More Must-sees in Jaco, Costa Rica


More Must-sees in Jaco, Costa Rica

We love exploring Costa Rica, and despite its size, the amount of things to see and do is unbelievable!  Jaco is a beach on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and TEFL trainees and teachers tend to go there regularly as it is the closest beach to San Jose and Heredia.  We have already explained how to get there by bus and some of the things you can do there, such as surfing.  However, we have some more ideas for you!


Guacalillo Beach

If you are driving to Jaco, take a pit stop at the stunning Guacalillo Beach.  About a kilometer and a half before Tarcoles, there is an entrance on the right-hand side of the road with a sign that says “Playa Guacalillo.”  Turn right.  Eventually you will get to a fork in the road, but there is another sign for the beach.  When you get to the beach, head to the ledge on the right.  The views and photo opps are unbelievable!  After you get your pictures, head back to the highway.  Keep an eye out for all the animals as you drive.  We saw iguanas, lizards, butterflies and lots of beautiful birds, including a “bobo.”

The Crocodiles at Tarcoles Bridge 

A favorite of all tourists, don’t forget to stop at the bridge at Tarcoles to see the crocs!  You can’t miss it, as there are always lots of other cars stopped.  There is also a Pops (the famous Costa RIcan ice cream shop), souvenir stands and a couple of restaurants before the bridge.  Walk out on the bridge to see the crocodiles in the river below.  Look for the crowd to see where the crocs are currently hanging out!  

Carara National Park

Right after the bridge, you will see the entrance to Carara National Park on the left-hand side of the road.  There’s a small parking lot, and you can pay your entrance fee at the booth.  A pass for foreigners is 10USD, and residents and nationals pay 1000 colones.  There are actually two parts to the park.  The first part is right next to the parking lot.  It is an easy walk with well-marked paths.  We’d been told it only takes about 30 minutes, but we spent around an hour and a half exploring.  We took our time, going on all of the possible trails and taking tons of pictures. We saw iguanas, lizards, agoutis (a large rodent), butterflies and tons of birds, and we could hear the macaws and howler monkeys in the background! We didn’t have time to check out the other part of the park, but apparently you can get up close and personal with the local crocodiles!  

Jaco Sign & View

Just after leaving Jaco and heading south on the highway, you can see the new, brightly-colored “Jaco” sign with a great view of the beach.  The sign is adorned with adorable creatures that Costa Rica is famous for like a sloth and a monkey.  Snap some pictures and enjoy the view of Jaco and the beach, and if you haven’t already had your “copa” yet, this is your chance.  Don’t know what a “copa” is?  It’s shaved ice with a fruity syrup and covered in both powdered milk and sweetened condensed milk.  Bit of an overload on sugar, but it’s just a part of experiencing the beach in Costa Rica

Miro Ruins

For amazing views of the beach and the town of Jaco or for perfect pictures of the sunset, check out this abandoned hotel on the side of the mountain on the south end of Jaco.  To get there, you, get to the gas station on the highway at the southernmost end of Jaco.  Less than 100 meters after the gas station, you will see a driveway and entrance on the left-hand side of the road.  Take this road up the mountain to get to the hotel.  If you have a 4x4 vehicle, you will have no problems driving up the road, but be cautious driving a smaller car, especially in the rainy season.  Most of the people we talked to at the ruins were foreigners and had hiked up the mountain, so don’t rule that out as an option.  

About halfway up, you will get to the first viewpoint.  The arches perfectly capture the water and Jaco in your pictures!  There’s also a wall decorated with lots of brightly-painted animals.  Keep going up the mountain though, because you have yet to see the majority of the ruins.  Who knows the real story behind this abandoned construction site, but we loved checking it out!  The view is stunning, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunset.  Keep your eyes peeled for all of the wildlife!  We were lucky enough to see three parrots and a whole flock of scarlet macaws.


Restaurant Recommendation  

Although there are lots of affordable restaurants with local cuisine in Jaco, which are called “sodas,” we wanted to check out a place with great reviews and that has been referenced on many travel blogs: Caliche’s Wishbone.  We were not disappointed!  Not only was the food amazing, it was very affordable.  They specialize in local food like “casados,” which is a plate with rice, beans, salad, fried plantains, other sides and your choice of meat.  Caliche’s casado also had mashed potatoes and a fried egg.  Actually, my husband was so impressed, he called “the original Costa Rican casado.”  However, most people eat there for the California cuisine like pizza cooked in the wood stove and burritos.  


Ready to explore more of Costa Rica?  Register for one of our 4-week TEFL courses today to jumpstart your adventure of living in Costa Rica!   


Costa Rica Excursions

La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Poas Volcano Tour

Hiking Barva Volcano

A Day Exploring San Jose

 




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