About 10 miles outside of Jaco, on the road to San Jose, there is large bridge that spans a river. On the San Jose side, there are several restaurants and vendors selling fruit. About half span on the bridge there are anywhere from 10 to 20 crocodiles beneath.
Be careful walking on the road here and crossing side to side!
Awesome surfing. Although we only had one really good day the beaches were great. The miscellaneous rain throughout the day was so refreshing and smelled great. It was neat to see black sand and beautiful water. We stayed just outside of Jaco and drank milkshakes at the local restaurant and made a lot of friends.
A sunset cruise on the Rio Grande Tarcoles. An amazing encounter with the avifauna and large crocodile population of this impressive but calm river. The sunset sets the mood for the gorgeous colors and animation of the mangrove and banks. Really something to see and experience.
2 hours boat ride (one guide, one driver, about 20 seated places, covered boat), 30 minutes from Jaco. They can pick you up at your hotel. 40$ per person including transport. They also give you a precious identification guide.
We saw crocodiles by the dozen. At some point, the captain even got out to feed one of their resident with a dead chicken. It was the occasion for some nice pictures!
But we also saw numerous birds: Pelicans, herons, egrets, ducks, stilts, whimbrels, sandpipers, vultures, hawks, ara macao, parrots, kingfishers, motmots, kingbirds, wrens, orioles, tanagers and so on!
And got an amazing view over the area, espacially respledisent at sunset.
The only thing seperating the tour from being one of the best of my life was the lack of experience or preparation or organisation in the boat. The guide would describe birds on only one side of the boat, so if you're seated on the wrong one, you don't get to see much (sit on the side of the guide!). The captain fed the crocodile from shore, but straigt in front of the boat, so anyone sitting beyond the third row wouldn't catch much of the show...
But overall, an amazing experience, a great way to explore the wildlife and make contact with the ecosystem.
Please visit my Jaco Travelogue to see more pics from this tour
Zip-Line Canopy Tour
The Zip Line Canopy tour is the most popular “Must Do” tour when visiting Costa Rica. You’ll safely glide high under the Rainforest Canopy treetops, down a series of 13 Zip Line cables and 15 Landing platforms, enjoying spectacular views of the Jungle canopy below and the Pacific Coast line.
The Vista Los Suenos canopy tour located in Herradura, just 10 minutes from the Los Suenos Marriott and Resort, and 10 minutes from Jaco Beach, offers the region’s most professional, safest, and highest quality canopy tour experiences.
Canopy tours run daily and start at 8:00am -10:00am -1:00pm -3:00pm.
Cost of Tour:
$60.00 per person without transportation. $65.00 per person with round Trip transportation. (Adults and children pay the same)
You can get exclusive discounted rates on the canopy tour and pay less, through email at email@example.com or by calling Toll Free from the USA 1-877-446-0653
Pick up and return transportation to and from your hotel/condo/rental home to the tour is easily arranged. Pick up times are 30 minutes prior to tour start time that you choose.
What to Wear:
Shorts, T-shirts, Sneakers or Sandals with heel supports (Teva or Keene style) No flip flops.
Hats are not necessary as you will be wearing a light safety helmet. Sunglasses are also not needed as you are under the treetops and shaded the entire time.
Length of Tour:
It takes between 1.5 to 2hrs from start to finish
Children from age 4 and up can safely participate. Ages 4-7 go tandem with a guide.
Advance reservation are strongly suggested, especially for weekend days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Reservations can be made in advance through firstname.lastname@example.org
You can bring a small camera and clip it to your harness, however large cameras and large camcorders are not suggested. There will also be a professional photographer on the tour with you who takes great pictures of your group throughout the tour. At the end of the tour a nice photo CD of your group is available to purchase.
Arranging an airport meet & greet and private transfer service in a nice new model van/bus, is the safest, easiest, and best way to get from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO), to the Jaco Beach and Los Suenos Marriott and Marina area.
A good option for arraning airport transfer service is through the folks at email@example.com or Toll Free from the USA
at 1-877-446-0653 as they offer nice vans, bi-lingual drivers, and good rates.
It is always better to take transfer service from the airport as opposed to renting a car in San Jose and driving yourself to the Jaco Beach / Los Suenos area as the roads leadingt there are not well marked and getting is easy to do and can be stressful to those that dont speak Spanish.
If you wish to rent a car once you arrive in the area, you can easily do so however Taxis are abundant, cheap, and easily accessed 24/7 to take you anywhere.
Imagine discovering Costa Rica’s beaches, rainforests, remote villages, waves, waterfalls, and wildlife while driving an ATV, sliding down a canopy zip-line cable, getting barreled, flying a hang glider, paddling a kayak, or making your way to Tortuga Island in a relaxing catamaran.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or how old you are – whether you’re a backpacker or a high-roller, Adventure Tours Costa Rica has got the tour and accommodations for you.
American-operated Adventure Tours Costa Rica has been the leading tour agent and operator in the Central Pacific for nearly 10 years recognized by both Fodor's and Frommer's travel guides.
Located right in the heart of Costa Rica’s most popular and closest beach town from San Jose – Jacó (now just one hour from the airport on the new highway).
From rainforest expeditions to five-star accommodations, Adventure Tours has the best deals and the most reliable international staff (American, Costa Rica, German, French).
Make your reservations ahead of time, they fill up fast. Pura Vida!
Sounds like it's scary, huh? Well to my surprise it was safe, simple, non taxing and fun!
When you arrive, they fit you out in a harness and helmet. They explain the procedures and safety requirements. From there, it is off to the gondola for a lift to the top of the mountain. All of the way you are accompanied by a very knowledgeable guide who usually has a degree in eco-tourism. Our guide was able to explain in English all of the flora and fauna we were seeing on our ride to the top.
At the top of the gondola, you take a short walk to the first slide, one of the shorter ones. The guides connect you to the slide, you relax and hang on! You go down the slide wire at a reasonable pace, a little fast, but not outrageous. At the other end, there is a device that slows you down for a smooth landing. There is no need to worry about slamming into a tree.
In 13 more slides, the longest being 1050 ft, you are at the bottom wishing you were back at the top.
Our tour included a delicious lunch of local favorites, shopping time in the little souvenir stand, and a tour of the gardens and snake zoo, where they have one of every poisonous local snake on display.
For those who just can't get up the courage to ride the slides, you can just go on the gondola ride.
Current and accurate information as of July 19, 2008
From years of living here in the Jaco and Los Suenos area, and personally trying everything there is to do here more than several times, and through various companies, tour operators, booking agents, and boats, here are the best recommendations for anyone making plans to vist this region.
The Big Game Sportfishing out of Los Suenos Resort & Marina is well known as the best in Costa Rica. It is however important to get connected with the right boats and Captains , if you wish to better your chances at catching a trophy Sail fish, Marlin, Mahi-Mahi-, Yellow fin Tuna, Wahoo, or Rooster fish. There are boats available in all size classes to fit different budgets. From personal experience as well as feedback from countless visititors we have interacted with over the years, the folks at Hooked on Costa Rica seem to be the most professional operation here, with the better quality boats and Captains. Their web site is locates at www.hookedoncostarica.com
Be careful of the multiple "sidewalk" tour booking agents on Main St. trying to hustle cheap fishing trips. You will get what you pay for, which is substandard and often unsafe boats, with old tackle and gear. You will likely not catch all of the big fish they promised and will end up dissapointed.
Tours - There are a lot of different tours and excursions in the Jaco area that are great fun and are definately worth experiencing. Canopy tours, ATV tours, and White Water rafting are the top three Must Do's while visiting Costa Rica.
There are also tour booking agents all over Jaco and on line that book with the same tour operators. We have found that the Jaco Tour Desk offers the best discounts and works with the areas best quality and safest tour operators. Going through a booking agent will get you discounts on many of the local attractions that you could not get on your own. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zip line canopy tour is a "must do" experience for everyone. There are 3 different canopy tour operators in the immediate Jaco area. The most popular one being Vista Los Suenos Canopy tour. They offer the most platforms and cables, and nicest equiptment, and longest cables.
ATV Mountain and Jungle tours - This is an awesome experience. There are 4 different ATV tour operators in the area, however we have found that Rica Ventura, located behind the Subway Restaurant on Main St, runs the best ATV tours. Their machines are really nice, their guides are very professional and safety oriented, and they have been operating here fo a long time. They offer 2, 3, and 4hr tours. I suggest the 3 hour tour as the best option.
Manuel Antonio National Park Wildlife tour - A great day trip to Manuel Antonio Park, located an hour South of Jaco. The ride there is really nice, with some incredible views along the way. This is where you will see a lot of Monkeys, Sloths, Pizotes, Parrotts, and many more animals. There are some incredible photo ops on this tour for sure.
I hope you fing this information helpful in planning your trip to the Jaco Beach area. This is an awesome place to visit, and by finding good, accurate, information you will arrive well armed with information and save a lot of time and money.
Do yourself a favor and stay away from the Lonely Planet books on Costa Rica. They are filled with a lot of bad, missing, out dated or inaccurate information. Trust me on this one as I rescue a lot of tourists here from the pitfalls of depending on the Lonely Planet books.
On the way to Jaco our bus driver stopped at this bridge so we could see the crocodiles. It is unbelievable to look down from the bridge at these huge creatures. I was glad we were on the bridge!! We saw at least 2 dozon...wouldn't want to walk along the river bank....we could see them lying in wait for lunch!!
If you have a few freinds with you, you'll want to get yourself on a boat and go have the time of your life. We got outselves a 38 footer, and for just over $100 a guy, we got a ride into Quepos (the local boats were all booked up), 12 hours of deep sea fishing, all you can eat and drink on board (the chef was awesome), and more laughs than you can shake a stick at.
Our guide was also thoughtful enough to ask if we wanted him to call a few whores to come along on the boat with us. We respectfully declined.
Imagine traversing from tree to tree, platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables. Sailing through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. In some case a couplem hundred feet below.
Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the rain forests and explain what is going on around you. This is a great way to see the inner Costa Rica, its natural beauty, and wildlife.
It also can be humorous, especially when your friend is so heavy he gets stuck in teh middle of a run and they have to send someone out to get him! (Sorry, no picture of that yet.)
The town of Jaco is small, and has only about 5,000 residents. Despite this, it still has anything you'll need to have a memorable tropical vacation. But take advantage of it's smallness, and have a nice walk the first day you're there. Get accustomed to what is there and where everything is. You'll be amazed on how quickly you pick things up.
Here is a picture of Mark, Enrique and Rob while walking back from doing a booze run at the Super Las Olas.
The Onyx is a really nice place to start the night. The upstairs is where the bar and pool tables are located, with an open air view of the main drag. We became friends with the awesome bartender by the name of Emerson, if you're ever there treat him right. This is often a place for gringos so if you want to meet some people from your homeland then this is a good place.
Partying at one of Jaco's many nightclubs is a must for someone staying in the town. There are many places, but some are more popular than others. The Monkey Bar is a neat place sporting big screen TV's on the walls playing surf videos while the dj spins everything from latin club music to 50cent. Many good lookin' ladies here and a big dance floor. Go Crazy , Pura Vida
Wonderful and easy to explore forest park. Numerous paths to see the rio tarcoles, creeks and a beautiful primary forest and its incredible fauna and flora.
Two set of trails, you still got to buy your tickets (and pick up your map) at the entrance. From this headquarters, you'll access 3 main paths, including the peaceful Sendero Quebrada Bonita. Or you can drive (or walk or hitchhike, as we had to do) 2 km toward the Rio tarcoles and enter the last trail, Sendero Laguna Meandrica, a long 4km walk alonside the river to spot crocodiles, turtles and shore birds.
Even without a guide, we had a blast and saw a lot of wildlife. On the Laguna trail, we saw jesus lizard, crocodiles, cormoran, herons, trogons, iguanas, blue butterfly morpho, white face monkey, howler monkey, and so on. And on the Quebrada sendero, we had the luck to see an Ara Macao!
We had a deal with our taxi driver from Jaco and for a reasonnable price (but not cheap), he took us to the park and also to the bridge over the tarcoles to see the crocodiles. Really worth it: quite impressive! Be careful if you drive your own car. A lot of theft occurs in parked vehicules over the bridge.
See more pictures in my Jaco travelogue.