Jaco, Costa Rica

The closest beach destination from San Jose& a great jumping off point for adventure!

The Jaco Vibe

Jaco is one of the most popular beach destinations in Costa Rica due to how close it is to the San Jose airport.

Within 1.5 hours of leaving the airport, you can be relaxing on this Central Pacific coast beach.
Jaco is great for beach walking, surfing, enjoying plenty of delicious restaurants, nightlife, and more!

In all honesty, Jaco is not on our list of must-visit places in Costa Rica. We find it too hectic, dirty etc. However, it is a great jumping-off point for tons of activities. 

If you are questioning if Jaco is the right spot for your vacation, feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to try and provide some clarity. 

Now on to the rest of the Jaco, Costa Rica travel guide!


Map Of Jaco

Jaco is located in the Puntarenas Province on the Pacific coast. It is the closest major beach town from the San Jose area. 

Jaco at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose

Popular Things to Do

surfing, enjoy the nightlife, relax on the beach, go zip lining

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April


Getting to Jaco

Flights to Costa Rica

The easiest way of getting to Jaco is by flying in to the San Jose International Airport. From San Jose, it is about a 1.5 hour drive to Jaco. 

We usually have the best luck with booking our flights through Skyscanner. They are our go-to flight booking site for great rates.


Renting a Car

We suggest renting a car if you plan on traveling to other places and want the flexibility of not having to depend on tours. 

We suggest booking your rental car with Adobe. They are the most trustworthy company in this country (in our opinion) and we have partnered with them to get a 10% discount for you on your rental car. You can find out more here. 


From the airport, it will only take you about 1.5 hours to get to Jaco. The highway is well maintained and easy to navigate. Just be warned this is a toll road. If you don’t have colones you can pay in dollars and they will give you colones as change. I like to pay with a $10 bill and then the change is enough for me to pay the rest of the tolls in colones.

About an hour into your drive you will cross over a river called Rio Tarcoles which is usually lined with people. Pull your car over and walk back onto the bridge to check it out. You’ll see huge crocodiles below waiting for a tasty meal. 🙂

You do not need to rent a 4×4 for this route. The roads are all paved.

Private Transfer

If you don’t feel comfortable driving, a private transfer is always a good option. Adobe Car Rental now provides an excellent transfer service. You can find out more and get a price quote here

Public Bus

If you are only going to Jaco and not planning on traveling to other places, the bus from San Jose is your cheapest option.

The public bus will only cost you a few dollars and runs several times a day.

It’s not the most comfortable and if it’s full you could be left standing for the whole ride, but hey, it’s cheap!

Getting Around in Jaco

If you’d like to do a lot of exploring in the Jaco area we suggest renting a car. Otherwise, you’ll have to depend on pre-packaged day tours. 

If you plan on just exploring downtown Jaco and relaxing on the beach, you don’t need a car. The downtown area is very walkable.

If you don’t feel comfortable driving from San Jose to Jaco, but would like a car while you explore Jaco, you can rent a car from Adobe and input Jaco as your pick-up location.

They have an office directly in the downtown area of Jaco. In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel. Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location.

Book Your Transportation

Jaco Weather