Jacó Beach is the first developed beach town on the Pacific Coast as you head south. It's a large pretty beach, and its proximity to San José makes it popular and, by Costa Rican standards crowded - though it will seem relatively quiet to many visitors who may be used to shoulder-to shoulder sunbathing on their own crowded beaches. Jacó has something of a reputation as a 'party-beach' - especially during the dry season - but it's pretty sedate compared to some North American party beaches, like Daytona Beach in Florida. Nevertheless, it's popular with young people and vacation-package visitors. Swimming is possible, though you should be careful of rip currents (people drown each year) and avoid the areas nearest the estuaries, which are polluted.
The turnoff from the Costanera Sur for Jacó is just 3.5 km beyond Herradura. Playa Jacó is about 2 km off the Costanera. the beach itself is about 3km long, and hotels and restaurants line the road running behind it. Development has been fast in Jacó - perhaps too fast. The crowded centre of Jacó can get somewhat trashed at the end of a busy weekend, although the fringes are quieter and cleaner. However hoteliers and tourist-industry personnel are making successful efforts to keep the beach clean. Though there are many quieter and less crowded places elsewhere, Jacó continues to grow and draw tourists who want to hang out in a busy beach town.
Information for Surfers:
When the surf is not too big, there can be quite a good beach break but it teds to close out when it gets over 5 feet. The waves are not always dependable, but Jacó is close to Playa Hermosa.