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Friday, February 23, 2024

Costa Rica of yesteryear is just 20 minutes from Jacó

If you’re looking for a break from Jacó’s non-stop action, the beach town’s antithesis is just eighteen kilometers away. As close as that is, it feels worlds apart..

Bijagual is a small rural town perched atop the hills that overlook the Central Pacific Coast. Carara National Park forms a backdrop for the bucolic community, like a wild garden clinging to the sides of craggy mountains.

Sweeping views of Costa Rica’s countryside lie at every turn on the road to Bijagual.

You won’t find any souvenir stands, fusion restaurants, or board short-wearing tourists up there. You will find traditional Costa Rican cuisine, a cantina, couple of general stores, and a smattering of modest homes with colorful gardens that remind one of what Costa Rica might have looked like 50 years ago.

portrait campesino
Elías Fernandez Delgado stopped to chat as he walked back into town.

This town is worth a visit. Because of its elevation, temperatures are markedly cooler here than at the beach. “At night, sometimes the fog is so thick you can’t see across the soccer field,” said Alexander Vindas. Mr. Vindas works at Bar y Restaurante Bijagual, which serves up traditional Costa Rican fare and reasonably priced drinks. Mr. Vindas also leads tours to the area’s famous Bijagual waterfall, which tumbles some 600 feet into the valley below. His tour costs $45, leaves from the restaurant, and takes around 3-4 hours. Included in this price is entrance to the falls and a fresh fruit snack. For more information, email ( or call 8885-2173.

Alex Vindas is a native of Bijagual. He works at the local bar/restaurant and offers tours of the waterfall.

How to get there: From Jacó, take Calle Ancha to the highway. Turn left, then a quick right at the sign for the Rainforest Adventure’s  entrance. Go past the park’s entrance and keep to the left at the fork. Then it’s a winding, uphill drive until you get to the top of the mountain ridge. Views here are excellent. Continue along this road until you get to town. The road is gravel the entire way, but it is well maintained and is passable in a sedan. From downtown Jacó it’s about a 25-minute drive.


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