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October 4, 2023

Sail Away: Best Boat Day Trips from Jacó, Costa Rica

Jaco, a bustling beach town on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, stunning beaches, and proximity to some of the country’s most pristine natural attractions. Beyond its waves and nightlife, Jacó also serves as a gateway to several exceptional boat day trips. Here’s a curated list of the best boat journeys you can embark on:

  1. Tortuga Island Adventure:
    • About: Located in the Gulf of Nicoya, Tortuga Island is famous for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life.
    • Highlights: Snorkeling, scuba diving, banana boat rides, and a beachfront lunch.
    • Travel time: Approximately 1 hour by boat.
  2. Manuel Antonio National Park:
    • About: One of Costa Rica’s most famous national parks, it’s a paradise for nature lovers.
    • Highlights: Dolphin watching, snorkeling, and panoramic views of the park’s stunning coastline.
    • Travel time: About 1.5 to 2 hours by boat.
  3. Mangrove Kayaking:
    • About: Explore the rich biodiversity of the Damas Island estuary.
    • Highlights: Navigate through the mangroves in a kayak and witness a diverse range of wildlife like monkeys, iguanas, and tropical birds.
    • Travel time: Approximately 1 hour by boat to the starting point.
  4. Deep-Sea Fishing Trip:
    • About: The Pacific waters off Jacó are teeming with marine life, making it a hotspot for fishing enthusiasts.
    • Highlights: Chance to catch marlin, sailfish, dorado, and tuna.
    • Duration: Half-day to full-day trips available.
  5. Whale Watching Expedition (Seasonal):
    • About: Between July and November, humpback whales migrate through Costa Rican waters.
    • Highlights: Witness these majestic creatures and other marine life like dolphins.
    • Travel time: Duration varies based on specific locations and sightings.
  6. Crocodile Safari on the Tárcoles River:
    • About: Get up close with some of Costa Rica’s largest crocodiles.
    • Highlights: Guided boat tour where you’ll spot crocodiles, waterfowl, and other wildlife.
    • Travel time: Approximately 30 minutes by boat.
  7. Sunset Cruise:
    • About: Embrace the serene beauty of the Pacific Ocean during sunset.
    • Highlights: Romantic atmosphere, opportunity for dolphin sightings, and breathtaking sunsets.
    • Travel time: Typically a 2 to 3-hour cruise.


  • Always check the weather forecast before setting out on a boat trip.
  • Booking in advance during peak tourist season is highly recommended.
  • Remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, hats, water, and light snacks.

No matter which boat trip you choose, you’re bound to be treated to an unforgettable experience when setting sail from Jacó, Costa Rica.

The best time for wildlife spotting in Jaco is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. However, the rainy season offers unique sightings, especially for amphibians.

While Jaco is generally safe, hiring a local guide is recommended. They can navigate challenging terrains, understand animal behaviors, and enhance your overall experience.

Direct interaction is not advised. It’s essential to maintain a respectful distance for the safety and well-being of both visitors and the wildlife.

Consider donating to local NGOs, participating in community-driven conservation projects, or simply by being a responsible visitor.

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