Guide to Treasure Beach, Jamaica
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published May 2010
Scooter Ride through town. Music by Caribou “Bowls”
Treasure Beach, Jamaica is a small fishing village on the Southern Coast of Jamaica.
It’s quiet, very low key and for the time being, relatively untouched by tourism. Unlike Negril or Montego Bay, there are no clubs, no big bars or restaurants, hardly any ATMS, and everything moves very s-l-o-w-l-y here. Instead of long white sandy beaches, there are beautiful semi-private coves. Instead of going out every night to eat, you enjoy a home cooked meal prepared by the staff at your house, or a lovely lady with a small stand down the street. This is the place to go to relax with friends and take it easy. But, of course it’s Jamaica, so don’t worry about being bored. Sometimes even the simplest task or errand can turn into an adventure on it’s own.
We spent two weeks in Treasure Beach in early January and put together this guide to the town. Hope you enjoy it.
We stayed at a four bedroom villa called The Buccaneer near Billy’s Bay. It’s a cool house designed by Sally Henzell of Jake’s. The Henzell family are sort of like the unofficial mayors of the town and Sally’s style combines Morrocan, Greek, bohemian, and various island influences to create an open relaxed space with plenty of rooms for guests. The house had a nice pool area, rooftop deck and large living and dining areas for hanging out. It could use a little updating with some more modern furniture and amenities, but overall a great house. The house comes with a housekeeper and cook. Suzie is the head of the household and she is an excellent cook and took great care of us. Seabert lives behind the house and takes care of the pool and the grounds. He was a sweet old guy. http://treasurebeach.com/
Billy’s Bay Beach. Music by Tanlines “Z”
Jake’s Hotel and Restaurant
You have to stop by Jakes just to check out the architecture. Designed by Sally Henzell (like The Buccaneer) it’s really cool to walk around the grounds and check out all the fancy hut type structures and mini castles on the water. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is a mix of Jamaican and more traditional American, Italian and the like. Food is good, but it’s not the place for “Jamaican” food. Website
This is the most popular place in town, but we don’t mean that in a bad way. The Jamaican food is excellent, vibe is great, and it has a good mix of locals. Anything lobster on the menu is on point - lobster pizza, grilled lobster, curried lobster and so are the fish and shrimp dishes. Definitely a must try in Treasure Beach. They also do delivery, but it can be a bit difficult getting someone on the phone there. Website
Boat Ride up the Black River. Music by Via Tania “Fields” (Lemonade Remix)
Rope Swing on the Black River. Music by Tough Alliance “Miami”
Great place sandwiched between Jake’s and Jack Sprat. The fried chicken is delicious!
The only “club” in Treasure Beach. Big dance floor, soundsystem, pool tables, bar, and a small restaurant off the back. They also have an outdoor stage for bigger nights. It’s a chill place frequented by locals. We met a few characters there. Don’t expect it to be crowded.
Great little place away from the beach known for its’ breakfast and fresh roasted coffee. “Smurf” is the name of one of our drivers for The Buccaneer and he owns the place with his aunt, Miss Dawn. The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available. We had some great chicken curry here.
Billy’s Bay and Calabash Bay beaches
Our favorite beaches are Billy’s Bay and Calabash Bay. Billy’s was close to The Buccaneer and a relatively secluded cove with white sand. We hardly saw anyone else there except some local kids and the occasional vacationer. Calabash Bay is a bit larger and is hugged by a few nice villas on one end. It’s a great swimming beach and there was never any more than 10-15 other people there.
When you’re ready to leave the villa, you should find “Captain Jack Sparrow” on the fishing beach at Billy’s Bay. He and his partner will take up to 9 or 10 adults on fun boat rides. He can take you to Pelican Bar, up the Black River to Sister Lou’s for blue crab, a private white sand beach, and Cloggy’s for lunch or dinner. Just tell him what you want to do and he’ll make it happen.
Pelican Bar. Music by Tough Alliance “Neo Violence”
Fly into Montego Bay or Kingston airports. The drive is about 2 hours or so from each airport over windy, bumpy mountain roads. You should contact your hotel or villa to arrange transportation ahead of time. They will know where they are going and you’ll get the best rate (about $50-75 per person each way).
Bring cash. ATMS are basically non-existent in Treasure Beach and credit cards are not widely accepted. We suggest exchanging your money for Jamaican dollars at the airport. Most places take US dollars, but you’ll get a better rate using Jamaican currency.
You don’t really need a car in Treasure Beach. You can walk almost everywhere, or you can hop in a route taxi or if you are staying at a villa, they will have a driver you can call when you need a ride. (The whole town is only about 2-3 miles long.)
Cell phones work pretty well here, but as with any island community, you need to expect some delays and dropped calls. Most villas have internet, but again, it won’t work all the time. Ours really only worked for a couple hours every morning.
Costs: We were 8 adults and paid about $8500 for two weeks for a 4 bedroom house over NYE, so less than $1000 per person for 14 nights! Including the cost of food, liquor, airport transfers, boat rides and everything else, we spent an additional $800-$900 per person. Flight prices vary, but round trip from NYC will cost about $400-$500. Not a bad deal.