Upon arrival in the cheerfully scruffy center of Jaco (or, alternately, the luxuriously landscaped resort just north, Los Sueños), you’ll want to appreciate the view; Costa Rica’s Central Pacific is as lovely as a shore as exists anywhere. After checking in to your room, whether a budget backpacker dorm or marble-floored villa, you may want to consider indulging in Jaco’s chief attraction: Surfing.
Day 1: Catch a Wave
Jaco’s main beach is home to one of the most regular, predictable, sandy-bottomed breaks in the world, fun for experts and perfect for newbies who just want to try out the sport. Several outfits rent or sell used boards (as well as boogie boards for those who would rather not risk the real thing), and any hotel or surf shop can arrange one-on-one lessons. Remember: There are plenty of “surf instructors” who are less than professional; in general you get what you pay for.