Best Hiking Trails Near Jaco, Costa Rica
Head for the hills, beaches, and waterfalls for a look at the wild side while hiking near Jaco, Costa Rica
If you fancy a walk “in the woods,” hiking is a wonderful way to see Costa Rica’s natural wonders near Jaco Beach. Here are three great trails, near Croc’s Resort & Casino, just to start you off.
Bijagual Waterfalls near Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
A lovely, off the beaten track kind of hike, Bijagual Waterfall is very near Croc’s Resort. To get there, look for the sign which pops up just after you pass Carara National Park; also, watch for signs to Pura Vida Waterfall and Gardens. Follow the steep road about 7 km until you come to a sign reading “catarata” (Spanish for waterfall).
A local guide offers parking that comes with a view of the rainforest valley below. You can try to negotiate the $20 he charges foreign visitors, though it’s usually worth the peace of mind to pay him. He maintains the trail and his is the only path to the highest waterfall in Costa Rica.
The trail is open between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and takes about 45 minutes each way. Go early for best wildlife viewing opportunities.
Check out Miro Mountain, close to Croc’s
Near Garabito, is Miro Mountain, a 2.7 km out-and-back trail that’s popular locally (but still not too busy). At the gas station two dirt roads intersect with Hwy 34 (Costanera) on the southern side of Jacó, take the southernmost road. The first 15 minutes or so are the steepest along the shaded trail up the mountain through the rainforest. You’ll have some great view over Jacó, as well as Playa Hermosa toward the end of the walk. walk up Miro’s Mountain is a beautiful forest road in the shade. Keep an eye out for monkeys, leafcutter ants, and turkeys, as well as macaws and toucans. The trail is open for walking and biking (road or mountain) year-round.
All these trails are easily reached and well sign-posted. Remember there are no addresses in Costa Rica, so it’s a matter of following landmarks to find your way to the trailheads. If you prefer something more organized, ask the Croc’s concierge about tours.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is an hour’s drive south of Jacó, and famed for its white-sand beaches, wildlife, and coastal rainforest. If you want to do-it-yourself on this park’s easy trails to the Escondido Sur and Manuel Antonio beaches, the entry fee is $16. If you want a naturalist guide to point out the flora and fauna along the way, it’s $51/adult and $35/child. The trails are easy and mostly paved. The attraction here is the biodiversity: With 109 species of mammal, including the local howler, Capuchin, and titi monkey species, as well as 184 bird species and a wide variety of plant species, there is plenty to discover.
If you want something a pit more strenuous, but not too much so, the Cathedral Point Trail loops around the ridge (0.9 miles), and you can reach it from either beach. Fair warning, there are steep sections.
The park is open 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., go early because entry is limited. Take lunch and swimsuits and enjoy the beach.
If you enjoy nature and hiking, there is no better place in the world than Costa Rica; with its rich biodiversity and numerous hiking trails that suit every level of experience and fitness, you won’t be disappointed.