If you’d like to be sitting on a beach or having a cocktail by the pool by afternoon the same day you left home, Crocs Resort in Jaco is one of the best choices for Costa Rica. With a full casino and nightclub on site, it also offers plenty of fun after the sun goes down.
Costa Rica is not a big country, but getting to some of its beach resort areas from the main San Jose airport is generally not an easy thing. Most of them require a few hours in a car or another prop plane flight after landing—sometimes from a whole different airport. Getting to newcomer Crocs Casino Resort is a breeze though, down a toll expressway most of the way to the coast.
Jaco has long been known as the sleazy town located between the upscale Los Suenos development and resort to the north and the more family-friendly Quepos and Manuel Antonio beach areas to the south. Known for its bars that were only “gentleman” clubs by name, it hasn’t attracted that many moneyed tourists, despite the easy access from the capital city.
Crocs is looking to take things up several notches. This is a comfortable, well-designed resort that is just a shade shy of being a true five-star, with well-stocked rooms and an impressive pool complex. Opened in February of 2015, everything was gleaming new when I visited and it was clear that the crew doing the construction finishing were pros who knew what they were doing.
This is a resort built for fun, with three restaurants and bars on site, in addition to the full-blown casino with 28 table games. Fitting for a hotel with a casino, there’s one bar open 24 hours and five boutiques are open late so you can go spend your winnings.
If you’ve over-indulged too much, there’s a gym on site, a spa, and a full beauty salon. There’s plenty of relaxation space around the pool complex, including some built-in lounge chairs in the water, plus this is a long and wide beach to enjoy just beyond.
With 152 rooms in the 17-story building, every room has some kind of view and in the top ones it’s a real panorama. The two lowest levels though are standards and junior suites that face the mountains. Unless you’re really saving all your money for gambling, head to the other side of the hallway for an ocean view version. The top category is the junior suite terrace, which has lots of outdoor lounging space. If you’re a family or group though, there are also one- and two-bedroom condos that are available in a rental pool basis.
All rooms are bright and cheerful, with quality tile in the main room, then tile, marble and stone in the baths. They come with a long list of amenities, including robes, mini-fridge, electronic safe, VoIP phone, and a music player to connect to your device. There’s evening turn-down service and as with nearly all quality hotels in Costa Rica, Wi-Fi is included in the rates.
The restaurants here strive to go above the Costa Rican norm, which frankly doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. Dishes are tasty and well-presented, plus the options range from seafood to sandwiches and Mediterranean to Mexican. You’ll also find an excellent coffee shop serving brews from local beans. Although “casino resort” and “kid-friendly” might not naturally go hand-in-hand, there’s a kids’ menu at the restaurants and a playground area for them in their section of the pool.
If you’re wondering where the name came from, yes, there are live crocodiles on site…
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who toured the resort while researching a tour story for another publication.