Jaco Beach Costa Rica 2013

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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.

room 1

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.

pool view 4

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.

This was the view of the pool from our room

This was the view of the pool from our room

The upstairs corridor. Our room was at the far end.

The upstairs corridor. Our room was at the far end.

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.

This is pretty much as crowded as it gets on Jaco Beach

This is pretty much as crowded as it gets on Jaco Beach

Secluded little coves are quiet and peaceful

Secluded little coves are quiet and peaceful

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.

Mango Smoothie

Mango Smoothie

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.

jaco beach morning

This was another aparthotel at the other end of the beach.

This is another aparthotel at the other end of the beach.

A sand mermaid that some talented and artistic person made on the beach. She was there all afternoon until the tide rose and she swam away into the depths of the ocean.

A sand mermaid that some talented and artistic person made on the beach. She was there all afternoon until the tide rose and she swam away into the depths of the ocean.

These rocks were really interesting. They would appear when the tide was out every morning and they had all kinds of fascinating creatures stuck to them. Tiny fish abounded in the pools that were left behind by the tide.

These rocks were really interesting. They would appear when the tide was out every morning and they had all kinds of fascinating creatures stuck to them. Tiny fish abounded in the pools that were left behind by the tide.

These little creatures that look like trilobytes are actually called Chitons.

These little creatures that look like trilobytes are actually called Chitons.

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.

The iguana blended into the foliage so well that he was almost invisible. I've put a red circle around him so you can make him out, as well as the banana racime.

The iguana blended into the foliage so well that he was almost invisible. I’ve put a red circle around him so you can make him out, as well as the banana racime.

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.

Here he is up in the tree. He looks like a red speck

Here he is up in the tree. He looks like a red speck

He comes down off the tree to clown around when he sees people.

He comes down off the tree to clown around when he sees people. He’s beautiful and he knows it.

Here's my daughter getting a closer look. She didn't get too close however, because they told us he loves to bite people's toes.

Here’s my daughter getting a closer look. She didn’t get too close however, because they told us he loves to bite people’s toes.

Me

Surfer schools would come for practice in the early afternoons. The waves aren’t too big in this area so it’s not dangerous. You can see some of them behind me.

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There’s nothing like a Pacific Ocean sunset

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