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16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Jacó, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida! The saying you’ll hear everywhere in Costa Rica means a lot of things but literally translates to “pure life” or “simple life.” A bit like aloha, pura vida has a lot of connotations. It’s a greeting you’ll encounter throughout the country, and you may even find yourself saying it when you get home.

Costa Rica is one of the most enchanting, magnificent places on the planet. From eating my body weight in casado (the country’s national dish of rice, beans, veggies, salad, protein, and often cooked plantains) to ziplining over forest canopies, it is a place that has cemented a spot in my heart.

Generally, Costa Rica is an affordable international destination. That carries over to the hotel options, particularly in a place like Jacó. You won’t really find overly expensive, luxury properties here. Most places will either be budget or mid-range — though the resorts might be much more than you’d expect for the price. From bigger resorts with casinos and shopping to more intimate and boutique spots, the Jacó area really runs the gamut.

On the Pacific side, Jacó is home to incredible beaches, nature, and culture. The city has a reputation for being a party town because of the nightlife but there is still plenty to do outside of partying. Though not as big as Costa Rica’s capital city of San José, there are still plenty of things to do in Jacó, Costa Rica.


  • Most significant landmark – El Miro
  • Best park – Carara National Park
  • Best free activity – Visiting the Beach
  • Best activity for kids – Tortuga Island tour
  • Best activity for adults – ATV tour
  • Best food – El Hicaco Seafood
  • Best nightlife – Orange Pub
  • Best all-around accommodation – Crocs Resort & Casino

Fun & Best Things to Do in Jacò, Costa Rica

1. Visit the Carara National Park

Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica
prasitphoto / Adobe Stock

National parks are among the most worthwhile things to do while visiting the country. Not only are they some of the most biodiverse parks on Earth, but their resident creatures are also a sight to behold. Within Carara National Park, you’ll also find the Tárcoles River, or the Río Grande de Tarcoles, which is full of crocodiles.

Brightly colored birds dot the trees throughout the tropical rainforests within the national park. Macaws, toucans, and dozens of other species thrive here. Plus you might get lucky and spot a sloth!

Carara National Park’s famous Crocodile Bridge…

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