Destinations North America

What to do in Downtown Jacó Beach, Costa Rica

Looking to check out downtown Jacó, Costa Rica? Maybe Cost Rica isn’t even on your radar. I had heard many different things about Jacó before I arrived. What was true? What was not so true? Keep reading to find out.

Downtown Jacó Overview

Downtown Jacó has many restaurants and shops. There is an international bank/ATM where I was able to withdraw money. Check out all the local supermarkets and discount stores. Spot a pharmacy on every single corner. Then there are a lot of bakeries.

Crossing the street in downtown Jacó is an extreme sport. There are crosswalks and the occasional stop light but the cars are always going fast and it’s very chaotic. Just be careful.



Below are a few recommendations for places that I enjoyed visiting.

Jacó Walk is an open air shopping center. I had high hopes. Most of the businesses were medical centers or businesses for local people. There is one gem of a shoe store though. I got a really cute pair of shoes for my mother. It’s called Shoe Store and Boutique. You’ll see what I bought in a future post all about shopping in Jacó. The shop location is in my Jacó Google map, at the bottom of this post.

Pops is an ice cream shop. Their slogan is “Costa Rica’s best Ice Cream since 1968.” My sister got a green smoothie that she enjoyed.

Dolores Shop is a cute boutique that sells handmade items by a local designer. She works out of Tamarind  Beach, Costa Rica and has various shops throughout the country. It reminded me and my friends of a Costa Rican version of Anthropologie. I was able to get a cute pouch as well as a dress shirt for a gift (the pouch is below). If you’d like to support the designer, she has a shop on Etsy.

There are lots of different liquor stores to pick up bottles of local liquor. We went to Jacó Wine and Liquor Premium. The sales associate was very helpful at recommending local rums. Ron Centenario is a popular local brand.


Isaga was recommended to us for traditional Costa Rican food. I had their signature Isaga fish which included a cream sauce, heart of palm, and shrimp with vegetables and rice on the side. It was reasonably priced and very flavorful. The location is right off of the main road and easy to find. This is also in the Google map below.

Downtown Jacó Nightlife

I spoke to three different people about Jacó, Costa Rica before I arrived. They all said the same thing: seedy nightlife, and/or prostitution.


Keep in mind that this is my opinion. On the weekend, after a certain hour I would not want to be out at night. I never felt unsafe. However, the nightlife got wilder and it seemed as if certain shops opened at that time that were not open during earlier hours.

Another night I was out in downtown Jacó and it was so much more calmer with so much less people. All in all I would avoid going out at night on the weekends if wild night life is not your thing.

The nights I went out during the week I had a great time. I went out to eat at a great restaurant one evening. And another evening I spent my time shopping for souvenirs.

Jacó Beaches

I had heard about the beaches of Costa Rica. I had also seen lots of pictures.

The beaches are beautiful (top image). Don’t get confused with the white sand beaches of places like Cancún. The sand is volcanic and has a mud texture when wet. It felt amazing on my skin, almost like a mud mask.

One thing I liked about the beaches is that they were steps from downtown Jacó. You don’t have to drive for miles to get to the coast. And when you’re at the beach you can see the mountains right there too.


Have you been following the blog for a while? Two years ago travel halted to a stop. I created a post called “My Dream Travel Bucket List 2020/2021” to keep my travel dreams alive. In that post, I listed Costa Rica as one of my dream destinations. The dream came true. Don’t forget to write things down. You can surprise yourself when you reach your dreams unexpectedly.

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