Treasure Beach, lying 70 mi/115 km west of Kingston and encompassing a string of sleepy fishing villages, offers a relaxing, no-frills, offbeat experience in a place where tourism hasn't flourished. The community remains friendly and rooted in a life attached to the sea.
It is interesting to note that there is no place that is actually named "Treasure Beach." The name originated in the 1930s when a Canadian opened a hotel on Frenchman's Bay and named it The Treasure Beach Hotel. The name caught on and was given to four bays in the surrounding area—Frenchman's Bay, Calabash Bay, Billy's Bay and Great Pedro Bay. The sleepy "town center" of Treasure Beach is around Frenchman's Bay, and the other three bays are mainly composed of private residences, villas and guest houses.
The Santa Cruz Mountains that rise up from the sea to the east protect the region from rain clouds and provide a majestic backdrop and cool escape when the heat of this arid region becomes overwhelming. Treasure Beach has one of the driest climates in Jamaica, and cacti and acacia trees abound.
There are no large resorts in the area, and amenities and nightlife are limited— you can hop a 25-minute canoe ride from Frenchman's Beach out to the Pelican Bar, a rustic saloon perched on stilts in the water off Parrotee Bay. (Try booking through Jake's; phone 876-354-4218.) Top activities are swimming, fishing or hanging out on the beach and watching the world go by. With a little luck, you might see marine turtles crawling ashore to lay their eggs—what more could you want?
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