June 17, 2019 - by Sabine
Hippie – Artsy – Windy – Poor road conditions – Rastas – Delicious food – Small cozy restaurants and bars – Laid back – Friendly people – Sustainability – Dry air / area – Less green – Countryside – Strong community – Yellow sanded beach – Not touristy – No hustlers – Lazy lifestyle – Fishing village – Real Jamaica
Treasure Beach is the generic name for four coves; Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay and Great Bay. Sea can be rough and the color of the sea water is more green instead of blue.
Treasure Beach is an artsy place, friendly people playing music, hardly any hustlers, lots of fishing boats and no luxurious and overrated resorts. A local community promoting sustainability which is great. Locals roaming the street trying to sell marihuana, also called ganja. And we are happy to see a beautiful public beach and no entrance fees here.
We think you can definitely experience the real Jamaica in Treasure Beach!
After another yummy breakfast of vegan scrambled eggs and fresh fruits prepared by Betty, the hostess at Orchid Cottage she brings us kindly to the bus station. She also gives us packed fruits on the go, which we stupid as we are forgot at the bus station. Hopefully someone else enjoyed the fruits.
The Knutsford bus departs at 08:30 from Kingston to Gutters (with a short stop in Mandeville). From Gutters we take a route taxi to Treasure Beach. After doing research afterwards, I think it’s probably better to travel further to Black River (Luana) and take a route taxi from there to Treasure Beach. This way is shorter, approximately a 45 minute drive. And not unimportant, it's cheaper.
In Treasure Beach there is no Knutsford bus station. Why not we ask ourselves? This place is really upcoming and tourists will visit the place more if it's more reachable. However, maybe it’s better Treasure Beach maintains less easily accessible.
Around 11:20 we arrived in Gutters, a little sleeping village. We hardly step out of the bus and stretched our legs, immediately a route taxi offers us a ride. He asked USD $50 to bring us to our accomodation in Treasure Beach. Now we know he asked way too much.
In 1,5 hour our taxi reaches Treasure Beach. When looking on the map to estimate the distance and time, you will totally fail. A map doesn't say anything at all in Jamaica. I think the speed was not more than 20 km per hour. Roads are very bumpy with lots of holes and curves. On top of that, a big truck in front of us didn't help at all.
During our road trip in Jamaica we were looking forward to our stay at ‘Drew’s Escape’. A wooden eco cottage close to the beach, a dream destination according to the pictures on Airbnb. We are spending three days here.
Our taxi driver couldn’t find it, but off course that’s ‘no problem’ in Jamaica. Just ask locals and there is always someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help you finding the way.
Eventually, a group of friendly Jamaicans among a few people who were heading to church and a happy rasta on a bicycle who knows Andrew, our Airbnb host, showed us the way.
Yes! The description of the cottage was above all expectations. Completely back to basic and incredibly romantic.
Drew’s Escape is a wooden cottage with a veranda and a hammock, an outside shower, a bed with mosquito net (really neccessary here) and a small refrigerator (nice to have in this climate). Lots of hummingbirds surrounded the eco cottage which was build by Andrew himself. All natural materials, amazing details and no fuss.
Andrew is a very friendly laid back guy with cool dreadlocks. We have noticed there are more Rastas (it’s better to say people with dreadlocks, because not every Jamaican who had dreads is a Rasta) in Treasure Beach than in other parts of Jamaica.
Actually, only less than one percent of the 2.9 million people living in Jamaica consider themselves Rastafarian. When you are traveling Jamaica you expect lots of Rastas but it’s a minority. We didn’t know that.
Once arrived in our cottage, we install our backpacks and start exploring the area.
First thing we notice is the air in Treasure Beach is much dryer and the area is less green than the rest of the island. Especially in comparison with Port Antonio, which is incredibly green and tropical.
Our first impression of this fishing village felt really nice; a relaxing laidback vibe, a kind of hippie atmosphere in the countryside. Happily there are lots of small restaurants and bars to choose from, which sometimes was quite difficult to find elsewhere (outside the cities) in Jamaica.
Again, we cannot understand why the Knutsford bus is not stopping in Treasure beach, because the place is amazing! Not crowded and a few tourists hanging out here. Only in Negril and Ochi you see many tourists. Why not explore more of Jamaica besides these touristy places? There is so much more to explore!
We decide to relax and stay close to our cottage during our stay in Treasure Beach. Tired of taking taxi’s all the time. Our trip in Jamaica already contain so many travel hours. Our goal was to try lots of local food and chill on the beach!
We know, pizza is not local food, but people advised us to try a pizza at Jack Sprat, because they must be very delicious. And they definitely were. Together with a Pina Colada and a Red Stripe sitting at the beach we couldn't think of a better place to be.
So if you are in Treasure Beach, go to Jack Sprat. Location is amazing and it’s a pleasure to hang out and to swim here. With a bohemian interior and film posters on the wall, rum bar, relaxing music you tend to come here every night!
They serve delicious fresh seafood and if you want they put lobster on your pizza. The price for a pizza is around €13, – which is really affordable.
The vibe in Treasure Beach was what we liked the most. Everyone is very friendly and says hello to each other. Spending the night in Andrew’s eco cottage was incredible. We could hear the waves of the sea and the birds will wake you up in the morning.
In the morning we are heading to Smurfs café to have some breakfast. Locals say this is the place to go if you want some good tasty breakfast in Treasure Beach. People come from far to have breakfast at Smurf's. A few ladies make the best ackee, eggs, pancakes and roasted coffee for a fine price. In the meantime you are chilling in the outside area. It’s like you are visiting your grandma.
All different kinds of tableware with all sorts of advertisement on it, like they got it for free somewhere. We really like that vibe. Coffee is served in large mugs, where do you get that these days anyway? I order banana pancakes with fruit salad and Remco omelette with cheese and toast. All together around €15,- very cheap. We really liked the food here.
After breakfast we explore the area by foot, jump into streets and little shops and strolling along the coast. Hiking in Treasure Beach is a great idea. Much better than other places in Jamaica. Jamaican roads often don’t have sidewalks and you are literally walking on the road which can obviously cause dangerous situations.
We are having lunch at Eggy’s located right at the beach, where fishing boats deliver fresh fish daily. It has the laid back real Jamaica feel. Small cozy bar situated on the beach, with reggae music at the background and Eggy with his long dreads is cooking in a slow pace while smoking a joint.
While we drink our Red Stripe and enjoy the vibes, I order rice with peas and veggie chuncks. Remco orders shrimps with rice and peas. Rice with peas is a typical side dish in Jamaica. Very simple dish, but deliciously seasoned. Food is very tasty cooked by Eggy.
We paid 5300 JMD which is about €40,-.
Despite the fact Treasure Beach is quite unknown for tourists there are amazing guesthouses, yoga centres and boutique hotels. Thanks to Jake’s hotel more tourists are exploring Treasure Beach these days.
Jake’s is a famous hotspot with its colourful, arty, boutique hotel build on a rock with a hippie easygoing vibe and a cocktailbar. It’s not cheap to stay here, but you can enjoy the place by only drinking a cocktail here. Or you can choose to spend one night here.
Cocktails are amazing, we tried a pineapple punch and a Jake’s special rum punch, yumm! No plastic straws in the cocktails, but rvs straws, big thumbs up! Price 1600 JMD, around €11,- for these two drinks.
In the evening we go to Kim’s Place, situated 40 metres from Drew’s Escape and they serve tasty Jamaican food. Kim's is famous for his burgers, but you can ask whatever you want.
We order Red Stripes with (very large!) veggie burgers and as sides a salad, bammy and plantain.
Kim’s place is very authentic and cozy. Locals who are drinking a beer here and enjoying the evening. Again, a place that gives you the real Jamaica laid back feeling and it feels good. Meanwhile, a group Rastas were playing reggae music. What else could we wish for a perfect stay in Jamaica!
- Pelican bar, we didn’t go there. We thought it's was too touristy for us.
- The coastline in Treasure Beah is perfect for a hike!
- Go shopping, there are some cute boutiques in Treasure Beach.
- Hire a bicycle or go hiking to explore the area. You always meet lovely people.
- Black river.
- Visit the YS falls.
- Drew's Escape; beautiful eco cottage build by the owner himself.
- Jakes hotel if you can afford it
- Food, food, food and food. Try lots of food!
- Eat a pizza at Jack Sprat.
- Drink a Red Stripe and order fish with rice and peas at Eggy’s bar which is located on Frenchman’s Beach. Great atmosphere
- Have a breakfast at Smurf’s cafe.
- Ask for a veggie burger at Kim’s place.
- Enjoy a rum cocktail at Jake’s Hotel.
- Buy fresh fruit on the street.
- To save money you can buy some bread and guave jam in the store and fruits on the street.
- Buy some Red Stripes and a bottle of rum in a local store.