Community Focus : Treasure Beach - the gem of the south coast
If you are in the mood to escape the stress of urban life, there is probably no better place than Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, where sweet rural charm meets peace and tranquillity against a backdrop of complete relaxation.
"It is quiet here, not much nightlife, but everyone here is friendly," said Chanoy Henry, who is clearly in love with his home community. "When it comes to community tourism, we're very strong. There is something for everybody to do, no matter what your age group."
The community, which is also established in farming and fishing, was first populated by the Taino Indians. When Christopher Columbus came to Jamaica in 1494, Treasure Beach was one of the well-populated areas.
It is said that during the 17th century, a Scottish ship sank off the coast, and the sailors that swam ashore subsequently mingled with the local residents, creating a racial blend which still exists today.
The name 'Treasure Beach' was reportedly given to the area during the 1930s by a Canadian visitor named Ernest Dicker. This was in response to the positive effect the community's climate had on his poor health.
Treasure Beach consists of four neighbouring coves and their associated settlements Billy's Bay, Frenchman's Bay, Calabash Bay, and Great Pedro Bay. It is dotted by multiple small villas, shops and private properties.
Places of special interest in Treasure Beach include the Fort Charles Natural History Museum, which houses exhibits about the local sea life and artefacts from past cultures; Jakes Hotel Villas and Spa; and Bred's Treasure Beach Sports Park and Academy, which offers various sporting activities to locals and visitors.