Today I’m hosting a beautiful picture from the Jaco Island in East Timor taken by Lisa from TheHotFlashPacker Blog.
Photo Story: Visiting Jaco Island in Timor Leste
I travelled to Timor Leste in 2017 without any solid plans or reservations. I had dreamed of going to Jaco Island off the eastern coast, but little information was found online and tours were crazy expensive.
My first stop in Dili was a hostel and I met several other travellers. One was a native Portuguese speaker who was my age and she also wanted to go to Jaco Island. We started out the next day on an action-packed six-day trip.
The adventure started on the taxi ride to the bus station when touts stole her suitcase out of the front seat of the car and she chased them down the street yelling “Policia” as I tightly held on to the rest of our bags.
We waited hours for the bus to fill but eventually made our way to Baucau for a couple nights.
We visited a deserted beach with crocodile footprints and hitched a ride back to town with a goat ready for dowry.
That afternoon we went for a swim at the local pool when a couple dozen teenage boys joined. She proceeded to save the life of a drowning kid that slide down the slide into water that was deeper than he imagined. That evening, we invited to the local illicit casino and cockfighting arena.
We continued to Los Palos where we stayed in the school convent with nuns. It was the Corpus Cristi holiday, so I did the religious procession around the town.
The bus to the coast never showed up the next day so we had a truck take us. The driver was quite enamoured with my new friend and he invited us to his cousin’s wedding.
The last 10 km to the beach requires a 4×4 truck so we hiked down the road and detoured to a cave with ancient drawings. We arrived at the beach and stayed in the local bungalows.
The next day involved a ride with a local fisherman to the deserted Jaco Island. What an amazing place – incredible white sand and snorkelling only a few meters from the shore.
Our fisherman didn’t come back at the appointed time, so we were jumping and waving that someone at the mainland would see us.
Luckily there was one other group on Jaco Island this day, so we got back to the mainland with them… we easily could have been stranded.
We paid for a ride in a 4×4 back up to the main town and were walking up to the only (expensive) hotel when a shop owner waved us over and offered we could stay at his shop.
That evening we hung out in his shop, watched TV with his kids, and listened to his stories about his time in the mountains during the war with Indonesia.
The next day we waited for the bus for 6 hours and it never materialized. Every time we heard a vehicle we ran to the road, but nothing came so yet again we had to hitch a ride in a private car.
After one more night with the nuns, I took the bus back to Dili and had to say goodbye to this lovely, relatively undiscovered country. This trip is a memory I will never forget.
Jaco Island, sometimes spelt Jako, is an uninhabited island in East Timor, a country occupying the eastern end of the island of Timor in the Lesser Sunda Islands of Wallacea. It lies within Nino Konis Santana National Park.
Jaco lies just off the eastern end of the island of Timor, part of the Tutualasubdistrict in Lautém District, and is separated from the mainland in front of Valu Beach by a 700-metre-wide channel navigable by small vessels.
The limestone Island was made out of coral and is surrounded by limestone cliffs and coral reefs.
There was one lighthhouse on the island built by the Indonessian but in 2010 the 35-metre-high structure was removed.
To the locals the island is considered sacred due to the two seas (Banda Sea and Timor Sea) are meeting.
Officially it is not allowed to visit the island but locals will happily take you there for US$10 (3-5 minutes each way) on one of the fishing boats.
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