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26 Fun Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica

From stunning natural attractions to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there are TONS of fun things to do in Jaco Costa Rica. 

Jaco is a bustling beach town on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the local wildlife, or try your hand at a new water sport; you can find it in Jaco. 

We visit this town often because it is only about 1.5 hours from our home in San Jose. Every time we are in the area we try to take on new fun activities. With that knowledge, we put together this list of 26 epic things to do in Jaco.

So pack your bags and get ready to discover all the excitement that this beach town has to offer!

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1. Go Zip Lining

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

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 Pacific Coast and jungle views at a slower pace as well. 

Rainforest Adventures offers pick-up from all Jaco area hotels. 

↪ Arrange Your Zip Lining Tour

2. Take a Day Trip to Isla Tortuga

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  7 -10 hours | ✅ Book it!

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. 

We suggest a day tour with Turismo Marítimo del Pacífico. This tour also includes a stop to at Rio Tarcoles to see crocodiles, a stop at the Puntarenas lighthouse, a stop at a wildlife reserve to see monkeys, and lunch while on Isla Tortuga. It’s awesome!

Arrange Your Tortuga Island Trip with Turismo Marítimo del Pacífic 🌴

3. Enjoy a Catamaran Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  4 hours and 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

In Jaco, it is possible to take a day catamaran tour or enjoy a sunset trip. Usually, these tours include snorkeling and enjoying 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!

Just note that this is really popular tour so it is likely to sell out.

Arrange Your Catamaran Trip with Sealounge Catamaran Here 🛥️

4. Try Surfing

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.

26 Fun Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica

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 with Surf Factory Here

5. 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 🐒

6. Take an ATV Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✅ Book it!

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 with Adventure Tours 🏍️

7. 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

8. Take an In-Shore or Deep Sea Fishing Trip

⭐️ RATING: 4.8/5 Stars | ✅ Book it!

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 with Captain Jorge

9. Go Birdwatching 

scarlet maccaws

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 Experience with Sergio

10. 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 two of our favorite combo tours in Jaco.

Full Day Fun Pass Jaco Jungle Adventure Five in One with Lunch

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  7 hours 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

This tour starts at The Park At Ocean Ranch in Jaco. From here you will participate in several fun activities. These are:

  • Horseback riding with jungle and ocean views
  • Rappelling down the side of a waterfall
  • Zipline tour with several platforms
  • A thrilling ATV ride

Lunch is also included in this tour.

It’s an AWESOME full day experience that we highly recommend.

Ocean View Zip Line + 3hr ATV and Waterfalls Combo Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  5 hours | ✅ Book it!

This tour starts at Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park. It includes:

Dive into a 3-hour ATV tour in the transitional Costa Rican Rainforest. You will journey through paths, rivers, and mud-laden trails, while enjoying breathtaking ocean views and experiencing the lush rainforest up close.

Next, you will begin with an exhilarating zip line adventure! A tractor ride takes you up the mountain, from where you’ll zip down via 12 platforms and 10 cables, including one of Central Pacific’s longest!

Stay hydrated and refreshed with fruits and water provided during both adventures.

11. 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 🦜

12. Learn About How Chocolate is Made

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2 hours | ✅ Book it!

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 a fun 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. 

↪ Organize Your Chocolate Experience 🍫

13. Go Horseback Riding

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

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 🐎

14. Visit the Crocodiles on Rio Tarcoles

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  7 hours | ✅ Book it!

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. 

This tour is actually one of the coolest things we think you can do in Jaco. It’s a full-day experience that includes a visit to a butterfly garden, seeing monkeys up close, lunch, and seeing the crocodiles on Rio Tarcoles.

↪ Arrange Your Crocodile Adventure 🐊

15. 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.

16. 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. 

17. Go on a Jet Ski Adventure

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  one hour 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

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

18. 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.

19. 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!

20. Go Paragliding

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  20 minutes | ✅ Book it!

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. 

We haven’t personally done this because we are wimpy, but we have heard great things about the paragliding experiences with a guide.

↪ Arrange Your Paragliding Adventure

21. 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.

22. Go on a Jungle Booze Cruise

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  4 to 5 hours | ✅ Book it!

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 remote places near Jaco.

Beer, transportation from your hotel, and an experienced guide are included. 

↪ Book Your Jungle Booze Cruise Adventure 🍻

23. Take a Costa Rican Cooking Class

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✅ Book it!

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 with Melissa Guzman

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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. Here is a map of the Jaco farmer’s market.

Other Things to Note About Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica

-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.

#1 Pick
26 Fun Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica

Adobe Rent-a-Car

  • 10% discount for Costa Rica Vibes readers
  • Free second driver
  • 0% deductible on Liability Protection Insurance
  • Excellent customer service
  • New fleet of well-maintained vehicles

– If you would like to take a shared shuttle to Jaco, Bookaway tends to have the best selection of shuttles from reputable companies at fair prices.

-Most of these things to do in Jaco Costa Rica 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.

Do You Have Travel Insurance?

Don’t let unexpected medical expenses or trip interruptions overshadow your dream Costa Rican vacation.  

Secure your worry-free Costa Rican adventure with Heymondo travel insurance

Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica FAQ

Is Jaco, Costa Rica worth visiting?

Yes, Jaco, Costa Rica is worth visiting. It is not the nicest beach town on the Central Pacific coast, but it is a great jumping-off point for many fun activities. Plus, the town is easy to get to from the San Jose International Airport.

What are some things to do in Jaco, Costa Rica at night?

Jaco has a lively nightlife scene. There are many nightclubs and bars that feature DJs or live music several nights a week.

Is Jaco, Costa Rica safe?

Yes, Jaco is relatively safe. The most common occurrence is petty theft. It is best to not carry large amounts of cash, or leave items unattended. More serious crimes are rare.

What is there to do in Jaco, Costa Rica when it rains?

When it rains in Jaco, Costa Rica there are always plenty of nice restaurants and bars to spend time in. Alternatively, put on a rain jacket and get outside anyway.

Wrap-Up: Jaco Costa Rica Things to Do

So, as you can now see, there are so many fun activity options in Jaco! People of all ages, budgets, and adrenaline levels will enjoy a visit to this Central Pacific beach town. With so many options, which activities will you choose?

You Might Also Like:

Jaco, Costa Rica Hotels: The 40 Best Places

Jaco, Costa Rica Restaurants: The Best Places to Eat

Jaco Beaches: The Six Best Nearby Beaches

Carara National Park Near Jaco: A Fun Day Trip

Playa Blanca Near Jaco: Visitors Guide

Rio Tarcoles: See Crocodiles Near Jaco

Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

🏄🏽 How can I book things to do?

We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.

🍍 I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?

Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?

We highly suggest Booking.com for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?

The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.

💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

📞 What is the best way to stay connected?

An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.

🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?

Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.

🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.

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