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ost of Jamaica is green and lush, picture-postcard Caribbean, but this corner of the island—cut off by the Santa Cruz mountains—gets little rainfall. Here, instead of swaying palms you’ll see cacti and acacia. Instead of white sand beaches, you’ll find black sand bays with miles of sweeping savannas and rugged, rolling coastline.

The South Coast of Jamaica must have been a strange sight for the Scottish sailors shipwrecked here, off Treasure Beach, in the 19th century. But they managed to do well enough, as today, so many of their descendents—with red skin, red hair and blue-green eyes—populate this area of the island. The South Coast spirit is just as distinctive. Fishermen and farmers from these parts are as well-known for their friendly ways as for their intimate knowledge of earth, sky and sea.

This rugged place, these gracious people—this is the Treasure Beach community of which we’re a part. We know, it’s most unusual to find a hotel that functions as the heart of a community. But that’s Jakes—a porous place where locals, Jamaicans from around the island and travelers coming from around the world connect. No surprise that we’re focused on keeping this place as unique as it’s always been—a mix of all sorts, from Floyd the Fisherman to Sally the artist to Liz the farmer.

There’s a reason people return here, time and time again. Treasure Beach isn’t a place you tick off a bucket list, it’s a place you tuck into. Sure, you might think the landscape here a little bit austere, but that would be missing the big picture: Treasure Beach is one big watering hole, a meeting spot made for fellow travelers.

What to do here? We’ve got a few ideas. Take a look…

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