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Jacó, Costa Rica

Jacó, Costa Rica’s most popular and developed beach town, is not your usual tropical paradise. In lieu of sparkling white sand, the local playa is a dark four-kilometer (2.48-mile) seashore along the central Pacific coast. Jacó’s main street runs parallel to the beach and hums with activity, day and night. When they are not surfing, sunbathing, hiking, or sampling the local cuisine, visitors are scoping and scooping Jacó, Costa Rica real estate properties.

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Apartments | Condominium for Sale, Jaco, Cos...

$ 172,500
Escape to paradise with this condominium located in the gated community of Costa Linda in ...
22 72.00 m2
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Apartments | Condominium for Sale, Jaco, Cos...

$ 194,000
Escape to paradise with this condominium located in the gated community of Costa Linda in ...
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Casa Grande

$ 2,500,000
Perched majestically atop a mountain in the breathtaking landscapes of Costa Rica, this st ...
55 1,931.00 m2

The Liveliest Beach Town in

Costa Rica

For most of its history, Jacó was a sleepy coastal town. Only ticos (native Costa Ricans) frequented the place, as well as adventurous surfers always looking for the next great surf break. It was only in the 1990s when Jacó slowly rose to prominence, first among Canadian tourists, followed shortly after by a growing number of expatriates.


Jacó, however, couldn’t keep up with its growing popularity. The amenities and services were rustic and basic at best, barely enough to sustain the locals. An earthquake further highlighted just how unequipped Jacó was to meet the needs of everyone, from Central Valley ticos to expats. But in 1991, William Royster arrived in Jacó, recognized the local real estate opportunities, and purchased over 1,000 acres (445+ hectares) of land north of town. This became the blueprint for the Los Sueños Resort and Marina, a development project that significantly transformed Jacó from a hidden gem into one of the fastest growing towns in Costa Rica.


Today, Jacó offers nearly all of the essential big-city conveniences in a beachfront setting. It’s ideally located 1.5 hours away from San Jose (the Costa Rican capital) and the Juan Santamariá International Airport. Its streets are now lined with a wide variety of real estate options, standing alongside a mix of international name-brands and local establishments.


The local population is roughly around 10,000 residents, but expect the numbers to swell during the high season, which runs from December through April.

Real Estate in

Jacó, Costa Rica

Although Costa Rica has no shortage of beautiful beach towns, Jacó is the only one that offers the fullest range of real estate options.

 

Home buyers and investors are spoiled for choice, from villas tucked deep within the jungle to high-rise luxury condos with breathtaking jetliner vistas of the central Pacific coast and Herradura Bay. Home prices start at US$100,000 and gradually increase the closer you get to the beach, with many direct waterfront condos starting at US$400,000.

 

Most of Jacó, Costa Rica real estate is open for all, including foreign buyers regardless of their resident status. Some exceptions apply in marine zones, however. In such cases, foreign buyers are only allowed limited ownership of the property through a corporation.

The best neighborhoods in and around Jacó

Jacó is divided into several smaller neighborhoods with their own unique characteristics and real estate offerings.


Jacó Beach is the town’s most developed community and the center of action, directly facing the blue-green waters of the Pacific ocean. The greatest concentration of housing options can also be found here, ranging from beachfront luxury estates and villas to high-end condos with easy beach access.


Everyone congregates in Jacó Beach, from locals to tourists, which makes the neighborhood exceptionally lively during the weekends and holidays. Although busy, living in Jacó Beach means being minutes away from not only the surf, but an almost-endless array of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and exciting nightlife.


Playa Hermosa or Hermosa Beach is located roughly 10 minutes south of downtown Jacó. The drive to this community is quite scenic, following the coastal Ruta Nacional Primaria. But this neighborhood’s crowning glory is its beach which, at six kilometers, runs even longer than Jacó’s.


The local real estate landscape consists of single-family homes, villas, and condos, some of which are located within gated communities such as Hermosa Palms and Opera Salvage. Buyers also have their pick of where to stay: surfside, in central Hermosa Beach, or closer to the lush greens of Hermosa Hills. The most sought-after residential real estate in Playa Hermosa are higher up in the mountains, where the air is cooler and the vistas better (and unobstructed).


Much like Herradura Bay, Hermosa Beach is quieter and more relaxed than downtown Jacó. The community, however, attracts its fair share of tourists, with numbers swelling during surfing season. Unlike its neighbors, most of Hermosa Beach’s shoreline is non-commercialized.


Esterillos is a small fishing village located south of Hermosa Beach and about a 25-minute car ride from downtown Jacó. It is divided into three sections – Oeste, Este, and Central – which all have access to Esterillos’ beautiful seven-kilometer beach.


Of these three neighborhoods, Oeste (West) is the largest and most developed, while the Este (East) area is known for its collection of high-end residential real estate. Higher up in the mountains, the local real estate market expands to include more single-family homes, condos, and vacant lots in gated communities.


Compared to Jacó, Hermosa Beach, and Herradura Bay, Esterillos is still relatively undeveloped– most of the amenities are located in Oeste. The village is, however, gaining popularity among tourists, expats, and surfers who are drawn to the area’s consistent clean breaks.


Los Sueños Resort and Marina, often simply referred to as Los Sueños, is the fruition of William Royster’s dream to create a world-class and upscale resort community in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast. It is located within the bounds of Herradura Bay, tucked between the playa and the valley.


The entirety of Los Sueños encompasses approximately 1,100 acres (445+ hectares). To date, there are 20 finished gated communities which feature a grand total of over 700 private residences. One of these neighborhoods is Altavista Residences, which overlooks the Marriott hotel and resort as well as the La Iguana golf course. Another notable community is Del Bosque, a small enclave of only 16 lots, making it among the most exclusive sections of Los Sueños.


Luxury amenities abound at Los Sueños. Topping the long list is Costa Rica’s first government-approved, full-service marina. Located right within the community, its wet slips can accommodate watercraft up to 180 feet in length. Right behind this facility is the Marina Village, which houses waterfront restaurants, shops, banks, and a few other services. The third main attraction at Los Sueños is the La Iguana Golf Course. Designed by none other than Ted Robinson, this 18-hole championship golf course also offers players a unique opportunity to tee amidst lush Costa Rican flora and fauna.


Owning a home at Los Sueños automatically comes with membership to the private Los Sueños Beach Club. It spans 4.6 acres of premium waterfront and includes a number of exclusive amenities, such as a free-form swimming pool, al fresco dining options, and an elevated white-sand beach.


Punta Leona is a short jaunt from Herradura Bay and about a 15-minute drive from downtown Jacó. The community is composed of several smaller neighborhoods that enjoy access to the white-sand Playa Blanca and the Punta Leona nature reserve, which covers 750 acres (300+ hectares) of land. Cliffside luxury estates, single-family homes, townhouses, and condos are some of the real estate offerings in the area.


Relatively unknown among mainstream tourists, Punta Leona is a slice of old Costa Rica in the Central Pacific coast. Primary and secondary forests cover the undeveloped and protected parts of the community; these spots serve as important habitats to over 330 bird species, such as the scarlet macaw. It’s easy to spot because of its scarlet-red-and-blue plumage. Three hiking trails weave throughout Punta Leona, all allowing for bird-watching and hiking within the area.

Living In

Jacó, Costa Rica

The Climate

Like most of Costa Rica, Jacó experiences defined dry and wet seasons; the former typically runs from December through April while rainfall is expected between May and November. Daytime temperatures are balmy and hover between 75 F and 95 F, with the sea breeze providing some comfort from the humidity. During the nighttime, temperatures drop to the 70s.


Communities located farther away from the surfside may experience hotter temperatures regardless of the season. This, however, does not always apply to hill or mountain.

The Cost of Living

While Costa Rica has a reputation for being one of the pricier destinations in Central America, living in the beach town of Jacó isn’t necessarily expensive. In fact, Jacó is well-known to be relatively affordable, not only among tourists but also home buyers and real estate investors, especially when compared to the resort community of Los Sueños.

Utilities, such as electricity and telecommunications, are reasonably priced. Monthly cellular plans are available, but messaging applications such as WhatsApp are widely used in Jacó and the rest of Costa Rica. Owning and maintaining a car can set you back US$600 to US$800 a month, but transportation costs significantly drop if you opt to use public transit. Goods are also affordable, but the best place to source fresh produce at great prices is the local farmers market.


Upon residency, you will be qualified to enjoy Costa Rica’s government-backed healthcare system: Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). Membership is mandatory for residency applicants, with payments (7% to 11%) depending on your monthly income. With Caja, you’ll have access to low-cost healthcare across the country, from hospitals in San Jose to the many clinics or EBAIS in Jacó and other communities.

Where to Eat in Jacó

Tourists and residents alike love the diverse array of culinary offerings available in Jacó. Some of the favorite restaurants and bars in town include the following:


  • Green Room Cafe Bar, which has a menu loaded with international and local favorites. It has inspired the love of many diners and drinkers since it opened in 2012. Whether you order a plate of small bites or one of their mains, you can rest assured each dish is prepared well using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Dinners are especially lively at Green Room; it’s often accompanied by live music entertainment featuring local and international talent.

  • Marea Alta, situated near the surf, is a 24-hour restaurant that has made a name for itself in Jacó for serving a bevy of fresh seafood dishes as well as regional specialties. Diners are consistently impressed with the restaurant’s generous servings whether they go in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight meal. Marea Alta is also an underrated spot for a great cup of coffee, served in the traditional drip style.

  • Soda Jacó Rustico, noted as one of the best traditional Costa Rican restaurants in town. Located by the beachside, this family-owned and operated restaurant has been serving Tico-style meals for over 20 years. Most of its customers are long-time regulars who keep coming back for Soda Jacó Rustico’s hearty buffet, which often consists of Costa Rican favorites. To order, take your time perusing the day’s offerings, let the waitress know what you like, and be served with a heap of good food at an affordable price.

  • Soda Garabito, another must-try soda that also serves home-style Tico favorites for lunch and dinner buffet. Guests have a larger selection of food to try, including vegetarian options. Like most sodas, Soda Garabito doesn’t have a fixed menu but does have mainstays, such as their must-try Desayuno Especial and beef soup.

Nightlife in Jacó

Time and time again, you will hear that Jacó is party central and with good reason– this beach town almost never sleeps. Whether it is a weekday or a holiday, you will find the following bars and clubs in Jacó constantly buzzing with activity:

  • Jacó Bar, which has been a fixture in the local nightlife scene since 2019. Certain days of the week are devoted to one or two cocktails; Mondays, for instance, are centered on margaritas, while Fridays are the best time to go for those in the mood for a specialty cocktail made by Jacó Bar’s talented mixologists. Live music entertainment is available every night, featuring homegrown talent as well as international acts.

  • Orange Pub, located on Jacó’s main drag, attracts a fairly young guest list with its trendy tunes and cocktails. Depending on the day and time, Orange Pub can be a quiet bar for late-night libations or the scene of a fun and dynamic dance-off.

  • PuddleFish Brewery, a gastro pub and microbrewery found in South Jacó. Its façade– that of an old construction warehouse– belies its tropical-inspired tasting room and outdoor beer garden. Various small plates, burgers, and sandwiches serve as the perfect complements to their craft beer, all brewed on-site. PuddleFish Brewery also hosts live music events several nights a week.
Other notable nightlife spots in Jacó include Jaco Blu, The Back Room, Los Manitos, the bar at The Backyard Hotel in Hermosa Beach, The Beer House, and Republik Lounge.

Outdoor

Recreation

Many people go to Jacó to party, but this beach town is first and foremost known for its reliable and beginner-friendly surf. Anyone who wishes to learn how to ride the local waves can sign up for instruction at any of the surf schools that line the beach. Advanced riders may find surfing at Jacó easy for their taste, but they only need to travel south to Hermosa Beach, an established World Surfing Reserve and Costa Rica’s National Surf Stadium. This surfing spot is known for powerful and energetic swells, especially during the wet season. For those who prefer to have their feet firmly planted on the ground, Jacó is surrounded by dense jungle waiting to be explored. Carara National Park, only a 25-minute drive north from downtown Jacó, is the last intact coastal rainforest in the region and a transition zone, as tropical dry forests start to proliferate as one heads further northwest. This is one of the best places to spot the scarlet macaw, whose vibrant plumage stands out against the emerald foliage.


In the opposite direction lies the sprawling Manuel Antonio National Park, approximately an hour’s drive south of Jacó. Established in 1972, it covers over 680 hectares (1,680+ acres) of biodiverse beaches, reefs, and rainforest. Visitors can spend their entire day lounging at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Espadilla Sur, take the land bridge to Cathedral Point, or spend their time bird- and wildlife-watching within the park’s bounds. Two other national parks are within easy driving distance from Jacó: La Cangreja National Park, a birding and hiking destination with trails that follow Rio Negro; and Los Quetzales National Park, which has cloud forests that serve as home to the resplendent quetzal, a near-threatened Neotropical bird species endemic to Central America and parts of Mexico. La Cangreja is an hour’s drive away from Jacó, while it takes approximately three hours to reach Los Quetzales. Both journeys, however, can be extremely rewarding for the avid outdoor enthusiast.

Live Your Version Of

Pura Vida in Jacó

Rich Coast Realty Group CR welcomes you to Jacó, Costa Rica. We are a full-service real estate agency with years of experience leading home buyers and investors to their dream properties in Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. Get in touch with our team today to see what Jacó has in store for you.

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