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Onto the worlds best taco later, but I will say that the food and drink in Jaco was definitely our favourite thing about the place. It’s a funny place and I wasn’t sure about going there as it has a bit of a reputation as a party town and not pretty and laid back as per other places in Costa Rica. The main reasons for staying were location – it was up the coast from Manuel Antonio and a good jump off point for heading north and also I knew, it had a bit more going on in terms of facilities and shopping. Which it did. Which was super handy. I’d ditched some clothes in a last minute panic about hand baggage weight for flying and I’d had some clothes ruined in the previous hotel as bleach had gotten on them somehow. I was correct in thinking this was my last opportunity for normal shops to pick stuff up in. Ekono is a good shop for cheap clothes finds in lots of sizes.
Our accommodation, the Hostel Buddha House, like many in Jaco is pretty small but makes the most of the space and we loved this hotel. There’s a small pool, they do breakfast, they do interesting food in the evening, they are super friendly and our bed was huge and really comfy (my bliss right there). Only downside is that they had a tendency to play the same music over and over which could drive you a little crazy if you were hanging out for a few hours.
There’s a huge beach here but it definitely feels more like an urban beach. We’d come from such beautiful beaches so we just weren’t bothered by it and other than the odd walk we didn’t go down there much. Although the sea seemed calmer here it was still a big surfer spot and there were plenty of surfer dude types and many more younger people as people come a couple of hours from the city for a long weekend of beach and party.
Food and drink
For a short stay in a small place, we had some great food and drink experiences. The healthy smoothies here were to die for and not just tasty and healthy, but soooo pretty. It’s important no? There was craft beer aplenty, including a great little micro brewery, Puddle Fish. Not amazingly atmospheric (in a small open-air shopping mall -but that is kinda Jaco for you), but a great choice of beer.
Poke is a thing that seems pretty popular in Costa Rica. I guess it seems incredibly far away from Hawai, but we are on the Pacific coast. And some genius who deserves a handshake and a knighthood and everything in between has come up with the poke taco. This contains, amongst other things, sticky rice, mango, and tuna sashimi. AND IT IS EPIC. That is all I have to say. It really doesn’t look it. But it was. This was at Caliche’s Wishbone Restaurant.
Ohana Sushi, Tapas Y Bar
Again we only found this place on the last night and I was gutted because after devouring their amazing drinks, I so wanted to try their food, but I’d decided I couldn’t not try Caliche’s Wishbone Restaurant before I left as the reviews were quite ravey. The food that was coming out smelled and looked really good. But I digress. The drinks were the best cocktails I have had in a long, long time and not at a jaw-dropping price. The ginger margaritas were great but the cucumber and wasabi martini was the most amazing drink I have supped in a very, very long time. True magic. Kudos to those guys.
Green Room cafe bar
This is a nice place to hang out – good craft beer, live music, but sadly we had the most miserable waitress I have ever encountered which was a tad off-putting.
For some reason, Jaco is big on cool benches. Who doesn’t love a hamburger bench!
There was a fountain and a few other bits in a central park in the same style and painted in the same colour as things in my adopted home town of Brighton in the UK.
How do these palms stand up so tall?
I have never seen such an amazing array of inflatables.
Jaco is mostly based along a fairly busy main road, and although there were no official crossings, vehicles pretty much always stop for you if you walk into the road so getting across is never an issue. This is something we first noticed in Atenas. It’s not necessarily pedestrian friendly as there may not be pavements or crossings, but people just stop for you. Maybe part of being a chilled out nation?
A Snappy Ride from Manual Antonio
We booked a Caribe shuttle minivan shuttle from Manuel Antonio to Jaco. This company is great and we used them whenever we could. One of the things I knew to look out for on the journey, not too long before you reach Jaco, is the Tarcoles Bridge. This is a notorious bridge on the main road, which is great for viewing the crocodiles that frequent the waters below. You can’t really miss it as the traffic slows and lots of cars are parked up around the edges. We didn’t stop but definitely would recommend if you’re in your own car. But we were going slowly enough to get a good look and everyone took a sharp intake of breath when we saw how ENORMOUS these crocs are. I have never seen anything like it. And the fools that like to go down the bank and get a closer look to take their selfie – are seriously risking becoming a snappy snack.