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Hotel El Cocal & Casino
Brian; 
Canada
April 2006
Just returned from my January 2006 trip to Jaco. I have frequented Cuba many times, but first time to Costa Rica. Got a good package deal and stayed at the Cocal on the beach. It is upscale with Imperials at the pool bar running at $3 USD. Decided to fill up the cooler with hotel ice and buy the beers at the Mas x Menos store @ $1 ea. Went to the Bijagual Waterfalls by taxi for $50 with entrance @ 15 pp. The brochure shows people at the base of the falls and swimming in the lower pools. I ended up about 2 km from the falls at the scenic lookout. When I queried the staff they told me "that it was too dangerous" for the tourists. Met another couple that were directed to the same spot and I advised them so that they could save their $30. Back in town the food prices are about the same as Canada, bread $2, etc. Best deals were 250 ml of vanilla for 600col and water (a necessity) by the 6 lt jug was 990 colones ( (remove nospam) I was going to rent a bicycle but the poor condition and the $10 a/day turned me off. 250 cc dirt bikes go for $50/4 hours and Polaris 4 wheel ATV for $96/half day. At budget Rent a Car a 4x4 Daihatsu was minimum 2 day rental with 3rd party liability (you are still financially responsible for all damages to Budgets vehicle) @ $200. Considering the vehicle prices that I saw on the internet it seemed a bit pricy. Received a free map of CR anyway. Camping on the beach is free and you can buy locally a 2 man tent and foam for $10 ea. If security is a concern or you want luxury, a private campground is available next to the beach police station for $3/day and includes showers (cold) and toilet. All in all -- a good trip, but next time I will go in October (low season) and travel 80 miles south or north of Jaco to a less traveled tourist area. (read less expensive)