Each January, towards the end of the month, we take our week-long beach vacation at a touristy little Costa Rican beach called Jaco Beach. We go there during other months of the year as well, but only for a day or two at a time as it’s only about an hour away from the capital, San Jose. January however, is our “long” holiday. I must say, I have mixed feeling about it. Having grown up in Southern California, I love the beach. But at the same time I’m not too keen on having to stay in a small apartment with only one bathroom and with two young adult daughters! Ah, well. The girls look forward to this vacation all year long and we’ve been going to the same hotel since 1995. In Costa Rica they have what they call Aparthotels. These are a type of apartment and hotel room combined into one. They usually have one or two separate bedrooms, a completely equipped kitchenette that includes a refrigerator, stove, microwave, coffee maker, pots pans, silverware etc. A dining area, a tv/sitting area and a bathroom.
Most also have a pool. The one we always go to has air conditioning, internet access and a tv set with cable though not all of them do, as well as a large pool, a jacuzzi and a kiddie pool.
The convenient thing about these little aparthotels is that they don’t charge per person but rather per room and each room is designed to accomodate from four to six people. The rates range from 80 to 100 dollars per night. Not bad at all for that many people.
Jaco Beach itself is a quiet little town with a long stretch of beach that never gets crowded even on holidays. There are alot of little secluded beaches too, away from the restaurants and souvenir shops, where you don’t hear a single sound except for the surf and the occasional seagull.
The town of Jaco itself is pretty small. There is one main Avenue where you can find just about any kind of food under the sun. From restaurants specializing in seafoods, to quaint little beachy burger-and-fries kiosks to Sushi and even KFC. Shopping options are varied as well. Dozens of souvenir shops, beach accessories shops, a grocery store and even beauty salons and henna tattoo places line both sides of the street, many are run by foreigners who live there year round. We usually go to a place called Morgan’s Cove for dinner only because they have the best fruit smoothies.
I think by far my favorite time of day is the very early morning. There’s nothing like walking down from the hotel to the beach with a big mug of coffee and just sitting on the sand watching the mist that rises up from the surf into the tropical morning air.
Right outside the door to our room there was a tall banana tree. It not only had a huge racime of bananas hanging from it but it also had a resident iguana. He was as green as the leaves and difficult to see unless he moved. He would climb up every morning when the sun was warm and sunbathe for several hours before climbing down again.
Macaws would also fly by every morning, in pairs. They make quite a racket and you know they are coming even if they are some distance away. At one of the restaurants that we went to, there was a Macaw who pretty much lived there. He had fallen out of his nest as a baby and was in very bad shape. One of the locals rescued him and nursed him back to health. Today he is a huge and beautiful bird who enjoys engaging in all kinds of silly antics just to get a laugh from the patrons. He is free to come and go as he pleases, and sometimes he dissapears for a couple of days but he always comes back.