Some thirty years ago, my family and I went to Jaco to camp. I will never forget that experience. There was just a single road, not paved, that crossed the “town” and some small paths to cross to the beach. Jaco town was conformed by a handful of houses, two “sodas” and a “Jardin Cervecero”, the only bar and dancing place around.
There was not a single hotel, so people could only camp there. You could not find a parking lot or a gas station. The most you could find there was a couple of “Pulperias” (grocery stores) to buy some bread to make sandwiches and powder milk to make baby bottles (it was a very long trip to bring fresh milk there).
A bus would leave in the morning and another would arrive by noon. There was no electricity during the day and lights would be turned on by a generator at 6 p.m. and they would go off by 9 p.m. People would dance like crazy for those 3 hours and when the electricity went off, everybody walked the beach back to their camping spots.
But the beauty of this place was outstanding. The long, sandy beach and the wonderful sea were the starting figures in the whole scene. Wildlife, green mountains and luscious vegetation were there to be enjoyed. During a hot sunny day, people could even buy a “granizado” (snow cone) at the beach. Quite a treat!
Things have quite changed since then. Jaco is now a very active, very popular, and very lively city. One of Costa Rica’s favorite destinations, Jaco’s got all you can imagine: from banks, gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels to adventure sports, surfing, water sports, entertainment and nightlife.
World class surfing is practiced at Jaco. Tour operators provide sailing tours, offshore fishing trips, and water sports as sea kayaking, outriggers canoes, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Real estate developments are booming and first class accommodations are available all around Jaco. People can either stay at a “cabina” (little house), in a gated community home, a hotel or a luxurious condo.
Even though Jaco is far from being a crowded beach, it is quite visited and many tourists from all over the world stay there during their trip to Costa Rica. Getting to Jaco from San Jose takes now a couple of hours. Soon, when the new highway is finished, it will take little more than an hour to get there.
Now, electricity and running water services are available all over Jaco and party does not have to stop at nine anymore! Yet, there is something that remains just the same: the incredible spell nature puts on you. That ocean is still the same, and the mountains are still green and full of wildlife. Just a few miles on the road to Hermosa Beach you may find a look out point that promises to take your breath away.
Yes, Jaco has certainly changed, but for better! When the new highway to Caldera is finished, Jaco will be ready to receive all the people that will come to visit and enjoy this wonderful place.