The town is in a valley in the Jacumba Mountains at an altitude of . The area is dry with an annual average rainfall of . It is served by Old Highway 80; Interstate 8 bypasses the town at a distance of two miles (3 km). The town is located in the Pacific time zone (GMT -08:00).
Jacumba is located on the US-Mexico border. A small settlement exists on the Mexican side, known as La Rumorosa; the unmanned crossing was closed in 1995. The new, enlarged border fence now runs through the area. The United States Border Patrol maintains an increased presence in the area to curtail smuggling and illegal immigration.
Around the turn of the century, the health and relaxation benefits of natural hot springs began to be commercialized. The Jacumba hot spring is prolific and delivered enough water to fill large public baths, the remains of which can still be seen. The water contains sulfur but has a pleasant clean smell. In 1919 rail service connected Jacumba to San Diego. By 1925 the town had a world class hotel, the Hotel Jacumba. In the 1930s, Jacumba had developed into a top destination and had a population of more than 5,000. Many of the foremost movie stars and celebrities of the time regarded Jacumba as a prime destination for relaxation.
Jacumba's role as a prime destination continued through World War II; however as the southernmost California hot spring, it began to feel competition from more northern ones, including Murrieta and Palm Springs. After the new Interstate 8 bypassed Jacumba by two miles, most of the roadside service businesses folded and the community went into economic decline.
The Jacumba Hotel closed and was destroyed in an arson fire in 1985. The ruins stood until 1991. Today, the stub of the massive central fireplace can still be seen. The great public baths closed, The swimming pool was filled in, and the well was capped by its rights-owner.
In the 1980s, the Jacumba Motel was the only hotel facility left in Jacumba. However, the area continues to attract primarily foreign visitors and the motel has acquired rights to the spring and opened a spa.
Most visitors enjoy Jacumba as part of a larger mountain tour by automobile. By traveling down Old Highway 80, visitors step back in time to a quainter, more relaxed time, and Jacumba does nothing to break the spell. Jacumba is a great place to stop for lunch on such a tour, and perhaps explore the remains of a once great past. Other places of interest nearby include Desert View Tower (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/CAJACdesertview.html admission charge), Mount Laguna, the McCain Valley, and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (which reopened in early 2006 after the October 2003 wildfires). Many visitors enjoy Visiting LARRYLAND COMMUNE (32.6522999429,-116.120906414) when you see the bicycle fence you have arrived Many active artist enjoy the weekends out in the high lands of In-ko-pa.