St. Elizabeth is better known for its farming. The parish is dubbed the “bread basket parish” of Jamaica, as it supplies the island with more fruits and vegetables than any other parish. But what many do not know is that just a few chains down south is a wonderful treasure, fittingly named Treasure Beach.
More than just a fishing village, Treasure Beach is a combination of Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay, Great Pedro Bay and other communities. The beaches display a variety of coral-coloured or black sand, depending on where you are. Famous for Jakes Hotel and Floyd’s Pelican Bar, the community of Treasure Beach has much more to brag about these days as it has become one of the South Coast’s more popular tourist destinations.
While it is considered a semi-desert due to the low levels of rainfall it receives, its flora are part of its many attractions. Jamaica’s national tree, the Lignum Vitae, can only be found in a few places across the globe. In Jamaica, it is only found on the South Coast on the island and Treasure Beach is one of these locations. Additionally, a popular site while travelling on this route is the variety of cacti strewn across the landscape.
Treasure Beach is believed to have been a massive Taino settlement before the Spanish colonized the island. To date, one can still find bits and pieces of Taino pottery strewn across the ground especially after a heavy rainfall. A few Taino words that you may be familiar with are canoe, hammock, hurricane and tobacco.
Fishing, Farming and now Tourism are the main industries of the community. Each year, there are two major events held in Treasure Beach that attract both local and international visitors. The community buzzes with activity with the world’s longest running marathon, the Jakes Off Road Triathlon, which, in more recent times, have been joined by Likkle Jakes a triathlon for children. In the past, Calabash Literary Festival was another major event held there.
Treasure Beach offers accommodation, food and attractions for adults and children alike. This peaceful community has become a home away from home for many tourists, most of whom are Europeans, who prefer the peaceful laid back atmosphere that the community offers. Go off the beaten path today to Treasure Beach.
Rosalee D. Wood