Jaco is an island in the eastern most tip of East Timor, 240kms from the capital Dili. The island is locally considered sacred. Jaco is a paradisiac island with white sand beaches, amazing snorkeling and diving.
Because of its consideration as a sacred place, there are no constructions in Jaco island, nor accommodation or shops. To stay the night there are 2 choices of beach huts in Valu Beach, the beach right in front of Jaco. Both provide very basic accommodation and meals so you will need to pack anything you need from the latest town, Tutuala, or if you have some special needs better bring them from Dili.
As most places in East Timor, there are very few tourists. If you go on a weekday is likely you will have the whole island for yourself.
Jaco is accessible from Vaue Sere Beach, 8 km from Tutuala. There is no public transportation to Tutuala.
To reach Valu Sere three have two options:
You can organize a driver from Dili to take you there and back. A 4WD is your best option.
You can rent a motorbike in Dili and drive all the way to Tutuala. The last 8 km from Tutuala to Jaco are rather challenging. As of May 2017 roadworks are on-going and teh first 4 km are not worse than the road before Tutuala. But the last 4 km have steep slopes with broken pavement and unpaved conditions and potholes too large for a scooter. If you do not have an off-road bike it is recommendable to just leave the scooter in Tutuala and walk the last 8 km. Going down to Value Sere with a scooter is doable but risky.
You can get a bus from Dili or Baucau to Lospalos. From there you will need to catch a ride on some truck to Tutuala and then walk the last 8 km down to Valu Sere beach.
Fishermen would be happy to cross you from Valu Beach to Jaco Island. They usually charge 10$/person both ways, you can tell them when to go back to pick you up. On weekdays there may only be one boat so expect to wait.
Valu Sere and Jaco are both small enough to walk, but the dense vegetation on Jaco means that you'll be confined mostly to the beach.
Snorkeling and diving are very recommendable around Jaco Island. However, there are not operators or equipment on the area so you will need to either arrange a tour operator from Dili or bring your own equipment. Walu Sere has some old snorkels that they will rent for $5/day.
The accommodation in Valu Sere provides basic meals (rice, noodles, and vegetables) for 3.5$ and breakfast (coffee and a tasty banana inside a flour cover) for 1.5$. They do not sell anything else so you will need to bring your own drinks, sweets, etc.
You can also talk with the fishermen who will ferry you to Jaco Island for them to prepare your lunch or dinner with their freshly caught fish.
There are 2 community run eco-villages that provide basic accommodation in the shape of wood and bamboo huts.
Walu Sere, co-financed by the EU, is the first one on the left that you find when reaching the beach. Charges 20$/night for a hut. They have no means of reservation so just show up.
After Walu Sere there is another eco-village with a similar concept but slightly newer.
You can bring your own tent and camp in Valu Sere beach or in the grass in front of the existing accomodation for a few dollars.
There is no camping allowed on Jaco island itself.