I am in the works of planning my first trip to Costa Rica. I am looking for a city/town to stay in that has a lot going on in terms of shopping, restaurants and night life but that also has great beaches within walking or biking distance from the hotel. I have heard Jaco offers all of this but the beaches within walking distance of town are not that nice. I would love any insights or suggestions that you may have.
That is very true, Jaco fits the description you are looking for but the beaches within walking aren’t the best. First you should check out our Best Beach Towns without a Car post to find some ideas. For some more specific ideas; Tamarindo is a lot like Jaco in terms of things going on and has some really nice beaches nearby (best for surfing though). Samara or Santa Teresa/Mal Pais might also be a good options too. They are smaller but still have a bit of nightlife, some beautiful beaches, and are walkable. And on the Caribbean side, Puerto Viejo would definitely be a good choice. Hope this helps!
first time to visit CR what area should I choose for great beach and water ski
Hi Taylor, water skiing isn’t very popular in Costa Rica because there are typically lots of waves. But you can find it on the west side of Lake Arenal at Hotel Puerto San Luis. You might also have some luck near Golfito or Puerto Jimenez since they are in a somewhat sheltered bay. You could check out our Destinations Summary Guide for some beach ideas too: https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/costa-rica-destinations-summary-guide/