I just got back from my first trip to CR and also brought my wife. If I did it again, I would stay in Hermosa or Dominical (probably Dominical knowing what I know now). We stayed in Manuel Antonio and wound up driving to either Dominical (1.5 hours away) or Hermosa (1 hour away) every day for surf. The road really does not drive along the beach like you might think it would. When heading south for anything past the Esterillios/Bejuco area - beaches are nonexistent (or at least VERY hard to find). Jaco is a pretty crappy town. Dominical is the coolest surftown in CR central pacific . Next in line is Hermosa. Hermosa is closer to the airport and you have Jaco nearby if you feel the need to visit a run-down touristy town to shop. The rainforrest in Manuel Antonio is pretty cool, but if it's cranking every day and you dont' make it, you won't miss out on anything. Unless you really like seeing monkeys in the woods.