A Northern view from our balcony
After spending ten days in Jaco I feel like we can give an honest review of this tourist destination. Lonely Planet refers to Jaco as a cultural wasteland and a magnet for all kinds of people – backpackers, surfers, Tico tourists, and slimy old gringos looking to score a young gal. I would completely agree with this description. While I enjoyed the scenic views, our luxury condo and gourmet food (a family vacation – opposite of the norm), I couldn’t wait to get the heck outta there. Everything is overpriced, the prostitutes are everywhere, the weekends – especially Easter – were completely packed, and honestly, the waves were far from impressive. I like to think of Jaco as Texas’ South Padre Island. It’s fun to go once or twice, especially if you like clubbing, but the commercialism and air of sleaze quickly becomes off-putting.
If you are looking for gourmet food, you almost can’t go wrong. I recommend Grafitti’s, Pili Pili, Lemon Zest, and another wonderful treehouse-esque place that is connected to the Fish and Chips restaurant off of the main drag. I ate a boatload of seared tuna that was absolutely delicious while everyone else had mouthwatering babyback ribs (reportedly so fall-off-the-bone you could eat the bone – do people do that??), steak, red snapper, and gourmet sliders. MMMMM we were definitely spoiled the first week of the trip.
For surf shops, I would recommend Walter’s on the main drag and Carton Surfboards, which was right outside of town (North, I believe). Carton is a local shaper with an impressive shop. I loved walking in and feeling like I was at our Houston shaper’s shop. He hooked me up with a sweet deal after hearing about how our boards were snatched by some a-hole in the Miami UPS warehouse. Ryan got a steal of a deal at Walter’s on a barely used Al Merrick Kelly Slater model. Both great shops with great people.
Ryan and his mom enjoying a walk
As we pulled into Quepos, we both remarked that this is the Costa Rica we remember and we are thrilled to be continuing our journey South.