“Treasure Beach is all about community,” the owner of Pardy’s Café stated as he placed platefuls of wonderfully fluffy omelets and delightful French toast in front of us. Treasure Beach is a laid-back village, where the only sounds you can hear are the leaves fluttering in the wind, the occasional bark of a dog, and the scooters on the road.
This is a close-knit community that resists the advance of mass tourism and the international resorts’ big dollars in favour of community tourism that supports local businesses. I sincerely hope that Treasure Beach never becomes a tourist trap overrun by all-inclusive resorts. It would spell doom for local business and destroy the fabric of the community.
The sleepy fishing village of Treasure Beach is located in St. Elizabeth’s Parish on Jamaica’s south coast. The Santa Cruz mountains block the rains and, as a result, the environment is dry and arid. However, St. Elizabeth is known as the Bread Basket of Jamaica thanks to its goat and cattle farms and fields of cassava, tobacco, corn, and coffee, among other crops.
Treasure Beach is the generic name for a series of bays: Billy’s, Calabash -where fishermen unload their catch-, Fort Charles, Great, and Frenchman’s. The shoreline is very diverse with dark and white sand beaches, coves and stretches of abrupt rocky coast. It invites long walks along the beach or strolls among fields and colourful guesthouses. Treasure Beach is all about peace and quiet.
Where to stay
There are accommodations for all budgets, from camping sites to self-catered beach cottages to private villas on the beach. We stayed at Jake’s Hotel. Actually, our room was across the street at the Jack Sprat B&B, not in the main area. It was basic but decent. It was quiet at the time but it seems like it could become party central in the peak season.
Where to eat
We had a couple of meals at Jake’s restaurant. The food was very good but the setting was even better. We sat under the trees overlooking the sea. Very romantic.
We had breakfast at Smurf’s Café. Had it not been recommended to us, I would have turned around and left. I’m glad I didn’t. For starters, the coffee was phenomenal. My plantain porridge was creamy and filling, the cheese and bacon omelet was delicious. Even the fruit and toast were fresh and perfect.
Another option for breakfast or a light lunch is Pardy’s. We sat on the verandah, with a pretty view of the fields and villas across the street on Frenchman’s Bay. Its owner is a lovely man who cooks everything from scratch. Everything he makes is to die for. Seriously.
Jack Sprat Bar & Restaurant is a fun place on the beach to sit, have a drink and/or a tasty meal. We tried their pizza (decent) and jerk chicken with rice and peas and festival (delicious).
Eggy’s is a well-known beach bar but we didn’t eat there.
What sets Treasure Beach apart is its tranquility. Therefore, there is no nightlife except for the bars mentioned above, which are pretty laid back anyway.
What to do
Relax. Read a book. Take long walks. Enjoy nature. Go to the beach – but swim at your peril, the currents can be treacherous. Go to Negril for the day. Take a boat up the Black River. Go to Pelican Bar. Eat well. Talk to the locals, they’re the friendliest people I’ve met in Jamaica.