Central Pacific Info and Map
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Playa Herradura/Playa Jaco
The Central Pacific
Our Central Pacific Zone is made up of primarily the Province of Puntarenas, not including the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. The beaches in this zone are the closest, and most easily accessible to San Jose and the Central Valley making them some of the most crowded and built up. From North to South our Central Pacific beaches are Boca Barranca and it's area beaches, Playa Escondita, Jaco, Roca Loca, Playa Hermosa, Esterillos (Oeste, Centro, and Este), Playa Bejuco, and the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area.
Jaco Beach or Hermosa is typically the first stop over for visiting surfers. There are numerous surf shops and they have essentially anything a traveler might need. Jaco is an easy takeoff point to both northern and southern areas.
This zone tends to be hot and more tropical than its neighbors in Nicoya and Guanacaste and there is a very large ex-pat community of both surfers and sport fishing enthusiasts. Some visitors find the area so comfortable that they never get anywhere else. Be careful to not let that happen as the entire Pacific coast has so many treats for those that take the time to explore.
In a rented car:
Getting to the Central Pacific, Jaco Beach area is a straightforward affair, especially since the completion of the San Jose to Caldera Highway. From the Juan Santamaria Airport you will take the Costa Rica High 1 to San Jose. It is about 18 km to Parque Sabana on your right. Just before the park is the Nissan dealership. Pass the park to the other side. Stay in the right lane (about 1.5 km). You will come to the third traffic signal after the Nissan dealer and will make a right turn onto the new San Jose to Puerto Caldera Highway - Highway 27. You should see signs for Escazu and you will know that you are headed in the right direction. This is a toll road and you will need Costa Rican colones. Stay on this road. You will drive about 54 km, 7 km past Orotina, to a toll. 150m after the toll is the exit for Playa Jaco-Highway 34. Turn right, around a circular entrance, under the highway and around a traffic circle to the other side. Stay on this road for about 37km. Some landmarks that you will pass are Rio Tarcoles (where there will be people lined up on the bridge to see the crocodiles. It is worth a stop during the day to check them out.), Carrera National Park, Outback Jacks Restaurant, and Playa Herradura. Playa Jaco is about 15 km from Tarcoles, 13 from Outback Jacks. This is an easy ride and with little traffic can be done in about 1 - 1 1/2 hrs. It is also the route south to the South Central and South Pacific Zones.
You will see signs for Jaco and there will make a right turn to the center of town and the beach. To reach Playa Hermosa and the Esterillos beaches simply continue on Highway 34. Hermosa will be about 3km further and Esterillos about 15km.