Jaco and the surrounding Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica are dotted with spectacular national parks and beaches offering a breadth of coastal experiences and wildlife viewing opportunities.
While small in size, Carara National Park’s massive importance comes from its location in a transition area between the dry forest region in the north and the humid Pacific Rainforest to the south. Carara has flora and fauna from both ecosystems, and the forest that covers the majority of the park is an ideal environment for rare wildlife like the Scarlet Macaw, Collared Aracari, and several monkey species.
Bring: cool comfortable clothes, hiking shoes, sunblock, hat, insect repellent, camera, and binoculars
With a setting of warm ocean breezes, soft sand, and the crashing of the surf, this island cruise is amazing! Head to Tortuga Island, the Jewel of the Gulf of Nicoya – a location with a fortune in natural assets, including turquoise waters, submarine wonders, a tropical dry forest, and white sand beach. Keep a sharp eye out for the huge variety of wildlife you can spot on this unique adventure.
Bring: comfortable cool clothes, swimsuit, sandals, towel, sunblock, camera, and binoculars.
Climb the small mountain range between the Carara National Park and the protected Turrubares zone. The Bijagual Waterfalls plummet from cliffs deep in the jungle, and your ride will give you stunning views of both the Pacific Ocean and the nearby coastal fishing villages. Expert naturalist guides will help you spot the wildlife as you venture deeper along the jungle trail. Once you’re at the waterfall, take a swim to cool off in the clear pool at the base! Afterwards you’ll have some time to explore this magical location.
Bring: hat, walking shoes, light jacket, insect repellent, sunblock, and camera
Experience a ton of excitement while exploring one of the few transitional forests remaining between the tropical dry and tropical humid forests of Costa Rica. This tour takes about 3 hours in all, and consists of gliding along platforms connected by steel cables, suspended in the canopy. You’ll use safe pulleys and climbing gear to explore 60-132 feet above the forest floor! After the adventure, visit Blanca Beach for some free time.
Bring: long pants, cool comfortable clothes, walking shoes, sunblock, camera, binoculars
Jungle River & Crocodile Adventure
The wonders of nature are here to be found! Adventure on the Pacific Coast, along the Tarcoles River, near the Carara National Park. This area is surrounded by mangroves and exists in a transitional forest, where hundreds of different species of flora and fauna flourish. Large colonies of crocodiles live here – some getting up to 20 feet in length! This is also a nesting site for the Scarlet Macaw, as well as the home to 250 other species of birds. Visit during the migration period, from October to April, to spot gulls, terns, cormorants, pelicans, and frigates
Bring: cool comfortable clothes and shoes, insect repellent, sunblock, hat, binoculars, and camera.
About an hour south of Jaco and Playa Herradura on the Central Pacific Coast is little Manuel Antonio National Park, a must-see coastal rainforest. An experienced naturalist guide will lead you on an informative hike through the stunning Manuel Antonio National park. Though the main attractions of this park are its two white sand beaches – Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio – it also protects coastal rain forest, a mangrove swamp, coral formations and 12 islands that serve as seabird sanctuaries. Your guide will teach you about the park’s distinctive plant life and point out some of the resident fauna, which includes 109 mammal species – including 3 species of monkeys, agouti, three toed sloth and 184 species of birds.
Bring: sunscreen, swimsuit and towel, beach sandals, insect repellent, camera, and hat.
Located in the Central Pacific Coast, the Aerial Tram Park is a 222 acre eco-tourism project that encourages guests to explore the hanging gardens and hidden secrets of the tropical rainforest from a unique perspective. A 40 foot waterfall, massive rainforest trees, and panoramic ocean views all have a whole new significance when seen from the maximum 130 feet above the ground! After this adventure, keep your feet on the earth by exploring the herbarium, which has a complete selection of medicinal, aromatic, and condiment plants.
Bring: walking shoes, shorts or light-weight pants, hat, binoculars, insect repellent, sunscreen, and camera.