Jaco Beach: it's a favorite spot for locals, tourists, surfers, and sunbathers alike. Because of its ideal location and ease of access, Jaco, Costa Rica is a welcoming destination for people flying into San Jose from other parts of the world looking for a home base for their beach getaway.
But there's one thing no longer welcome on Jaco Beach: tobacco.
In an effort to reduce the pollution of local waters and protect the Pacific Ocean, several organizations came together to formally label Jaco Beach tobacco-free. This is far from the first environmental responsibility effort seen in Jaco in the past few years. The Costa Rican town is becoming well-known for its commitment to creating a healthier and more sustainable Earth.
The tobacco ban comes right on the heels of a major beach pick-up, where over 230 kilograms of garbage were removed from nearby Roca Loca Beach. The smoke-free initiative also draws up the memory of the town’s renowned Ecological Surfboard Project - where local nonprofit Jacó Impact upcycled a discarded surfboard using over 10,000 cigarette buds collected from beach clean-ups.
The outlawing of tobacco on Jaco Beach came about thanks to the joint efforts of the Municipal Council of Garabito, the OneSea Foundation, and the Chamber of Tourism and Sustainable Commerce of the Central Pacific.
The Municipality of Garabito represents the Garabito canton that includes Jaco District. This local government serves to improve the quality of life for those living in and visiting the area, and they manage public resources and services.
Partnering with the OneSea Foundation has strengthened the local government’s efforts at Jaco Beach. This nonprofit is on mission to protect the oceans from pollution. They promote environmental policies like the ban by bringing together the proper experts, volunteers, and legal support.
The Chamber of Tourism and Sustainable Commerce of the Central Pacific, also known as CATUCOSO, works on developing the Central Pacific area in economic, social, and cultural ways to benefit the tourism industry for the benefit of the town. Many of their initiatives focus on environmental conservation and the use of natural resources.
Local citizens and visitors to Jaco, Costa Rica alike will be held accountable to the new law forbidding smoking and tobacco at Jaco Beach. Garabito's police force will be tasked with enforcing the ban, charging a fine of ¢46,200 to anyone breaking the rule. (In USD, that's about $67.)
It looks like more smoke-free zones will be allocated along Costa Rica's Pacific Ocean shores. The OneSea Foundation is advocating for more public beaches to follow suit. Leaders of the organization are partnering and consulting with local government agencies to develop and implement policies that will help take care of the environment.
The recent efforts to improve Jaco, Costa Rica's environmental sustainability profile have definitely been done with the Earth in mind, but also the people of Jaco. Initiatives like the new tobacco ban should help the local tourism industry and boost local businesses as a result.
Jaco has become known in recent years for its sustainable efforts to protect and preserve the environment, including beach clean-ups, initiatives to reduce disposable plastic use, decarbonization goals, and widespread use of clean electricity. Travelers who are fans of ecotourism are often drawn to spots like Jaco for their vacations – and this ban should further entice them.