Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

Playa Jaco, Costa Rica 2018

Costa Rica gets into your soul. Pura Vida is a feeling; a way of life. My family has had connections to Costa Rica for nearly half a century, but lately I’ve been watching Americanism take over my own little piece of paradise.

I stopped going to Costa Rica after I was charged $5. extra for a slice of cheese on a $15 chicken sandwich. As a Travel-Blogger, I simply could not continue to patronize a country who was so obviously taking advantage of tourists.

My last article on Jaco —> HERE 

My last article on San Jose —> HERE

But, Lo and Behold, here I am again… PURA VIDA 2018!

Let’s see what has changed in the 5 years since I’ve been living in protest.

The biggest and most amazing evolution this recent trip was MY SON. You have to understand, this kid has literally been going to Costa Rica since he was six weeks old. I like to embarrass him by telling people that he learned how to swim in a volcanic pool by Arenal, and he was even potty trained there.

Now that he is a 12 year old involved in the surf/skim scene, things have changed dramatically on our end.  We need to pack all his “gear,” and he seems to have friends all over the world due to social media. It was as if we arrived in Costa Rica with a plethora of family lined-up and waiting for him to come surf and skim.

I can’t count how many amazing people we met simply because they recognized him on Instagram, “Are you Cairo’s mom?”    

Yes, yes I am…

With that said, the changes in Playa Jaco are astonishing.

There is the new Jaco Walk, which is an outdoor mini-mall filled with high end surf shops and cafes. The civic center has art classes, martial arts and a skate park. The art scene is apparent all over Jaco, and so much more.

All of the changes are wonderful for tourism, but I was left feeling very sad for the Costa Rican people. I feel that since the Americans have arrived, the locals are being priced out.

I kid you not, every single meal we ate cost MORE than most restaurants in the middle of New York City. Coming from Florida I was not prepared for this MAJOR change in Costa Rica. Even 5 years ago, I could find little local “sodas” (or cafe’s) which were reasonably priced… but not this trip.


Nostalgia reminds me of the days when a margarita was only 75 cents, now they are $15. I’m not even kidding when I tell you a bag of potato chips in San Jose cost $11. which I REFUSED to pay.

“So Britt, enough with the bad news, tell me something good?”

As usual, the good outweighs the bad with Pura Vida… THIS trip was by far my favorite adventure I’ve ever had. I think mostly because I was back with my friends at the Catalina hotel, and also because I was traveling with my husband as well.

I can’t explain it, but I have never felt this content.

When my husband first arrived in Costa Rica he wanted to go explore, but I told him to slow it down, unwind, disconnect and FEEL Pura Vida.

A few days later I caught him in a trance feeding some ants on the front lawn, that’s when I KNEW… he found it. Some of you may remember a post I wrote from the Catalina Hotel about watching the ants? If not, please READ , we are meant for each other, I swear. HA.

Ants eating cereal

Typically in my Nomadic Nirvana category, I detail places to see, things to do, or where to eat. I don’t feel the need to do that this time around, because for all the changes Jaco has undergone, it is still the exact same town it has always been.

Yes, there are many new “high-end” things, but, this vacation was about rediscovering WHY I love Costa Rica despite the huge prices, construction, and tourists.

First, I’m still in love with the food.

Gallo Pinto, Natilla, Naturales, and Dos Pinos ice cream? Yes please. There are tons of new organic restaurants popping up everywhere. You can even get Falafel, Thai food… ANYTHING YOU WANT, in Jaco.

Yoga is plentiful.

Surf is great.

I love that Costa Ricans value natural things, and it shows in everything they do.

Jaco, now has two skate parks and a modern playground for kids. They have a ropes course, dirt bike lessons, and Parkour training.

Anything you can get at home? Costa Rica has it.

Medi-tours, where you can get procedures like Cool-sculpting for only $180 an area, are popping-up all over CR.

And, I’ve often claimed that although I’ve lived in both Costa Rica and Mexico, the Mexican people tend to welcome you into their family for a lifetime.  All the years of traveling to Costa Rica, I have very few Tico’s that I can call my “friend.” But, this trip changed that impression, and I fully accredit that to my son.

My son being involved in the surf world seemed to open the Tico’s up, a brethren of like minds, I suppose. We left feeling loved, and as if lifelong friendships were created.

I assume it takes more for a Tico to get past the transient lifestyle we Americans tend to bring while visiting. Costa Ricans have always been pleasant, nonetheless.

My family and I hiked the same mountains we have hiked for decades; we visited the crocodiles at Tarcoles bridge, went zip lining at Jaco Ropes, and checked everything off our list, as usual.

But this time was different. Maybe it was the feeling of coming “home,” or maybe it was passing the torch of Pura Vida onto my son and husband?

Whatever it was, I came home and purchased tickets to return in November of this year. Pura Vida,  Mae!

These are a few of my favorite things in Jaco:

Catalina Hotel Family owned oceanfront boutique hotel.

Tortuga Surf Camp  The best surf instructors in Jaco

The Green Room: Fresh organic food with live music

The TacoBar  Delicious Fresh food at good prices

Jaco Ropes Adventure Park  A fun day in the jungle, ropes course, zip line

Pops Ice Cream Local Costa Rican Ice cream store


For more pictures and articles see below. 

For more adventures in my Nomadic Nirvana Category: 

Nassau, Bahamas: HERE

Cajinicuilapa, Mexico: HERE

St Petersburg, Florida: HERE

Dubai Layover: HERE

Dubai Tips: HERE

Rishikesh, India: HERE

New Delhi, India: HERE

Jaipur, India: HERE

Jaco, Costa Rica: HERE

San Jose, Costa Rica: HERE

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica: HERE

Most Interesting Travel Blogger: HERE



3 comments on “Playa Jaco, Costa Rica 2018

  1. Moushmi Radhanpara
    August 4, 2018

    This place is a wonder!


  2. Susanne Peters
    July 16, 2019

    Been further south where it is also gorgeous but remote. Jaco offers so much more than the negative reviews on travel sites. It’s in transition and ticos are still wonderful if you are too! Good vibes go both ways. Moved here for good two months ago from the Northwest United States and can’t be more blessed!


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