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San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Chicago, Illinois
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San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

We have a group of 6 women all in our early 30's going for a vacation in Costa Rica. Trying to decide between San Jose or Jaco. A few of us surf but that would be small part of the decision. We just want to have a safe time and go to clubs & restaurants that are fun & lively. Hoping for some input from the local experts please. Thank you.

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1. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Wow!..quite a choice OP, and despite my rabid love for most things San Jose I think your best choice is one night in San Jose (assuming you are coming into the SJ airport) with a nice restaurant (and lots of Members will recommend their favorites) like http://laesquinadebuenosaires.com/ then follow it up with the remainder of your holiday in Jaco. Those that surf have the opportunity to do so..those that don't can explore the coast from Manuel Antonio to Puntarenas. Lots of bars and happy places in Jaco, so the trip should be lively. Last night, plan to stay at http://www.adventure-inn.com/ with a quick shuttle to the airport.

Have a great holiday, and please come back soon.

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2. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Thanks for the quick reply Exbeachers2! Passed your comments on to the other girls in our group.

For Hotels we are thinking about Studio Hotel in San Jose since it's new and pretty good reviews.

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3. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Agree with Exbeachers that if those are your two choices for your groups vacation spot, it should be Jaco. Not only beach, but plenty of real fun bars and restaurants, shopping and fun tours!

Interesting choice of hotel in San Jose...you do know that Studio Hotel is not really in San Jose, right? It's in Santa Ana, a good 30 minutes from central San Jose where most of the action is, and where the restaurant is that Exbeachers recommends, which I agree is a good one! If you want to be closer to the city attactions in San Jose, look at Gran Hotel, Grano De Oro or even the Don Carlos hotel. Those would be good for a night/day in San Jose, then go to Jaco!

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4. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

I would stay as little time in San Jose as possible - if you must then stay in Santa Ana/Escazu area (west side), there are lots of places to go out and great restaurants. It is also much safer to go out at night there.

Stay in Jaco at Monaco condos - central location to bars and restaurants.

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5. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

OP, I will agree with rohrmoser that SJ has a gritty edge to it, but it is still a must see and do, with the Gold Museum opening shortly it would be a nice side trip, and a walk down the pedestrian walkway in the center of town to El Patio for a coffee and people watching, then the Central Mercado, a rabbit warren of sights and smells. Never thought of the Barrio Amon hotels like the Don Carlos, but thanks Allylam for those. Lastly, Santa Ana is a hike, and as Escazu has become very "Anglicized". if you want to be where the Ticos and Ticas hang out, then SJ Centro is the place to be. Taxis are inexpensive, and secure, just use the red taxis (taxi rojas) with the yellow triangles on the doors..they are the legal and insured cabs.

Have a great time

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6. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Exbeachers is correct SJ Centro is the place to be, for just 1 night and tour around the museums and city then spend the rest of your time in Jaco Beach. It is just maybe a 1 hour and a half drive from San Jose.

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7. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

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8. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Just my honest opinion, San Jose and Jaco would not be on my top ten list of Costa Rica's finest.

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9. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

I am agreeing with Cubanon on this one. Jaco has some good qualities but is rather famous for a certain kind of tourism (think: paid companion) and also for lots of drugs. And I would never willingly spend any amount of time in San Jose.

I like Bruce's suggestion of either Playas del Coco or Tamarindo. Your group could fly into Liberia, LIR, and be 30-45 minutes from either of these towns. Great beach, great nightlife and opportunity to see a volcano, do some whitewater rafting, etc. Usually flights into LIR are more expensive but right now, there are some really good sales going on.

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10. Re: San Jose or Jaco Beach for Group?

Thank you so much for everyone's response. It's been very helpful in deciding where to stay. Think at this point we'll take it safe and spend most of our time in Jaco.

So from the replies I take it the nightlife is not safe in San Jose for us? Even at the upscale clubs. We would like to all just let loose a bit and dance and have a good time but then we do not want our safety to be compromised.

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