Treasure Beach, located in the far south coast region of Jamaica, is a paradise within a paradise. In previous years, this beach destination was only frequented by travelers willing to venture off the beaten path. However, in 2018, Treasure Beach is a community-based tourism locale enjoyed by beachgoers, locals and even professional athletes like Venus and Serena Williams. The mixture of locals and expats brings a mellow yet progressive air to this secluded strip of land and sea. Residents include poets and artists amid a cheerful community that promotes environmental sustainability and sublime beaches.
To reach Treasure Beach, visitors may fly into either Kingston (90 miles), Montego Bay (77 miles) or Negril (60 miles). Depending on whether you are renting a car, taking public transit or hiring a private driver, it can take two to three hours to reach Treasure Beach from the airport.
Where to Stay
Jake’s Hotel is a funky boutique hotel on the sand of Calabash Bay, one of the four bays that comprise the community of Treasure Beach. Hand-built and locally crafted, it includes the colorful splashes of bright pink, blue and yellow that are characteristic of the “Caribbean cool” style, often seen on the buildings that dot the beachfronts of Treasure Beach. No two rooms at Jake’s are exactly alike, except in their unique character and charm. Ocean-side bungalows with roof-top terraces, garden-view rooms and entire villas are for rent at Jake’s. The accommodations are just the beginning—open-air yoga classes, spa treatments made fresh from Jake’s garden and monthly farm-to-table dinners allow guests to choose how they want to experience Treasure Beach.
What to See
Treasure Beach is more than just beaches and isolated beauty. It seems every draw here is locally made and distinct. The famous buttonwood tree on Frenchman’s Beach serves as inspiration for artists and beauty for beachgoers. Or Pelican Bar, the epitome of something made out of nothing, lies a mile offshore in Parottee Bay. This hut made with scrap wood by a local fisherman shares drinks, seafood and the best vantage point for sunset. Jakes Hotel recommends kayaking in the early morning or prearranging a boat ride there for sunset. If swimming is your go-to, Jack Sprat Beach is perfect with calm and shallow waters.
Where to Eat
The local food scene here rises to the occasion. Album art and dance records greet you upon entering Jack Sprat—the local hangout where folks go for killer crab jerk, pizza, grilled seafood, backgammon, great music and beach bonfires. Or, head to Little Ochie in Alligator Pond for meals based on that day’s catch and served jerked (HOT), steamed, curried, grilled or anything in between. Smurf’s Cafe, a 10-minute walk from Jake’s Hotel, is the local social spot. Diners can munch on standard egg fare or pancakes, but ackee and saltfish are favorites among those in the know.