Last night, in an attempt to recover my photos that had been lost upon dropping my external disk (if that has ever happened to you, I feel your pain), I stumbled on a few pictures we took in Jacó, Costa Rica. “We”, as in a work colleague and friend from Spain and I. At the time, I was working at a hostel in the party town that is Jacó.
If you have never been to Jacó, nor to Costa Rica, I do recommend to visit Costa Rica, but not necessarily Jacó. It is a party town, a stretch of bars, a large casino and little shops that all sell the same stuff – you know the drill. It can’t compete with any of it’s neighbor towns, much less with all the beautiful beach towns along the pacific coast that are farther north.
Reflecting on the past year, my biggest trip in terms of time spent has been the one to Costa Rica, where I worked and lived. Let me tell you, I’ve had crazy beautiful, mind-blowing experiences in this country, and I’ve had bad and shocking experiences in this country. I first visited Costa Rica when I was only 16 years old, naive and very trusting in everyone I met – but more on that later.
So, if you still decide to visit Jacó because of its bars, booze, cheap accommodations and the people you will meet there, here is the lowdown on what not to miss:
WHAT TO DO
- Learn to surf. If you’re an experienced surfer but don’t have your own board with you, rent a surfboard for either $10 (12 hours) or $15 (24 hours); On the other hand, there’s lots of great surf instructors who will give you lessons for $25 for 2 hours, and I guarantee you you will not regret it!
- Yoga: Monday-Friday, 7pm
- Hike up to the view point of an abandoned hotel at the far North end of Jacó
- Rent a bicycle to explore the town
- Visit the skate park to play soccer, basketball or skate
- Go for a morning run along the (almost empty!) beach
WHERE TO EAT
- Soda Milagros: opposite of the supermarket: very cheap, good local food ($)
- Marea Alta: local, cheap food ($)
- Smoothie place opposite of Papas and Burgers: fresh tropical smoothies to go, fruit and acai bowls for $5 ($$)
- The Green Room: My kind of place. Serves falafels, guacamole, quinoa salads and hummus, served with fresh lemon and cucumber water; various vegan options; organic ($$$)
- Namasté: Indian cuisine, fresh food, lots of delicious meals to choose from ($$$)
WHERE TO PARTY
- Las Olas: New bar, very kind owner, traditional Latin or Cuban music
“>The Swell: Local bar, always packed with locals as well as tourists; pool, football and darts available
- Jacó Blue: Beach club with huge parties on Wednesdays, free drinks and appetizers for girls, free entry before 10:30 pm
WHERE TO SHOP
- Más x Menos: local supermarket at the North end of the town, reasonable prices
- Macrobiótica: at the far North end of Jaco, next to the gym („gymnasium platinum“): organic health food store where you can get anything from chia seeds to protein powders
- Farmer’s Market: every Friday morning: local fruit, nuts and seeds, cheese and organic meat
Have you ever been to Costa Rica? What is your favorite travel destination?