Ahhh, Costa Rica, the island of .....
Most of you know by now that Costa Rica is not an island, but situated in Central America between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south…
However for the millions that have visited Costa Rica, or for the happy residents that live here, Costa Rica is indeed an island of peace and tranquility in the sea of Central American political turbulence and poverty. Plus the fact that it's so close to the U.S. helps to ensure interest in Costa Rica by North Americans forever and ever, no matter how bad the U.S. economy!
This “developing” nation has its reputation continually and romantically enhanced by:
The inspirational example of a country that proudly lacks a military force.
The evolving ecological consciousness and desire to be the leader in Eco-tourism; the large quantity of natural reserved & protected areas, and the popular carbon exchange programs.
The absolutely amazing amount of spectacular scenery (from its beautiful beaches, rainforests, volcanoes, to the endless variety of flora and fauna).
The wealth of activities ranging from adventure sports both day and night, or the leisurely moments spent sipping sunrises during spectacular sunsets.
The fact that all foreign property purchasers have the same legal rights as the Costa Ricans. (except for concession zone properties which we don't recommend for purchase!)
But most of all, Costa Rica is a great place because of the incredibly friendly and warm-hearted people known as Ticos (males) and Ticas (females).
WHY THE CENTRAL PACIFIC AREA of Costa Rica?
1. The continued success of the luxurious Los Suenos Marina & Golf Resort, generally acknowledged to be the most successful resort community in all of Central America and located only ten minutes to the north of Jaco.
Their high end condos, homes and villas have set the standard for gated beachfront communities and lent credibility to investing in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific area, with condos priced from $389,000, villas over $4 million, and homes valued over $8 million. Los Suenos is internationally recognized as both a world class fishing destination as well as offering a unique and respected 18 hole golf course with an enchanting forested backdrop. The Marriott Los Suenos, located here, is very popular internationally.
2. The availability of fee-simple 100% fully titled Jaco and Playa Hermosa beachfront condos, homes, villas & ocean view lots-less expensive and safer than Mexico! Only 4% of Costa Rica’s beachfront is titled, and this area contains a high percentage of this land.
3. The year-round tropical lush green beauty of the Central Pacific with the best beach climate anywhere along the entire Central American Pacific coast! No hurricanes, no tornados, no tsunamis, no droughts, just lovely beach weather, year ‘round.
4. The new highway from San Jose to the Jaco area has been enjoyed for over 2 years now, because the travel time on average is ONE hour 15 minutes to either the International Airport SJO or to the popular western suburbs of Santa Ana-Escazu (featuring an IMAX movie theatre-only one in Central America; Cima Hospital-partnered with Baylor; Multiplaza West-the biggest mall in C.A.; PriceSmart-like Costco; major hotels, and dozens of excellent restaurants, including U.S. franchises.)
5. Jaco Beach visitors are astounded at the positive changes over the past few years, beginning with paved roads, more stores, more police, more options for fun!
6. Many new eco-activities, from extreme sports to more family oriented nature tours- from zip-lining to butterfly & monkey exhibits; from birdwatching in the Dry Rainforest Park to visits to tropical Isla Tortuga, and of course, Costa Rica’s #1 National Park, Manuel Antonio, continues to be a “must see”, and is only one hour away.
Jacó, (pronounced ha-CÓ) has always been one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica due to its proximity to San Jose, vast amount of entertainment options and public services provided. NOW with the new road, Jaco beach is more popular than ever..
Jaco is located in Garabito, the eleventh canton in the province of Puntarenas in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 189.7 sq.miles (316.31 km²), and has a resident population of over 17,000, however during weekends or holidays the area swells to almost 30,000.
Garabito's capital city is Jacó, and therefore life is easier when requiring government services as they are almost all located in Jaco.
The shape of Jaco Bay is unique and brings us cooler breezes and temperatures than either in the north or south Costa Rican beaches...
Also note that there are 2 bilingual, international and fully accredited schools in the area for U.S. families. The Central Pacific Jaco area continues to offer more reasons for families to relocate here.
The New Freeway: Having waited for more than 30 years for this miracle to take place, the new highway, (called officially Highway 27 or Ruta del Sol) was inaugurated by the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias on January 27, 2010.
The driving time has now been reduced to one hour ten minutes from the International Airport Juan Santamaria or from the shopping & dining mecca of Escazu. More importantly, the stress of driving to Jaco has been greatly reduced as one no longer has to deal with curvy mountainous terrain. Hooray!
Will this result in increased equity and interest to this area ?
Things are selling again, so our answer is yes, now is the time to buy!
Is this part of Costa Rica modern?
Yes we have Cable and Satellite TV with all your favorites including CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, HBO, Sony, WB, National Geo., Bloomberg, Disney, etc....
Yes we have high speed and wireless internet, and plenty of land lines and 3-G cellular phone services. Yes we have modern grocery stores with the most incredible fresh produce and imported goods. Yes we have a Quiznos, Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC; there are 3 Sushi bars; lots of "typico" restaurants with full meals (casados) for under $4; gelato ice-cream & TCBY yogurt; & all types of restaurants serving the freshest fish caught in area waters, to satisfy almost all "foodies."
As a former restaurant owner, I am thrilled at our eating options here in Jaco, or in Costa Rica generally.
Jaco has a Chamber of Commerce now in effect since 2009, called CENPAC which has really helped in the beautification and modernization of Jaco, and more is coming! Check out www.jacochamber.com for new events and local businesses who support them.
UPDATES FOR THE JACO AREA:
Dec, 23, 2012 Jaco Municipality Making Major upgrades: The Municipality of Garabito has begun the long-anticipated job of installing sidewalks on Jaco's busiest streets. The work is moving along at a very quick pace and on the Pop's Road which means in time for the start of high season. The Municipality of Jaco is making improvements around town including road improvements, additional street lights and a stepped up police presence, which all contribute to a prettier, cleaner, improved tourist experience.
July 2012 A new Jaco stadium will be built on the northern end of Jaco Beach and will hold 6-7,000 people, a tremendous upgrade from the current facility in Jaco. The Jaco Rays are a newer professional team that has quickly become a big draw for soccer fans in the Central Pacific. The stadium is not just to house the Jaco Rays Soccer Team, it will maybe stage the Women's World Cup Under-17 in 2014, and other events and be one of the magnets to attract new buyers of condominiums and homes to the area.
December 15th, 2011 The new Jaco conference center and playhouse, Teatro Jaco is officially opened and are successfully presenting bilingual professional staged events, from plays to comedians.
June 25, 2011 The Jaco Cinema Complex is now open with 4 movie screens, with prices ranging from $4-$7. HOORAY!
April 1, 2011 Jaco's brand new central park is opened with its first Arts and Crafts fair.
The Johannes Dankers Park will offer several shaded areas to sit and relax, nighttime lighting, and there is a children’s playground welcoming families and all residents.
September 2010, New Jaco Public Library opens: CornerStones Education Foundation has been working to offer educational scholarships and to bring a multilingual library to Jacó. The Jaco library unites segments of the community by acting as a learning center for all kids, students and local residents.
HOW NICE TO LIVE IN A PLACE THAT RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL TOURIST AWARDS!
March 21st, 2013 Costa Rica is the safest country in Latin America according to a study by publisher-analyst, Latinvex. It uses the latest available data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The World Bank, Transparency International, Heritage Foundation and the World Economic Forum.
March 10, 2013 Costa Rica has topped the charts for Traveler’s Choice 2013 on both TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet sites. Of the Top 10 Beaches in Central America on TripAdvisor, Costa Rica snagged eight spots, including # 1, with Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific coast, only one hour from Jaco.
Top 20 destinations overall: Costa Rica, ninth, and the only Central American country in the top 20. Adventure: Costa Rica came in second place in the adventure travel category, helped, no doubt, by loads of visitors zip-lining through its jungles.
Nature: The Americas dominated the top 10 for ‘nature’ with four countries gracing the list: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil and Canada. Costa Rica takes the top spot. As one of our authors puts it, Costa Rica boasts a ‘Disney-like cast of creatures – ranging from howler monkeys to toucans, as well as jungle, active volcanoes and stunning coastlines.'
Costa Rica sets new record with 2.3 million visitors in 2012
March 04, 2013 - By Tico Times Tourist arrivals keep showing positive figures in Costa Rica as they increased for the third consecutive year, tourism officials said. The number of people traveling to Costa Rica from abroad in 2012 totaled 2,343,213, according to data released Monday by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and the Immigration Administration. North Americans registered the largest number of arrivals with 1,062,522, representing an increase of 8.9 percent compared to 2011. There were 864,340 visitors from the United States last year, 136,261 from Canada and 61,921 from Mexico.
Sept 14, 2012 The World Travel Awards 2012, held in Italy, awarded Costa Rica in nine categories within the Mexican and Central American region, among them was an award given to the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) as the ¨Primary Tourism Board or Institute,¨ which was the first time the institute received this award. Costa Rica was up for 41 nominations, of which they won nine. The World Travel Awards™ has been held every year since 1994, which honors the best of the best in the tourism industry. According to The Wall Street Journal, winning in this event is equivalent to the Oscars of the tourism industry.
June 1, 2012 Costa Rica again tops “ The Happy Planet Index”
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of sustainable well-being, long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The 2012 HPI report ranks 178 countries based on their efficiency – the extent to which each nation produces long and happy lives per unit of environmental input. The 2012 Happy Planet Index (HPI) has Costa Rica topping the list as the happiest country on Earth, as they did in 2009.
Jan. 16, 2013 The “Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report 2013” places Costa Rica as the best country in Latin America for outsourcing operations and 13th worldwide, according to a private study released by global consulting and investment firm Tholons.
October 24, 2012 COSTA RICA SWEEPS CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER’S 2012 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS The Costa Rica Tourism Board is thrilled to announce that Costa Rica was the most celebrated destination in Central America in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards released this week. The top honors went to the region’s favorite hotels and resorts, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
August 18, 2011: Costa Rica Ranks Best Country in Central America and the Caribbean for Foreign Direct Investment 2011-2012 . Considering the country's attraction of more than 227 new investment projects between 2003 and 2010, the Financial Times Group's FDI Intelligence unit has named Costa Rica the “Best Country of the Future for Foreign Direct Investment in Central America & the Caribbean” in its “FDI Countries of the Future” report.
Nov. 3, 2010 Costa Rica ranked number one value destination for winter 2010 by popular college student travel agencies: Smarter Travel, StudentUniverse, and STA in regards to great value locations for trips.
August 26, 2010: The magazine "Travel + Leisure" places Costa Rica at the top as the best country in the world for single travel, taking into account several factors, among them basics for a foreigner to enjoy their stay in a country and security.
2009 Global Prosperty Index ranked Costa Rica #1 of Latin American nations out of 104 nations indexed.
May 25, 2009 Costa Rica is the safest country in Latin America for business and multinational companies, according to the latest Latin Security Index analyzed by FTO for the weekly publication Latin Business Chronicle, .
Prior Awards for Costa Rica:
2008 Costa Rica is the second best tourist destination in Latin America/Caribbean, by the
World Economic Forum (WEF)
2008 Readers’ Choice Award: Best Destination for Ecotourism & Adventure.
2007 Travel Weekly voted CR: Best Destination Latin America
2006 Smarter Travel.com voted CR: #3 Safest Destination for Women Travelers
2006 Magazine "Viajes y Turismo" granted Costa Rica the award "Best Nature Tourism"
2004 "Recommend" (one of the top magazines for travel agencies),
Readers’ Choice Award: Best Destination for Ecotourism and Adventure.
"Recommend" Readers’ Choice Award: Best Selling Destination for Latin America
2004 Modern Bride - Best Destination for Honeymoons (Culture)
2004 Travel Weekly - Best Destination for Latin America Travel Weekly -
Best Destination for Tourism from the United States
2003 Recommend - Best Destination for Latin America.
CENTRAL PACIFIC JACO AREA AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
1. Billabong's 2009 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games was in Playa Hermosa Jaco beach, Costa Rica, July 31 till Aug. 9, 2009, 35 countries participated. It was a big success with an estimated 70,000 people in attendance!
2. The World Travel Awards announced (Feb. 2008), that Jaco, Costa Rica won "the Leading Beach in Central America."
3. Costa Rica Blue Flag Beach Awards: Oct. 2008 Jaco received its first Blue Flag beach designation for its attention to general cleanliness, clean tap water, and other things APRIL 16, 2011 The town of Jaco is very proud to have won its 4th Blue Flag thank to the joint efforts of the Municipality of Garabito, Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and the community’s Interinstitutional Environmental Commission of Jaco , the only one in Costa Rica. In order to receive the Blue Flag award, the quality of water, the solid waste management systems, the signaling of roads, the environmental education and public safety are all evaluated. The city council, local businesses and members of the community all worked together to ensure that the requirements were met for this award.
4. March 24, 2012 Playa Hermosa of Jaco has again been awarded its Blue Flag beach designation. This award confirms what the area residents already know- that Playa
Hermosa is not only a world class surfing destination, but a wonderful beach to enjoy
for many non-surfers also: as a beachcombers’ delight, a sunset photographers’ dream, a couples’ romantic stroll; or a family day at the beach…..
5. Oct. 25, 2008 A recent edition of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, mentions Central Pacific Costa Rican hotels among their Best Hotels of Central America awards. Hotels included in the listing are Lapa Ríos Ecolodge, ranking in 2nd place; and Villa Caletas, Herradura in seventh.
6. Feb. 26, 2009 Rain Forest Aerial Tram of the Tarcoles, Jaco area receives award as the Best Tour for the 2007-2008 season by Princess Cruise Lines
JACO SHOWS GROWTH with NEW RESTAURANTS
(updated March 1, 2013)
1. The Green Room: Gourmet burgers and Crab Eggs Benedict! Great new place! Recently moved from Hermosa to the old Rioasis site (Rioasis now in front of Best Western).
2. Burro Burrito: Owners are offering super burritos and want to franchise their great concept!
3. Caribeno: Offering jerk chicken and other Caribbean specialties
4. Eat!: Offering New York family style Italian
5. Paparazzi! Authentic Italian restaurant offering old favorites
6. 2 New Costa Rican Typical Style Restaurants offering great food, $4-$5 complete meals.
7. Marisqueria: Large reasonably priced seafood Costa Rican family style
RESTAURANT INFO UPDATED March, 2013
1. Lemonzest, Tsunami Sushi, I love Sushi, Los Amigos -(and now managing the Bohio Bar & Bubba's Grill); Taco Bar; Poseidon; Arigato; Big Ron's N.Y. Pizza (new management Pizza Shop), and Isaga are doing well. Too many more to name...
2. My personal favorite, "Graffiti" is now ranked #1 Jaco restaurant on Trip Advisor!
3. Lots of "typico" restaurants offering tasty buffet style, for breakfast, lunch or dinner
still for only $4.00- and most are doing quite well!
The Jaco, Central Pacific, Puntarenas, Costa Rica area is growing,
and now is the time to purchase your next home!