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“Family Trip to Jaco-Excellent Dec 2009i” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jaco

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Jaco, Costa Rica
Maryland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Family Trip to Jaco-Excellent Dec 2009i”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2010

I am a single women and I took my three boys ages 19,18 and 10years. I with had been to Jaco 4 years previously with my boyfriend. I rely heavily on reviews for everything and felt it was my obligation to share mine. I did a lot research for this trip to get the most for my money.
I rented two phones in case my older boys wanted to explore by themselves. I used Costa Rica Cellular Connection. www.costaricacellularconnection.com Their representative met us at the airport in San Jose when we arrived with the phones. The instructions were very easy to use and understand. I think once we rented the phones, to call anywhere in Costa Rica was $10 a day. No problem with the phones. I had my Sprint HTC Pro2 phone (which is an international phone) set up with a international phone plan for one month so I could use it there. My service was great no problems. Actually though my son uses AT&T and he had no problem calling anywhere as well as getting and receiving texts from home without an additional plan. I will add that his bill was $60.00 higher, so a plan or phones would be best.
I hired a driver to pick us up Juan Carlos Castillo [--] I picked him over Gray Lines as he was cheaper and more willing to pick me up when I arrived. Gray lines wanted me to wait for a scheduled pick up that was two hours after we arrived. Juan Carlos was right there with our name on a sign when we walked down to the exit. The van was comfortable, clean and a private ride for my family only. Both of his drivers were awesome. They were very, nice, clean, and knowlegeable on the history of costa rica and pointed out many of the plants and other points of interest as we drove to Jaco. I was impressed. I gave the driver a $20 on the way to Jaco and the other driver $20 on the way to the airport from Jaco.
We stayed at the Best Western at the end of town. We had two rooms next to each other. The older boys in one and my youngest and I shared a room. I like that it was on the beach and we could walk out to the beach. There was an awesome buffett breakfast each morning. I had stayed there previously so I knew the rooms are not luxurious. They are not. For me and my three boys it was good, actually probably better then a higher rated hotel. We always had a more then enough towels, blankets, hot water, AC, TV and comfortable bed. The maids cleaned the room everyday and even made towels in to animals sometimes using local flowers like they do on cruise ships.
Our first adventure was of course a canopy tour. We used Canopy Vista Los Suenos. I liked them a lot. I thought they were very safe and we had a great time. My 10yr old, who I thought might be scared had no problems. All boys even did the zip line upside down once time. I used their photographer for our photos. I also took pictures, but I didn't want to have to worry about "catching the moment" and wanted to enjoy the time with my children. There was an additional fee. It wasn't much and they delivered the photo CD to the hotel that night. Well worth it and the picdtures were great.
The boys also took surf lessons. I used Jaco Surf School. I paid for private lessons. So each boy had their own instructor. Again I paid for their photographer-smart move again because he had a high powered lens. We have pictures of a lifetime. Jaco has a much more relaxed atmosphere so at first I was a little skeptical of the little stand on the beach and the bohemian looking photographer. The surf instructors spoke English, they knew exactly what they were doing. They were right there by my children the whole time. By 45min in to the lesson they boys were begining to stand up by themselves on the board and surf short distances. By the second hour they were surfing!
That was a "everything was worth it" experience. Just watching your childrens confidence grow while having fun and bonding. The photos were spectacular. Great shot after great shot again delivered to us on CD to our hotel. Afterwards we had a late lunch with Gustavo Castillo (dutch) at the resturant behind the school. Just hanging out with the local crowd.
We also did a horseback riding trip. It was up the mountain trail with beautiful views of the coast. We had lots of fun and we saw monkeys and toucans on the trip
We took several trips in to Jaco during our stay. A cab for the four of us was about one US dollar from one end of town to the other. We walked all over Jaco shopping. Never did we feel threatened walking around on our own. Like any city be aware of your surroundings. I will say the latest we would walk around and shop was 7pm (dark). If we went after that it was to a resturant and back to the hotel by cab.
My children and I had a great time. I wanted them to see another culture where people spoke another language. I booked the hotel and airfare myself on Expedia. The whole trip for 5 days including air, hotel, food, surfing, canopy tour, horseback riding and spending money was about $5000

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis
1 review
“Amazing Guy Trip!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2010

Three friends and myself set off to Jaco Beach April 15th thru the 21st of 2010, not knowing exactly what to expect. We were looking for a vacation spot with good weather, friendly locals, interesting activities, good restaurants and fun night life. We got that and much, much more! Our first concern was lodging until we came across the beach house rental Casa Tierra Viva, casatierraviva dot com, this place is amazing, perfect for a guy trip! It is centrally located right on Jaco Beach. Everything is within walking distance, bars, restaurants, nightlife and a ton different tours and excursions. Even the bank and store was a block away, we didn’t have to take one taxi while we were there, even though there are plenty waiting for fares at all times. The house is beautifully landscaped and the accommodations are above standards. You can relax by the very cool pool all day while listening to the Pacific Ocean that is only 300 yards from the back gate or you can take a dip in 85 degree ocean water. The beaches are clean and the waves are big. Jaco is a surf town and you are reminded daily by the many surf shops, surfers and the general laid back atmosphere of the town. Also the owner of Casa Tierra Viva, Steve, is a really cool dude. He was able to offer up suggestions on things to do and he is an interesting conversationalist. Just make sure you ask him “If he has any advice about what to watch out for while in Jaco?” We got a very interesting reply to that question. Steve also has a beautiful caretaker, Nicole, who comes in every morning to clean and spruce up the place. She is very nice and is more than willing to help make your stay comfortable. Make sure you give her a nice gratuity at the end of your stay, she deserved it after cleaning up after us. I highly recommend this house for your vacation in Jaco! On a side note check out.adventuretourscostarica dot com, we did the canopy tour and ATV tour through them and it was amazing!

P.S. Give Hank the dog a pat on the head for me!

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Florida
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“I had a PHENOMENAL time in Jaco”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2010

I had an incredible time in Jaco. I was a little bit leary at first because I heard some stories that spooked me, but it is SO worth visiting Jaco. No visit to Costa Rica is complete without checking out both Jaco and the surrounding area.

The area is unreal beautiful. Lush, tropical/rainforest vegitation, mountain, perfect waves, tons of tours and great nightlife. It is super-quick from San Jose with the completion of a new highway that get you there in about an hour from San Jose.

I fell in love with - and in - Jaco.

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Jordan, Ontario
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great place if you want to party!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

Travelled to Jaco over the New Year's holiday with my husband and teenagers. Reading reviews and speaking to friends we were a little fearful ... heard drugs and prostitutes were everywhere ... but as i always say ...if you're looking for trouble you'll find it ... be street-smart and you'll be fine. We kept all our valuables in the hotel safe. As you have to carry identification with you, and passports are highly valued by less savory characters, there is a place in town that photocopies and laminates your passport into a credit card size .... definitely worth the investment! The kids went into town during the day together, but we wouldn't let them wander around after sunset. We carried our money in our front pockets and didn't flaunt any possessions. On the beach, do not leave anything unattended if you want to keep it.

Jaco is a party town ... many good restaurants and bars. The prostitutes come out at night, but none approached us, as we were obviously a family. Only when my husband was alone did he get approached about drugs, but was left alone, when he told the seller that he wasn't interested.

We enjoyed delicious steak at The Argentinian Grill, a traditional Tico lunch at a small soda beside Hicaco Restaurant, good pizza at a restaurant on the southeast side of town (can't remember the name but it was near the argentinian grill), and delicious burgers and veggie burgers at Papas & Burgers.

As we stayed in a condo, there are two grocery stores on the main strip, but it's worth the $5 US to travel by taxi (including wait time) to the Maxi Bodega for a bigger selection of groceries, necessities and liquor.

We were warned to stay off the beach after dark as the "addicts" abound. We enjoyed the beach at sunrise, as it is cool enough to enjoy the walk and a wonderful way to wake up. The north side of the beach is rocky ... but a nice walk at low tide.

The kids and hubbie took surf lessons from El Pana ... $100 for the three of them (2 hours - which my husband said was more than long enough for beginners). Their surf instructor was Erly Farrier, and he's hoping to start his own business, he can be reached at [--]

We rented a car, and drove to Quepos to hook up with Canopy Safari for a zip line tour and dinner. The guides were professional, safe and FUN! I'd suggest going in the morning as you have a better chance of seeing wildlife.

As I have some physical limitations, and could not enjoy the zip line, we also travelled to "Rainmaker" park outside of Quepos for a jungle hike. Numerous rope bridges took us through the rainforest. Unfortunately, it appears that the park has fallen on tough ecomic times as some of the paths were no longer maintained... too many zip lines for competition i assume. Again a morning hike would be recommended. They provide walking sticks, take water and some snacks on the hike. It is approx. 2 km, but as the views are spectacular and the climbs long, it took us about 2 hours to enjoy the sites.

I would recommend:
- bring a flashlight and candles as power failures are very common.
- leave valuables at home
- rent a car, as there a many beautiful sites to see outside of town
- learn some spanish, and bring a dictionary ... it makes the experience so much better!
- if you have a small laptop or ipod bring it along, many wifi spots in town, so you can stay informed

We stayed at the Ramada Condo Hotel ... i would NOT recommend this property, as there are many other properties closer to the beach and action; the price did not reflect the quality of services.

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Kansas City, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Super laid back, lots to see and do!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2009

We rented a house in Herradura, right outside of Jaco - see my pics, this house was a big part of our adventure - it was amazing! Drove into Jaco for lunch, dinner and beach and never had any issues, got standard tico time service and had good (and cheap) food. Jaco is centrally located in Puntarenas and it is easy to get just about anywhere. We rented a car but saw tour buses constantly going in all directions. Easy 1 hour drive to Manuel Anotonio and Quepos - day trips from this location were a breeze. The beach is so so, good for people watching, Herradura a little quieter, Hermosa pretty rough and Manuel Antonio is gorgeous. There was so much to see right in that area I never felt as if I had missed out. I know there is so much more to CR and we will go back to see it, but all in all I loved it here and would go back in a minute. There are planty of markets and grocery stores in the area as well.

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