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History and Culture Playa Jaco

Hidden History

Jacó is a secretive sole when it comes to the past. Archaeological digs that in many other parts of Costa Rica have unearthed remnants of ancient tribes and cultures in Jacó have produced nothing and there is no evidence of a bygone written language either. It was only in1502, when Christopher Columbus discovered the area during his exploration of the Americas that we begin to find out a few more snippets of information. He was followed by the Europeans who came and settled in the area, bringing with them many foreign diseases and displacing the native people, tearing through town and country with one objective in mind: Gold.


During the 1800s Costa Rica realised the suitability of its land and climate to the cultivation of coffee and began to export its profitable product to the rest of the world. During this period over 90% of the exports leaving Costa Rica were coffee, A railway was built to help with the process of exportation and along the railroads banana trees were planted to feed the hungry workers. These developed into whole banana plantations and attracted foreign investment. In 1889 the contractor Minor Keith took over a large plot of the land where the bananas were growing and began to export them to the US, eventually forming a union with the United Fruit Company. This became the largest employer in Costa Rica and the start of fierce competition between locals and migrants for work. Following a series of strikes against the company the Government began to segregate against the black workers and forbade them to move with the banana plantations to the Pacific coast and take up work there.

However, one good that the introduction of these trades to Costa Rica did do was to bring stability to the region and a development of some sort of political structure for the first time. In 1849 Juan Rafael Mora, a former coffee grower himself, became President and thus implemented a period of social and democratic development. Following struggles with the wealthy Spanish coffee producers Costa Rica declared independence from Spain in 1821.

Peace and Harmony

War briefly broke out in the year 1949 over the presidency of the nation, but it was easily dispelled and democratic developments, such as disenfranchisement for women and black people, flowed

Playa Jacó is a town centred around a 2.5 mile strip of beach, famous for its surfing. It is the nearest beach to the San José area and is home to a wealth of hotels, restaurants and activities for all budgets. Once quite a sleepy toen, it is now full to the brim with surfers and party-goers alike and has been converted in to Costa Rica's ultimate beach party.If you are a bit of a surf fanatic or even just fancy getting away from it all and being beside the Costa Rican coast, then Playa Jacó could be the place for you to pick up your books and study a Spanish language course!