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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.

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