Discovering Treasure Beach


DSCF8215 One of the best things about discovering a new country are the many road trips that it takes to find your favourite places.  This involves kissing a few location frogs along the way, but its part of the excitement of adopting a new place.  Fresh off the boat, there’s so much you don’t know, so you just have to pick a place and go and give it a try.

We picked Treasure Beach, an area on the South West coast of Jamaica, about 2-3 hours drive west from Kingston.  We were told it had a low key vibe, unlike the north coast party towns, and was a better choice for people like us who like a simpler less commercial atmosphere.

The drive turned out to be the biggest part of the adventure. Our GPS got very confused when we drove on new, unchartered roads. “Michelle” freaked out a bit and found us an alternative way down to the coast and we listened to her. Big mistake! She took us on increasingly smaller roads until we arrived on the smallest, overgrown, underpaved, pot-hole encrusted back road ever…which stretched on for 30 kilometers with no turn offs. A flat tire or car problem of some description would have been a disaster with no one and nothing to assist for a very long stretch. Fortunately, nothing bad did happen, but lesson learned. Michelle only knows the destination and nothing of the conditions she’s taking us through.  We arrived at our hotel a little later than planned as the detour added at least one hour to the trip.

Treasure Beach turned out to be as laid back as described – possible more so. I’m not sure if it was because it was off season (although many rooms were already booked when I tried to find a hotel) or whether its always like that…but there were few people around and not a lot going on. There were vendors looking for a sale, but they weren’t obnoxious and we mostly had the beach and restaurants to ourselves.

We ate at Frenchman’s Reef restaurant both nights. Very laid back, ok food, and it clearly had a regular local clientele. The most compelling thing about it was there were no less than 30 signs saying “No ganja smoking”: on the walls, on little stands on the tables, on the doors, pasted to the pillars and painted in three foot high letters on the outside wall…in three different places. Yet the air was thick with it. Either they couldn’t read or were too stoned to care! I really wanted to take a picture of four guys leaned up against the big “no ganja smoking” wall, who were dragging on a joint without a care in the world. However, I didn’t have the nerve!

Instead I took a few pictures of the beach and hotel to give a feel for the place.  Here’s a little glimpse of the area:

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Thought for the day from the wall of the excellent nearby Smurf Cafe.  Covered in painted smurfs and somewhere I would never have ordinarily stopped had I not got a tip from a local, Smurfs serves wonderful breakfasts and fantastic home roasted coffee.  Their poem resonated quite a bit with me that day too.  And, yes, the ganja guys were hanging out there too.

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Beautiful sea view from Treasure Beach.  It would be a long drift out to Panama from here.

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Sand filled swimming shorts that puffed and deflated with each wave!

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Our small hotel, Katamah

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Our au natural bathroom complete with shower tree.  The place was appealing rustic but needed a few more finishing touches to be truly comfortable.  It was hard to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night and even harder to keep sand out of the bed.

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The communal kitchen at Katamah.  Lots of character and no lack of pots, pan and spices.

It was a decent first trip out. I’d like to go back to Treasure Beach and stay at somewhere a little fancier. Not fancy, but perhaps a little more comfortable. Maybe somewhere with that shaded veranda that I always covet?

10 thoughts on “Discovering Treasure Beach

  1. I had the pleasure of visiting Treasure Beach during Calabash Literary festival in 2014. I absolutely fell in love with the area, especially the empty beaches and the goats. I hope to make it to Kingston and Port Antonio on my future trips.

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