Ever since I moved to Jamaica, I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to see parts of the world I never knew existed. Is there anything more satisfying and enriching than traveling the beaten track then finding a hidden gem tucked away off the well-trodden tourist trail and preserved in all its unspoilt glory?
Well, that place for me is Treasure Beach. Quite simply, I truly believe it’s one of the most beautiful and calming planes on earth.
How can I say that, you might fairly ask. Obviously I haven’t been to all the places yet.
But I’ve decided to show you in a few carefully selected photos why Treasure Beach really is one of the brightest jewels in Jamaica’s crown. And why I think my heart belongs there.
Treasure Beach is on Jamaica’s south coast. It’s only a six-mile stretch and is split into five main bays – Billy’s, Calabash, Fort Charles, Great and Frenchman’s.
It’s ostensibly a fishing village, dotted with a few small restaurants, accommodations and a handful of small shops.
It’s roughly a two-and-a-half hour drive from Kingston and from Montego Bay, if you choose to fly into there instead.
A Typical Day
I say typical because Treasure Beach isn’t one of those places you go to party and jampack your schedule with activities. There are a few key highlights including the Black River Boat Tour to find crocodiles like this one:
And perhaps the most iconic day trip – Pelican Bar.
Basically it’s a tiny bar made out of drift wood perched on stilts in the middle of the sea.
There’s no electricity so the beer is warm, oh and there’s no loo!
But what it lacks in modern amenities it makes up for in charm, character and uniqueness. You can jump in the water, have a swim, sing, dance, get some food and just generally be merry. Truly it’s a once in a lifetime experience and one of my favourite things to do in Jamaica.
The boat ride is about 20 minutes, you can catch a boat from behind Frenchman’s restaurant for approx $50USD per person and, best of all, you don’t need to deal with tour guides and booking agents. In true Jamaican style, just arrive with your cash, find one of the captains (you’ll spot them, trust me!) and hop aboard for a truly unforgettable day at sea.
Other must-dos include Lovers Leap viewpoint and the Appleton Estate Rum tour.
And the breathtaking YS Falls:
Where to stay
I actually couldn’t wait to write this part because it’s definitely where I really struck gold.
Katamah describes itself as a small family-run guesthouse right on the beach.
But what it really is is paradise.
Think Moroccan-inspired wooden rooms, suites and cabins, outdoor showers, cabins, glass-walled bedrooms and sheer tranquility.
It’s also very reasonably priced and there’s a communal kitchen where you can store and prepare food, buy beer from the fridge or grab a coffee.
Bliss! Especially when you wake up in the morning, walk out the little wooden gate and onto this:
Where to eat
There isn’t a lot of choice given that Treasure Beach is so small, and that’s another thing I love – the familiarity and casual vibe.
Breakfast has to be in Smurfs – there literally isn’t anywhere better. And if you’re lucky you’ll catch the Rastas strumming and singing while you eat.
I highly recommend the fresh fruit juice and the Smurfs Omelet.
For a cheap and cheerful lunch or dinner overlooking the sand, try Frenchman’s. But beware – go about two hours before you expect to feel hungry!
Jake’s Hotel is a beautiful spot to eat, just for a drink, or to stay or book in for a pamper treatment.
It’s more expensive than the alternatives in Treasure Beach but it’s very beautiful as these pictures show.
I stayed there once and while it was nice, I didn’t feel it was worth the money.
But I would highly recommend eating there and having a few cocktails while watching the sun set.
The last trip we made, we tried a new place for dinner called Streaky Ts.
Basically it’s owned by a local who is a chef in the States but comes home seasonally and basically has opened a little restaurant in his garden.
The food was great, the rum was also great and the music plus the chef’s dancing were even better! A must visit.
So there you have it. My treasure trove of highlights from Treasure Beach.
It really is like stepping back in time and it’s simply breathtaking. Just switch off, snooze and breathe in every bit of its unique simplicity.
There really aren’t enough places like it.