Surfing central for the Costa Rican west-coaster, Jacó has all that the unruly-locked surf dude or dudette
could want. A scruffy but functional town, the beach isn't going to win any awards for scenic
beauty but conditions are perfect for making those first wobbly stands on the board, and for cutting
some more serious moves too.
We spent a week at Escuela del Mundo, the
School of the World,
just a short distance from the beach,
with daily surfing classes following the tides. The school also offered classes in Spanish, photography,
and yoga - I had signed up for photography but due to a clash, found myself standing on my head
for the week in the yoga studio. Having never practised yoga before, I was surprised at how difficult
Footprints in the sand at Playa Hermosa, "pretty beach", a couple of kilometres south of Jacó town itself.
Jacó beach has good conditions for learning to surf, we would head out around high tide and go for a
couple of hours. The waves were generally only three to six feet, which was fine for us.
Some of the more experienced surfers showed us what could be done with waves even as diminutive as the
ones we were learning on.
Surf dudes with attitude - kinda groovy.
This chap was giving it his best shot, but the horses weren't all that interested in learning how to
The beach is lined with surf schools and all the associated paraphernalia one would require for full
As an ungraceful surfing lump, I was started out on a nine foot six inch board, before graduating to
a nine-two after a couple of days. Still enough buoyancy to float a baby elephant.
Our home for the week, the courtyard at Escuela del Mundo, the School of the World.
The roof of the school was particularly popular with the neighbourhood iguanas.
Jacó town is a ramshackle assembly of shops, cafes and bars, strung along a ragged highway just back
from the beach. We found a couple of good sushi restaurants and spent most of the week dining there.
A day's outing on quad bikes or "four-wheelers" into the local rainforest. After a couple of training
circuits we were let loose into the jungle proper, and encountered several other gangs along the way.
Just as well I wasn't wearing my best shorts for this - and that my legs are washable.
Our final destination on the quads was a series of jungle pools and waterfalls, swimming optional.
Not satisfied with petrol-head activities, we headed for the forest canopy to hang our for the rest
of the day. Costa Rica claims to have invented ziplining, and with the course of nine lines taking
over two hours to complete, I can well believe it.
Pura vida! They shout at every possible opportunity - it's the national motto, and all the locals swear
by it. To the extent that the merchandisers have been making out like bandits.
After a week in the cheerful but not entirely luxurious surf school, a night at the swanky Marriott
Los Sueños resort was just the ticket.
Lagoon pools abound at Los Sueños resort, complete with swim-up bar and no shortage of cocktails.
Even the nearby apartment complex was well endowed with swimming facilities.
We spent an afternoon wandering around Herradura Marina, stopping for excellent chocolate cake and shakes
at one of the cafes.
The veranda at Los Sueños, the perfect place for a sundowner.
As the sun set over the Pacific, it brought our time in Costa Rica to a close.