We won’t be surprised if the majority of you reading this haven’t heard either of Jaco Island or even Timor Leste, for that matter. So, hold your breath for we are about to disclose a giant travel secret to you that you can thank us later for. By Shubhanjana Das
Even though any form of development or infrastructure isn’t allowed on this rather sacred island, it is definitely worth taking a trip to this deserted tropical piece of untouched natural beauty, which is just 11 sq. km area. If you are a beach bum and have dreamt of a beach all to yourself with white sand lined by the azure and turquoise blue of the sea, this is your chance to see it in real life.
Jaco Island is an uninhabited island, which lies within the Nino Konis Santana National Park. East Timor is a baby country that is just 15 years old and is located in the eastern end of Timor Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands of Wallacea. A 700-metre wide channel that is negotiable by small vessels separates Jaco from the mainland, i.e. Valu Island. This journey can be covered with the help of a fisherman who can take you right through for a nominal amount. However, make sure you don’t fall for the water’s lure and try to swim it through for the currents aren’t forbidding at all.
Even though locals themselves don’t visit the island as they consider it sacred owing to it being the meeting point of the Banda and the Timor Sea, they are more than happy to ferry you through. Jaco Island is a limestone island made out of coral and surrounded by limestone cliffs, a sight that is hard to believe and forget. If you want to witness the life underneath the waters, we say you take a dive and snorkel through these clear blue waters. If anything is going to make your trip to Jaco Island, however short it may be, worth recalling to your grand kids!
How to Get There:
It shouldn’t be news to you that you have to cover quite a distance to find a deserted tropical haven at this time and age. So, here goes — take a bus to Bacau from Dili and then to Lospalos. Now, the tricky part is to get to Tutuala from Lospalos. If you’re lucky, you can hire a cab to do so, or rely on a local for a favour. To get to Valu beach, from where you can get boats to get to Jaco, you need to walk down 8 km. You can completely avoid this by hooking yourself up a hired vehicle all the way from Lospalos to Valu or just from Tutuala to Valu arranged by the local guesthouses since the hike isn’t the easiest.
Things to Remember:
- There is no ferry service from Valu to Jaco. It is the fishermen who give you a ride for a minimal fare.
- It is best to leave it up to the fishermen to decide what time would be safe to cross the channel for they are the best judges, obviously.
- There is no facility available on Jaco Island, and that includes water and food. So, make sure you are equipped with enough food and water right from Valu.
- Last, but never the least, Valu Island is sacred to the locals and is one of the last remaining uninhabited islands in this part of the world. So, avoid littering to preserve the untamed beauty of the place by bringing back everything you brought from Valu.