When I first started visiting Jaco (2000), it was a sleepy little tourist town. Not much traffic, not many cars and hardly no new condo construction. Banco National was being rebuilt and one new shopping center in the central. NOT ANY MORE. In six years, I have watched Jaco grow so fast that I can't imagine "WHOM" is going to buy all these condos now being built! It's like my hometown in South Florida, after hurricane Andrew. They came in droves and built to the limit. We now have so many projects going up here, it would be difficult to count them all. And a new hotel, Ramada. I saw a huge billboard for it.
In the years 2000-2003, you could actually ride your horse down main street and it was perfectly calm. People were on bikes and walking, we had a fourth of the taxis we have now, and about half of the current auto traffic. There weren't many SUV's and only a few buses. I really don't remember WHEN I realized I wouldn't be riding horseback through downtown Jaco anymore. It's now illegal to ride your horse on the beach but some still do. Mostly, Tico horse tours. They do allow cars to park on the beach during over-flows like Easter holiday, etc. but normally, it's prohibited ($20 fine).
Time sure does change things and the little Jaco I knew, is no longer here. Even the type of tourist have changed. It used to be families and couples, some surfers. Now it's a lot of men looking for a good time, fishing and "what-not" (prostitution is legal).
It's a little sad to see the same thing happen here as what happened in South Florida. The North American investors (i.e., United States) are here in full force, building a New Jaco. The reasons I moved here are slowly fading. Progress is good but the by-product could cause me to move farther South in search for the Real Costa Rica.
NOTE: Click on the link to PHOTOS.