We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

NE
Level Contributor
9 posts
Save Topic
Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

I recently read a post that really turned me off from going to Costa Rica. The post went on about how unsafe, touristy and overly tacky it is. It spoke about the beaches being rocky not sandy and contaminated, shady characters and a multitude of prostitutes. I don't mind the bar scene, however the level of safety required is important to us as well as the beaches. We would all like to enjoy clean uncontaminated waters.Touristy? well I guess that should be expected to some extent but tacky?? what does that mean?? Isn't touristy equivalent to tacky anyway?

Is all this true? If so, what are better places to visit in CR?

We were looking to rent a house with another couple and their 10 yr old son. Having read the post last night I'm not sure that's the plan anymore. I am completely bummed out and disappointed.

Any information or advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Isa

BTW...I visited CR (not Jaco) about 6yrs ago my sister was living in Heredia and it seemed fairly safe, we never had any issues and I thought it was a beautiful coutry that I always said I'd return to explore.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,517 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

Why go to Jaco where there are a hundred other, much nice beach towns?

Look into Tamarindo, Nosara, Samara, Playa Carillo, Mal Pais, Montezuma, Playa Hermosa, Manuel Antionio, Dominical, Utiva, Puerto Viejo, or Manzanillo.

All much better alternatives to Jaco

Florida
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

We had been to Jaco a couple of years ago and wanted to try a new place this time. We booked a vacation with Third World Productions in Playa Nosara. It is a much quieter place than Jaco or Tamarindo. The beaches were beautiful and the people were great. Would definitely would recommend this area.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
259 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

It's sorry to say that Jaco would be the last place I will go to take familiar vacations, 15 years ago it was a nice place but sadly the "tourists" that almost nobody wants because they are just looking prostitutes and drugs have changed this place.

But the good news is that we have 98% more places including a lot of beautiful places in which tourist with their families, children etc find an excellent place to have vacations.

I prefer Guanacaste Beaches, also with a great variety you could find peaceful beaches (Playa Grande), crowd beaches (Tamarindo), white sand beaches (Flamingo), shell beaches (Conchal) and other beautiful places like in Golfo de Papagayo and more and more.

Also I will mention non beaches places but beautiful as Monteverde and Arenal in which you can find rain forest one of the out f this world smelling sensations.

Knoxville
Level Contributor
27 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

I have been twice this year and will go back in dec for 12 days I loved jaco stayed at the villas estrellamar the place was safe and quiet a three min walk to the beach" sandy beach"that is a went boogie boarding every day the owners tom ,candie,bill,and diana were great and very friendly check out their web site thats how we found them I love the nightlife in jaco a neat little party town with a great sushi bar called tuisumi I think its upstairs in the center of town its close enuff to the rainforest to rent a car and spend a day

we went to a waterfall about 15min from town 650ft it was great to swim and play in the water I felt safe everywhere we went

On the road
Destination Expert
for
Level Contributor
164 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

Like anything, Jaco is what you make it.

The three main groups that come here are the local Ticos on break from San Jose, surfers, and guys on fishing trips.

If you are looking for a "tranquilo" atmosphere or the best beach in CR - this is not it! If you are looking for a quick beach trip from SJO, good waves (esp. next door at hermosa) or lots of night life - then Jaco is for you.

That is the basic break down; Jaco is not for all, but it is not as bad as people make it.

Owen Sound, Canada
Level Contributor
628 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

I am not a "Jaco Lover". Almost any of the places listed above are a better choice. Costa Rica is full of beautiful places and great people -don't waste your time in Jaco.

cheers

Jerry

Panajachel...
Level Contributor
730 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

I used to run down Jaco like some of the other posteres here having only visited briefly. Yes, most of the other beach towns are nicer but I still like the place. Hotel Club dle Mar is at the south end of town above the beach and is luxurious and quiet. Here's what my brother wrote for Costa RIca Guide:

Jacó: Cheesy Tourist Town?

Most hotels in Jacó stink; they’re generally cheap and dirty, with surfers camping in the parking lot. The noisy strip through town is annoying, lined with t-shirt shops and seemingly hundreds of places hustling half-day tours to Monteverde (not practical) and overpriced fishing trips in leaky local pangas. Tacky bars heave with dubious ladies of the night and dreadlocked, grungy North Americans offer drugs. The tourist restaurants are overpriced. The beautiful beach is thronged with young, sexy surfers doing their thing like some sort of exotic seals. They won’t bother you. You can avoid the noise and crap easily enough. You can sit in a bar and gaze out over all this while sipping a Bavaria Negra. I like the place.

Knoxville
Level Contributor
27 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

Hello after reading all this stuff about Costa Rica and Jaco I just had to plan another vacation before December flying into San Jose on the 29th of August for six days. I will be staying at Jaco, I will take plenty of photos and post a full report when I get back. I don't go to surf. I don't go to pick up hookers. I go to have a good time good food and visit friends. I stay at the villas Estrellamar it's very quiet, very clean, and the staff is very friendly I get out and walk through town every day. I usually get an Internet café check my e-mail, grab a bite of lunch. Go back to the hotel relax in the hammocks and watch a movie sometimes I walk down the beach and watch the sunset or sit at a bar and watch the sunset. Sometimes I try to boogie board I also like to go to tsunami sushi

for their happy hour they have a very friendly staff yes Jaco is not for everyone but it is the closest beach to San Jose. You're not far from the rain forest and the locals for the most part are very friendly

Costa Rica
2 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

Isa,

Costa Rica is what you make of it. You can hang out with monkies of all types, and you can choose you friends and where you go.

Costa Rica, while it has it's seedy side, also has one of the most highly developed tourist infrastucture of any central American country. not includeing Mex. Jaco has become a little agressive in tourism and developement. If you are looking for something more removed from the hustle go to Drake Bay. There you will have the beach to yourself, and it is beautiful. Mountains coming down to the sea, rivers that run through everyday. the best wildlife (animals that is) in the entire country.

Greg

NE
Level Contributor
9 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Contaminated beach, shady characters and prostitutes Jaco?

Well...thanks everyone for your responses. We leave Jan 11 and have decided to spend 2 days in arenal and 6 days in Manuel Antonio. We will be renting a car while in Quepos (MA) but have not decided on what we will do for transportation to Arenal and back to MA. Still working on that one. We may drive to Jaco to see what all the fuss is about since our friends and their 10 yr old son are no longer coming on this adventure.

Really looking forward to it. :)

Once again thanks for all your replies.