10 Days in Jaco With Kids & Family
Jaco Beach is the perfect vacation for families. Sometimes the planning of a vacation with kids can be the most difficult part, so we have helped with providing a perfect 10 day itinerary that was put together from families who have visited Jaco.
Start your week with what we call " chocolate breakfast". Panderia Artisinal is a great bakery located on the North end of downtown near Chuck's WOW Surf shop. The sweet crepe which is Nutella with fresh strawberries, bananas, drizzled with chocolate, and whip cream is a favorite for both small and big kids. For those without a sweet tooth try one of the breakfast sandwiches. After breakfast head to Neo Fauna. You will see snakes, frogs, butterflies, and wild animals that were rescued. From there spend your afternoon looking for sea snails at low tide.
Get up early and head to Manuel Antonio National Park. It is a little over an hour drive from Jaco. You want to plan to leave no later than 8:30. The park is closed on Mondays and the weekends can be busy so we suggest going during the week. Pack a backpack with sunscreen, towels, snacks, bottled water, bug repellant, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Be sure to hire a guide, it is well worth the price. Spend your morning in the park with the guide where you'll see exotic birds and wildlife, then enjoy some time playing on the beach. The kids will love having a late lunch at El Avion, an old Contra airplane that was turned into a restaurant overlooking the ocean. The history of this airplane will interest adults and the plane itself is fascinating to kids.
If you come to Costa Rica, you have to zip line, also known as the canopy tour. Kids as young as 3 can go attached to a guide. You will spend about two hours going from platform to platform. Afterwards, head to Taco Bar for lunch where kids can sit in swings while eating lunch. They have a kids menu and a great adult menu. Try the grilled calamari burrito, most entrees comes with their all you can eat salad bar. The flavored lemon aides are not to be missed either!
Who does not dream of horseback riding into the rainforest and then swimming under a waterfall? This 4 hour trip is one you will talk about for years to come. This evening, plan on something special. Adventure Dining only runs one or two nights a week and is pricey, but wow is it worth it! The food is very great and the views are breathtaking! Be sure to schedule for pickup versus trying to drive up, trust us that you don't want to drive back after sunset down a steep road after having a few cocktails.
Farmers's Market! Located on the South end of town near the soccer field. Kids will enjoy trying new fruits from the vendors. The banana cookies are also pretty amazing. This s by far the best place to buy produce. Also, don't be afraid to buy the chicken, it is simply amazing, fresh farm raised with no hormones. Tonight, plan to have cocktails at sunset at El Hicaco, one of the few ocean front dinning choices. The kids will love the swing set at this restaurant. Then head back to your condo and grill up the chicken you got at the farmer's market!
Every Saturday at 4:00 The Backyard in Hermosa has a surf competition. Plan to arrive about 3:30 or call and make a reservation. The kids will play in the sand while you watch the best surfers in the area compete. Afterwards, head back into town to El Ranchera for real Costa Rican food. Located in the south part of town across from Morgan's Cove.
Head to Green Room for brunch. It is one of the most kid friendly restaurants in Jaco, that has amazing food you will ever find! They don't have an official kids menu, but usually have 5 or 6 things that they can make. Afterwards, head down the road to the beach and turn right. Your child will love you for letting them play on the beachfront play set in front of Bohio Grill.
Crocodile time! Schedule a tour to see the crocodiles in Tarcoles. It is an experience that you need to see to believe. Mom will spend half the time reminding the kids to keep their arms in the boat and the rest of the time in sheer wonder herself. Head to Herradura for dinner tonight, a great little soda on the water called Sunset Bar and grill. It is owned by an American, but the cook is his Costa Rican mother in law. If you are lucky, his kids will be there. They will have a great time entertaining your kids.
Head back to Tarcoles early in the morning to Cararra National Park. Again, be sure to get a guide. This park has both dry forest and rain forest animals and many types of birds. The guide will provide boots if it is muddy. Afterwards, head to the soda down by the water before you get to the Nativa resort entrance. Their seafood soup is what they are known for.
Head to the mountains! Just 30 minutes away is a Tilapia farm called Paz de Champ. Let the kids catch their lunch. The soda on sight will cook it up. This evening head to Villa Caleta about an hour before sunset. The very step ampatheator will amaze your kids, the very loud classical music they play will drown out their noise! The view from here is breath taking and it is like seeing the sun set for the very first time.