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					                                 Activities:
Fishing Trips:
Costa Rica Dreams- recommended boat Dream II 32’ Luhrs Captain Werner and
Mates Frank (Francisco) & Juan; Danny in the office at Los Suenos was helpful to
let my wife and her sister into the beach club (Note: this is probably not standard
practice)
http://www.costaricadreams.com/index.html

Hiking/Sightseeing:
(visit Manuel Antonio National Park, located 45 minutes south)
http://www.manuelantoniopark.com/mapk/english/park.html

Surfing:
Jaco Surf Shop and Board Rentals: http://www.wowsurf.net/
Costa Rica Surf Report:  http://crsurfreport.com/
 
Golfing:
Los Suenos (30 minutes north, located just past Jaco)
http://www.lossuenosresort.com/golf.html
 
ATV Tours:
http://www.ricaventura.com/
 
Scuba Diving:
http://www.herraduradivers.com/

Waterfalls Canopy Tour:
http://www.waterfallscanopy.com/ Horseback Riding:
Horseback-riding tours give you a chance to get away from all the development in Jacó
and see a bit of nature. Contact Happy Trails (tel. 643-1894) or Hermanos Salazar (tel.
643-3203) to make a reservation. Down in Playa Hermosa, check in with Diana's Trail
Rides (tel. 643-3808). Over in Playa Herradura, you can try the Jacó Equestrian Center
(tel. 643-1569). Tours lasting 3 to 4 hours cost anywhere from $35 to $65.
Kayak Jacó (tel. 643-1233; www.kayakjaco.com) runs a couple of different trips. Tours
range from gentle paddles and floats on the Tulin River to combination ocean-kayaking/
snorkeling trips on calm Herradura Bay, to full-on kayak surfing at one of the local beach
breaks. You can also do some moderate white-water kayaking in easy-to-use inflatable
kayaks or try your hand in the ocean on one of the eight-person outrigger canoes. Most
options run around 4 hours and include transportation to and from the put-in, as well as
fresh fruit and soft drinks during the trip. The tours cost between $50 and $80 per
person, depending on the particular trip and group size.

Aerial Rain Forest Trams:
http://www.rfat.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4&Itemid=2
www.rfat.com

Canopy Tours:
The easiest way to get up into the canopy here is on the Rain Forest Aerial Tram Pacific
(tel. 257-5961; www.rainforestram.com). A sister project to the original Rain Forest
Aerial Tram, this attraction features modified ski-lift type gondolas that take you through
and above the transitional forests bordering Carara National Park. The $55 entrance fee
includes the guided 40-minute tram ride, and a guided 45-minute hike on a network of
trails. You can also hike the company's trails for as long as you like. The Aerial Tram is
located a few kilometers inland from an exit just north of the first entrance into Jacó.
There are quite a few zip-line and harness-style canopy tours in this area. Chiclets Tree
Tour (tel./fax 643-1879) offers up a canopy adventure ($60 per person) in nearby Playa
Hermosa. This is an adventurous tour, with 13 platforms set in transitional forest, with
some sweeping views of the Pacific. Villa Lapas has two different tours through the
treetops outside of Jacó. The better and cheaper option is a guided hike on its network
of trails and five suspended bridges ($20 per person). The operator also has a relatively
low-adrenaline zip-line canopy tour ($35 per person), with seven platforms connected
by six cables.
Finally, Jacó is also a good jumping-off point for a trip to the Original Canopy Tour's
Mahogany Park (tel. 257-5149; www.canopytour.com) in San Mateo, or to Turu BaRi
Tropical Park (tel. 428-6070 or 250-0705; www.turubari.com), near Orotina

 
Side Trips:
A little more than 15km (9 1/3 miles) north of Jacó is Carara National Park, a world-
renowned nesting ground for scarlet macaws. It has a few kilometers of trails open to
visitors. There's a loop trail that takes about an hour, and another trail that's open only to
tour groups. The macaws migrate daily, spending their days in the park and their nights
among the coastal mangroves. It's best to view them in the early morning when they
arrive, or around sunset when they head back to the coast for the evening, but a good
guide can usually find them for you during the day. Whether or not you see them, you
should hear their loud squawks. Among the other wildlife that you might see here are
caimans, coatimundis, armadillos, pacas, peccaries, and, of course, hundreds of
species of birds.
Be sure to bring along insect repellent or, better yet, wear light cotton long sleeves and
pants. (I was once foolish enough to attempt a quick hike while returning from Manuel
Antonio, still in beach clothes and flip-flops.) The reserve is open daily from 8am to
4pm. Admission is $8 per person at the gate.
Several companies offer tours to Carara National Park for around $30 to $40. Check at
your hotel or contact Explorica Tours (tel. 643-3586) for schedules and more
information. If you're looking for a more personalized tour, check out Lisa Robertson, a
knowledgeable and amiable guide who runs Happy Trails (tel. 643-1894). You can hike
the trails of Carara independently, but my advice is to take the guided tour; you'll learn a
lot more about your surroundings.
The muddy banks of the Tárcoles River are home to a healthy population of American
crocodiles, and just north of the entrance to the park is a bridge that's a prime spot for
viewing both the crocs and the macaw migrations. When you're in Jacó, you'll find
several operators who run daily crocodile tours on the Tárcoles River. These are simple
tours in open skiffs or Boston whalers. Most of these companies bring along plenty of
freshly killed chicken to attract the reptiles and pump up the adrenaline. Don't expect a
highly trained naturalist guide or any semblance of respect for the natural world. Do
expect to pay between $30 and $45 per person for the trip.
Finally, just beyond Carara National Park on the Costanera Sur in the direction of Jacó,
you'll find a turnoff for some spectacular waterfalls (including a 180m/590-ft. fall) around
the town of Bijagual. There are several ways to visit these falls and people run tours
from Jacó or from entrances both at the top and bottom of the falls. At the top a local
family runs the Complejo Ecológico La Catarata (tel. 661-8263), which features a basic
restaurant and a campground. They run horseback tours down to the falls for around
$35. Alternatively, you can hike in from an entrance lower down. The hike takes about
45 minutes each way, and entrance costs $10 per person. Finally, while you're in this
area, you can visit the Pura Vida Botanical Gardens (tel. 200-5040). The entrance fee
for the gardens is a bit steep, at $15. To get here, turn off at the signs for Hotel Villa
Lapas. From there, it's a rough 8km (5 miles) up to the top of the falls.
En Route South to Manuel Antonio: Playa Hermosa--Playa Hermosa is the first beach
you'll hit as you head south from Playa de Jacó. This is primarily a surfers' beach, but it
is still a lovely spot to spend some beach time. In fact, even though the surf conditions
here can be rather rough and unprotected, and the beach is made of dark volcanic
sand, I find Playa Hermosa much more attractive than Jacó. In addition to the hotels
listed below, there are a host of simple hotels and cabinas catering to surfers. Prices,
conditions, and upkeep can vary greatly. If you've got the time, your best bet is to visit a
few until you find the best deal on the cleanest room.
If you're looking for something more remote and undeveloped, head to Playa Esterillos
Este for the Hotel du Pélican (tel. 778-8105; www.aubergepelican.com), or head yet
even further south to the nearly deserted Playa Palo Seco and the small Beso del
Viento (tel. 779-9674; www.besodelviento.com) hotel.
At night most folks in Playa Hermosa find their way to The Backyard, a raucous surfer
bar with a pool table, darts, and hearty food.
 
Guided Tours:
If you'll be spending your entire Costa Rican visit in Jacó but would like to see some
other parts of the country, you can arrange tours through the local offices of Gray Line
Tours (tel. 643-3231), which operates out of the Best Western Jacó Beach Hotel, or
Explorica (tel. 643-3586). Both of these companies offer day tours to Arenal, Poás, and
Irazú volcanoes; white-water rafting trips; cruises to Tortuga Island; and trips to Braulio
Carrillo National Park and other places. Rates range from $35 to $110 for day trips.
Overnight trips are also available. Thanks to improvements to the road, you can now
reach Manuel Antonio in about 1 hour from Jacó. In addition to the above-mentioned
companies, many local operators offer a variety of tour options in Manuel Antonio,
including trips to the national park, the Rainmaker Nature Refuge, and the Isla Damas
estuary. Info: Los Suenos Resort and Marina you(30 minutes north, located just past
Jaco)
http://www.costaricadreams.com/index.html

				
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