Surf Spot Guide

Jaco, Costa Rica

In our surf spot guide to Jaco, Costa Rica we will tell you about the location, the temperature, surf conditions, season, and even the pros and cons.


Jaco, Costa Rica is the unofficial surf city/tourist spot of Costa Rica. Not only does Jaco have the most nightlife, restaurants, and surf schools in Costa Rica, it also has some pretty good waves.


Compared to Pavones, getting to Jaco is easy as pie. From the San Jose Airport you can take an Uber, taxi, or shuttle to the bus terminal in the heart of San Jose. The buses down to Jaco are around $40 USD and the ride is only 2 hours. You can also rent a car but it’s pretty expensive to rent a vehicle in Costa Rica.

The plus side of having a car is you can visit other surf spots on the south coast. One beach you will want to visit when you’re in Jaco, if you’re an advanced surfer, is Playa Hermosa, just 15 minutes east. We also suggest visiting Playa Dominical, a low-key healthy hippie type of surf town less than an hour from Jaco.


Jaco has every kind of accommodation: 5 star hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, long-term rentals, even campsites. No matter your style of travel Jaco has an option for you.


Costa Rica’s tropical climate means it’s warm all year with a wet and dry season. Being so close to the equator you’ll need all your protective Platinum Sun gear to stay safe from the sun’s strong rays.


There are plenty of surf spots in Jaco all of which are beach breaks. The best time to surf is early morning before the wind and the crowd arrive. Jaco has a fast breaking almost mushy wave when swell is small and the tide is low. When the tide goes up the wave is still fast but has some length. On a normal day the ride is about 150 ft, and on a good day the ride on a wave is long at 500 ft or more.

The best time to surf is high tide when swell is more than 5 feet. Be careful though, in Costa Rica 4 feet can actually be overhead and barrelling so always check the spot and look for surfers at the same level as you.


Surf Season in Jaco, Costa Rica is pretty consistent year round. As a beginner you can go anytime of year to learn to surf. March – November is considered the best time of year to surf in Jaco…which is pretty much the whole year.

Pros and Cons of Jaco, Costa Rica

Lots of friendly Locals
Easy to get to and go to other places from.
Great Nightlife
Lots of places to stay
Lefts and Rights
Meet lots of interesting wave-chasers
Other surf spots close by

Kind of crowded, especially on weekends and Holidays
Expensive compared to other surf destinations


If you have been to Jaco, share the love with your fellow surfers and shout out your favorite hotel or hostel in the comments. 

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