes.