Jaco sunset Costa Rica

Earlier this month, we decided we wanted a little beach time. With all the rain and clouds up in the mountains of Grecia, where we live, it’s been getting a little cold – yes, even sweater weather at times! We decided we wanted a little warmth and sun, and surf.

Jaco is the closest beach to us, about an hour and 45 minutes away, and we chose to spend a week there. Jaco has a bad reputation of being an ugly town. I’d also heard it wasn’t family friendly. But we had to see for ourselves, and I’m glad we did, because we absolutely loved it! The town’s got a great variety of restaurants, art galleries, and other shops. The beach is clean, warm, and beautiful (although a bit rocky at the south end). The weather was absolutely perfect, the sun was out most of the day except for a short afternoon or evening shower, and it wasn’t super hot like Manuel Antonio last February. It makes me think that the rainy season is really the best time to go to the beach in Costa Rica.


We stayed at a small condo complex called Club del Sol, within walking distance of the beach. We rented a nice 2-bedroom condo with lots of privacy and a full kitchen for about $135/night. They also had a nice pool, which the kids swam in every day. Emily is now doing great swimming across the pool all by herself, and Marie is getting more courageous as well. Jen and I swam a bit, too, but also used the time to catch up on work and e-mail.

Fun at the beach

One morning, we rented surfboards and boogie boards and went to the beach for some fun. Jen and I had a blast trying to get up on the waves. The boards were a little lighter than last time, so harder to balance on, but we did okay. Emily and Marie also enjoyed their first time boogie boarding. They didn’t venture very far from the shore, but had a good time nonetheless. There were a lot of rocks at this part of the beach, though, which slowed us down due to the pain in our feet.

Out on the town

We had some great food in Jaco, including sushi, pizza, and delicious Mexican food, which is hard to find in Costa Rica. We enjoyed the many shops and got the girls each a new dress (including Jen), and I got a new swimming suit because my other one was ripping. I also got a new pair of shorts because I actually found a size 28! It’s so hard to find my size anywhere, so I grabbed it while I had the chance.

We didn’t really do any excursions or tours (we’ve done most already), but we just enjoyed relaxing, being together, and “hanging out.” One night we watched “Home Alone” in Spanish, which was on TV. The kids loved that. We did take a drive to the nearby beaches of Esterillos and Heradura, just to see what they were like (my opinion: beautiful and not very developed). I also talked to a couple realtors to see what their opinions were on the value of investment properties in the area – turns out it’s probably not a good idea right now. There are some great bargains available, but it would be hard to make them turn a profit as a vacation rental.

Dinosaur Park

On our way back from Jaco, we stopped at the Megafauna park (about an hour north of Puntarenas) where  we took a nature walk dotted with life-size statues of dinosaurs and other pre-historic animals. It was pretty interesting to see the types of animals that used to exist, and also how big they were. The museum there was cool, too. In addition to all the bugs, butterflies, and bones displayed, we were also fascinated by the human brain in a jar, as well as the human heart, which our kids were disappointed to find out really wasn’t in the shape of a heart after all.

We’re really glad we could take this trip to Jaco, and would definitely go there again. Enjoy the pictures and videos below.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. That sunset picture you took is so beautiful!! Jaco was really fun. I guess it probably helped that we weren’t really expecting a lot to begin with, so we ended up being very pleasantly surprised!

    Surfing was fun again, and I think it really helps that the water isn’t freezing too, since I love to be warm. I was happy for the girls that they had such a fun time on the boogie boards too.

    I was pretty much in heaven laying out on the floatie in the pool that first day, but I wish I would have been smarter about it, instead of getting such an awful sunburn in the process. However, I have to say, I’d ALMOST say it was worth it. :)

  2. That sunset pic is beautiful – bet it was even better in person.

    LOLOL… that picture of Emily with the paintings, pulling a face is just so BRANDON. You loved to pull faces as a kid. Actually, you’ve never outgrown it :)

    Way to go with the water sports. Emily is getting so good at swimming, and Jen just hopped right up on her board. What fun.

    LOVE the girls new dresses – that fringe is so playful and fun.
    Also, Jen, you look just beautiful in that white dress. Your naturally curly hair and the bit of color on your face – the tropics suit you :)

    Those dinosaurs are huge!

    Sorry about the sunburn :(

  3. Brandon,
    I’ve been following your blog for a couple weeks and love it. I also served a mission in Japan (Sendai) and since reading The 4-hour Work Week have been trying to figure out how to expand our family’s horizons a bit with some international living. Costa Rica has been on the top of my list because I’m in sales and a lot of my work is on the phone and internet and the time zone difference wouldn’t be too bad (live in the Seattle area now). We had a trial run lined up for this summer – in Hawaii, actually – but our house swap fell through in the end.

    You mentioned in this post that your girls watched Home Alone in Spanish. I was wondering how its going picking up the language for them now that you’ve been there for 7-months – and for you and Jen too. I love the idea of our daughters (5, 7, and 9) becoming multi-lingual!


  4. cute dresses ( all three) fun to see the girls enjoying the water games. Looks like such a good family outing.

  5. @Konrad – Thanks for the comment. Costa Rica’s a great place to live, and the time zone definitely helps if you’re doing work with people in the states.

    As for the language, my wife was already pretty fluent, which helps. I feel like I’ve picked it up pretty quickly and can understand 70-80% of everything that’s said after 7 months here, and can say pretty much everything I want to say, for the most part. The kids’ progress has been harder to measure because they refuse to speak Spanish (usually) unless there are no other English speakers around. We know they understand a lot because they often respond correctly in English when people ask them questions in Spanish (such as our Spanish tutor), but they’re still afraid to speak it. If they could just live with a only-Spanish-speaking family for 2-3 weeks, and be forced to speak it, I think they’d be pretty fluent when they came back. :)

  6. Sounds like a fun trip! I wish I could come down and go with you to some of these places. :)

    I am delighted about these experiences your family is having! The girls are going to grow up to be very interesting, well rounded people.

    Jen looks darling in that dress.

  7. Love the pictures, love the video, love you guys… Thanks for posting all of it. The dresses are definitely cute! And Jen looks gorgeous. :)

    That giant sloth-thing made me laugh.

    Good job swimming, Emily! That’s awesome!

  8. This is an awesome post. I’m sooo happy for you and your family getting all these wonderful experiences. How to seize life. The sunset was unbelieveable. We can’t see them here because of the trees. And I feel your pain about the 28″ waist. I had one most of my life. 50 has been unkind. I’m now a 30″. I can get better clothes.

  9. […] we realized how much we have always liked the town of Jacó and the surrounding area, even since we visited Jacó for our first time last August. We talked with a few people who are going to keep us posted on some good rentals as they come […]

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