This past week, I had the good fortune to travel to Jamaica for a dear friend’s wedding. The ceremony was held at Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach on the southern coast of the island.
I flew into Montego Bay on the northern coast. A ride-share had been arranged and I paid $30USD for the approximately three hour drive through scenic mountains, dangerously curvy roads, and the occasional burst of tropical rainstorm across the island to the resort. On these roads, cows and goats have the right of way. I was with two other wedding guests and along the way our driver stopped for fruits being sold by the roadside. I greedily munched on sugarcane within the hour of arrival in Jamaica, folks! Though each passenger paid the same fare for each leg of the trip to and from Montego Bay Airport, I do know based on discussions in travel forums that were I to have arranged transportation on my own, I would be paying at least $100 one way. I had no trouble with the ride but on the way back to the airport I travelled with probably 15 other guests in an air-conditioned bus and a couple of the kids (and an adult) felt nauseous or woozy. We actually had to stop and air out the van when a toddler puked over herself.
Treasure Beach consists of several dreamy fishing villages in the southern parish of St. Elizabeth. Their welcome boat is at a harsh bend – I wonder how many accidents have occurred here. This area supposedly has low rainfall compared to the rest of the island but we had spurts of rain, heavy at times, on each day we were there…with the exception of the wedding day by the grace of God of course.
It was lush-green all around actually and on our trip to the resort our driver told us that this area is the “bread basket of Jamaica” because it supplies the rest of the island with the most fruits and vegetables. During my trip, I had the chance to visit the market in Black River, the capital of St. Elizabeth parish, where we bought several varieties of mangoes. I also thirsted for the flesh of a young coconut but the coconut sold to me was so young there was NO flesh and the water was not sweet. That was a shame.
Driving around, a friend kept spotting the “red skins”. She had apparently been told by Jamaicans back in the US that this particular area of the island is notable for people with lighter skin and red hair. I just thought that the entire island, like many others in the Caribbean, featured great diversity in its people however internet research indicates that a Scottish crew was shipwrecked off this coast centuries ago…and viola!
While I stayed at Jake’s Resort where the wedding was to be held, other guests stayed at Taino Cove, Calabash Villa, and Hope House which all were lovely.. While I loved my little room at Jakes, let it be known for the record that am I to return to Treasure Beach anytime soon with a bunch of people, Hope House is where I’m going to want to be. This beautiful villa owned by Jakes had stunning seaside views, a jacuzzi, satellite TV in a large living room, WI-FI, and the food cooked by the property managers was delicious. It’s the best of both worlds – having a private villa that feels like home yet being able to walk the 10 minutes to Jakes to take advantage of the amenities there…such as Dougie’s Bar. And if I had even more people in my party, then Calabash Villa it would be.
I actually didn’t do much in Jamaica, just lazied around, hung out with friends, devoured mangoes, and helped with the wedding arrangements. With the exception of the trip to Black River market, I only left Jakes to go to the YS Falls. Oh well, I guess there is always next time.
In short, Treasure Beach is a true treasure. A gift of paradise for those seeking a “reset” button to their lives. And I’m saying this despite the fact that it poured rain 4 out of the 5 days I was there. I could have spent a few more days of doing nothing, that’s for sure.