Jaco Beach has a great community center available to everyone. It's name is Epicentro Cívico Por La Paz Garabito. They provide free classes in the visual and performing arts, they have a library, and they often host community events that support local culture and togetherness as a global community. An example of one of their events, open to the public, is a movie showing for the youth on Friday November 2nd (see info below). If your staying in Jaco Beach, keep the community center on your mind and you may come across an event or class that speaks to you.
For those of you who rely heavily on the bus while you travel, or as main transportation living in Jaco, they have updated their early morning departure route. It was previously 5:00 am and is now 4:30 am. This definitely helps if your trying to get to the airport, on a budget, for an 8:00am flight. The link and image still posts 5:00 am but should be updated in the near future.
Jaco Bus Transport
I will start by saying, my perspective is coming from being a husband and father of a two. We relocated to Jaco almost two years ago and did so in part of not feeling safe in the United States (for many different reasons that are for a different kind of post). Costa Rica felt like the closest and safest choice for us. I mean the country does not have a military, they do not put up with guns, and the majority of its people live by the “pura vida” lifestyle.
With that being said, like most places in the world, it has its challenges. Most crime committed is petty theft, or as some say “crime of opportunity”. This type of crime you find in any place with poverty. When people are desperate they will find a way to eat, dress, and make a little money. None of this type of crime has felt unsafe to us. We have not been directly affected by it, but we have had friends that have experienced clothes taken off the line and change taken from the unlocked car. Like I said it happens everywhere, as our car got stolen out of our driveway, in the United States, and we lived in great neighborhood.
Jaco nightlife also plays a part within the realm of safety because like momma said “nothing good ever happens after 2am”. It is what it is, you go out stay with your group have a good time and dance the night away. I’m not a night owl but know plenty of people who enjoy the party scene in Jaco on a weekly basis.
All in all, we could go down the laundry list and nitpick all the different type of safety concerns that we have in Jaco and Costa Rica, but that is not the purpose of this post. This is to inform you that the country is constantly committed to safety and implementing measures to increase the safety. The next phase is here. The Municipality of Garabito has approved the implementation of a video surveillance project in Jaco. The project consists of 20 high definition cameras and the technology to make the system function. Another huge step in making Jaco one of the safest beaches in the central pacific.
Photo from The Backyard
Jaco has many restaurants that provide different events and entertainment; from live music, to art shows, to dancing through the night. One of the more popular free events is hosted at Senor Harry’s. They host a free salsa dancing experience every Sunday night. Experienced or not have a great night out with friends and meet new people.
If you are staying in Jaco, or enjoying the dive up the pacific coast of Costa Rica, make a stop in Puntarenas. The harbor has been hosting the largest traveling library/bookstore, Logos Hope. It has been here since October 26th and will be around until November 12th. Logos Hope is a ship operated by a charitable organization out of Germany. It’s purpose is to bring the world together through accessible literature for all ages. The ship’s library holds over 5,000 different titles. It’s vast volunteer crew represents 60 different countries. So whether you are a book lover, or seeking some adventure for the day make a trip, you will not be disappointed.
Photo by http://www.lovemycapetown.com
As Jaco continues to become a melting pot of locals and expats, trying to build a life in Costa Rica, the Jaco Blog wants to support efforts in connecting the community and sharing knowledge. Here is a great opportunity to connect with a welcoming community and hopefully grow your local and global network. Lee Manneberg facilitates these workshops that address topics that bring us together as parents, refocuses our emotional intelligence, and challenges us to walk in our children's shoes. Whether you live in Jaco, or are on a short stay seeking adventure, It is easy to jump in if you have missed a session. Come join us, we will be happy to have you!
Below you will see this weeks session Information along with future meeting dates. For more information contact Lee Manneberg.
Traveling is an all-encompassing emotional roller coaster with usually the first question being, How do I get from the airport to my destination? With it being the tropical paradise it is, Costa Rica has evolved rather quickly in the area of airport transfer and provides multiple options to getting to your relaxing stay. With Jaco Beach acting as the closest beach to the capital, San Jose, the options of where to go, what to do, and how to do it all, become a little easier to access than the rest of the country, but this post will provide support no matter where your final destination will be.
When you first arrive in Costa Rica you pass through the typical whirlwind of a process: leaving the plane, stamping your visa, getting your luggage, and moving through customs. After customs comes the exciting part. Once you reach those doors to exit the airport, you are not quite in relax-mode. You are instantly “greeted” with a mob of people. Some with signs, some shouting their transfer service in your direction, and, mostly, you are amongst a group of other travelers trying to figure out the system of transportation. Suffice it to say, it can be a little overwhelming. I will lay out three different approaches for transfering from the airport to your main Costa Rican destination with Jaco Beach being the example destination. Jaco Beach is a highly sought out Pacific beach town and provides a good baseline as you plan your travel. There are three options I suggest to you; I highly recommend Option Three but either will get you to your spot.
Option one, I call Taxi Roulette.
This option qualifies as your first chosen Costa Rican adventure. You will have your pick of drivers and their taxis. The vehicles vary in size; from standard car to a 6-to-8 person van. Most are colored red in Costa Rica but you will find orange as well. Do not drive yourself crazy (pun intended) and pick the first trusting looking driver you see and ask “How much?” This is where you begin your first negotiation experience in Costa Rica. A typical taxi ride should use a meter, but with a 75 minute drive to Jaco Beach the meter doesn't matter the cost should range from $80 and $120. I have friends that have negotiated down to as low as $60 and a few that have ended up paying $140. It all depends on how far you want to take the haggle, but in my experience and opinion if you are paying over $100, it’s a hustle. You may have more leverage with more than one traveler because the price per person should bring the cost down. Also, If you are concerned about luggage space, do not be. The driver will make it fit. Once you get in that taxi, which will most likely not be the most comfortable seat, my only advice is embrace the driving culture and try to enjoy the scenery. This ride, with no traffic, should be one hour and twenty minutes. At the beginning it will feel a little nutty and at times unsafe, but most of the drivers know what they are doing and will take great care of you.
Option two, I call Snail Mail.
This option is for the traveler who is comfortable going a little off schedule and savvy with bus commuting/traveling. The public transit system functions well here in Costa Rica, so it’s a matter of the value of your time. The main bus terminal sits a little deeper into San Jose (as the airport sits right on the outer edge). The bus schedule typically runs on time, is easily accessible, and keeps you on the budget travel track. When you exit the airport you can lug your bags to the bus stop which is about a ten minute walk. Hopefully you are lucky enough with timing and you catch the bus dropping off. At this point you can hop on and hopefully find a seat (tickets can be purchased ahead to secure a seat, but they allow more people on for standing room). This bus will head to the main bus terminal, Terminal 7-10. From here you are able to navigate the schedule. If you want to skip the step of taking the bus from the airport to Terminal 7-10 you can grab a taxi or an Uber. Uber will run you between 12 and 15 dollars and a taxi probably closer to 20 dollars. This is a 15 minute ride to terminal 7-10. The bus you catch to Jaco Beach will be two and a half hours, just enough time to nap or listen to your favorite podcasts. Again, this a perfectly viable option but before choosing, determine what your time is worth and and what kind of peace of mind you want as you travel the country.
Option three, I call The No Worries Route.
I highly recommend this as the way to go. The first step here is try to remember if you know anyone in Jaco. If yes and they have a car and are reliable maybe you can arrange through them, but, if not, you will quickly make a new friend through scheduling a reliable transfer service. This takes all the thinking out of the equation. The cost is predictable because you book it ahead and will range from $40 a person to $80 a person. Once you step out of the airport there will be a driver and a sign waiting for you. That’s really all the work you have to do, play the Where’s Waldo game and find your name. Usually the sign is like an old-school lemonade stand sign (paper or cardboard) with your name on it, and there is a small possibility that you see a tablet being used as a sign. Once you spot him in the crowd, take a deep breath and relax. They will insist on helping with the bags/luggage and you should take full advantage of that because its your vacation. The van is comfortable, spacious, and air conditioner is running. Most importantly, the driver will be friendly. If they speak a little English, they will be open to pointing out interesting things during the drive, almost as if you’re getting a mini tour as a bonus. This experience gives you all the peace and comfort you need to start your visit. Usually once you use transfer service you never go back.
No matter what mode you choose, the day drive will provide a little more traffic with more big rigs passing each other (definitely a sight to see), but, overall, it feels more safe because of the daylight. The night drive is what it is: dark. Drivers passing each other while flashing their high-beams on and off, all while taking the winding highway through the hills of the rainforest. Like I said… embrace and enjoy because you will soon be in paradise and feel like a transportation pro. If you you decide to rent a car from the airport, more power to you just make sure to have your GPS ready, and be patient as you go because the road laws/rules are more of a suggested guideline.
Pura Vida and Safe Travels!