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History of Jaco, Costa Rica


Very little is known about the history of Jaco or Costa Rica prior to the arrival and exploration of this green country by Christopher Columbus. Archaeological excavations have produced little to no evidence that a written language has been found. Read below to learn the history of the beautiful city of Jaco, Costa Rica after the arrival of Christopher Columbus!

Columbus arrived in the area in 1502, but the inevitable influx of Europeans and disenfranchisement of the natives did not occur until almost sixty years later. During this time gold was the main motivator and money maker. Christopher Columbus named the area “Costa Rica” which translates to “the rich coast.” Vulnerability to European-born diseases and the natives’ lack of population in the face of high-volume European infiltration led to their decimation despite their fierce resistance.

The introduction of coffee to Costa Rica in the early 1800s led to the development of political structure and independence for the inhabitants. A former coffee grower named Juan Rafael Mora was president of Costa Rica and helped the country grow economically and socially. After years and years of struggle between wealthy Spanish coffee growers and local political powers, this served to unify the people and the country declared independence from Spain in 1821.

In the year 1949, a war broke out briefly when opposing factions battled over the presidency, but was subdued within weeks. Under the new presidency, women and black people were given the right to vote. The dismantlement of the country’s armed forces was a model for all peace-loving nations.

The city of Jacó has a special place in the hearts of Ticos. It is the quickest oceanside destination for people of the Central Valley. Most Ticos fondly remember the days when weekend shuttle buses would pick up beach-seekers in the city center and whisk them away to the then-undeveloped Pacific paradise.

The secret got out in the early nineties when Canadians on package tours started flooding in. Tourism remained pretty low-key for the most part. A lot of surfers and anglers from all over the world started visiting Costa Rica. Jacó remained the dominion of Central Valley Ticos looking for a bit of fun and sun. But things changed dramatically as soon as the retiring baby boomers began and the search for cheap property began to relocate here.

In just a few years, Jacó became the most rapidly growing town in all of Costa Rica. Beachfronts cleared and hillsides leveled, plots of land were subdivided and Jacó became the exclusive enclave of moneyed expats almost overnight. Ticos were elated that the development brought coveted Western institutions such as paved roads and fast-food restaurants.

Jacó now has an increasingly stable infrastructure and developments such as Jacó Walk, a recently-built family-friendly plaza full of great restaurants, art and potted plants. It is now known for its awesome surf beaches and nightlife and as a gateway to gorgeous national parks.

Are you planning to visit Jaco, Costa Rica? Click here to contact Ocean Ranch Park today!