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Treasure Beaches: Calabash Bay, Old Wharf, Great Bay, Frenchman’s

Looking for some of the most under-the-radar beaches to explore in Jamaica? Try the Island’s South Coast

Jamaica is renowned for its beaches. Visitors seeking sea, sand and sun have long flocked—en masse— to beaches dotting the lush North Coast, from Negril in the west to Boston Bay in the east.

Along the South Coast, we are glad of this. Treasure Beach has been, and remains, largely a fishing community. The beaches here are central to our livelihoods as well as to our local culture.

Here, you’re simply not going to find hundreds of tourists on hundreds of lounge chairs, raked, fine sand, or water sports. We think this is a good thing. On our beaches you will find our community: fishermen, going to, and coming from, the sea; kids playing soccer and friends catching up. And, of course, you’ll always find some great food.

 There are many beaches in and around Treasure Beach to explore. Here, a few that we love.

—LESLIE CLAIRE BAILEY

JAKES BEACH

Jakes’ beach, at the heart of our property, is intimate and easy. The sand and sea are a few short steps from Dougies Bar, Driftwood Spa, our hammocks and your room. Our beach was constructed to allow guests convenient access to the deep, clear turquoise of our sea. You can dive right into the waves and float all afternoon or jump right back out for a drink at the bar. 

JACK SPRAT BEACH

Just in front of Jack Sprat restaurant, this is a great beach for kids because it’s very calm, very shallow and safest for swimming. There’s also a lifeguard on duty.

FRENCHMAN’S BEACH

Scramble over the landmark buttonwood tree at the far of Jack Sprat beach, a tree that has inspired many artists for generations to paint and poetry, and this will put you on the Frenchman’s Beach which stretches approximately a half- mile down the coastline.

OLD WHARF

This is the area continuing east past Calabash Bay and the Fisherman’s beach—before you reach Great Bay and the Great Pedro bluff. Old wharf (approximately a 15-minute walk from Calabash Bay) is the most private beach of the four nearby beaches. Put your towel and flip-flops by the old Almond Tree and then wade in. The water here is almost always calm because it’s enclosed.

CALABASH BAY

Take a right from the road, walking east. Follow the road to the bus stop, about five minutes, turn right to the sea and you’ll be on Calabash Bay. A wide beach, it’s great for swimming when the weather’s warm and sunny. That said, the water at Calabash Bay Beach can also get rough, so swimmers need to take care with conditions.

GREAT BAY

This wide, sandy crescent of a beach is ideal for open-water swimming. Half a mile from end to end, the bay has almost no waves to speak of. It’s such a perfect spot that the swimming segment of the Jakes Triathlon takes place here, each year. And for those not as athletically inclined, Great Bay is home to one of the area’s best restaurants—The Lobster Pot.

Note: the beaches are empty and beckoning to sun lovers—but please take precautions, the sun can be wicked. Additionally, there is a constant undertow at all beaches that is sometimes stronger than others but must always be respected. Locals know this best and the staff at Jack Sprat will tell you where it’s safest to swim and where there are rocks and reefs that should be avoided.

TREASURED SECRETS

“My favorite spot in Treasure Beach is “Sally’s beach.” “Sally’s beach” is not a secret, it’s a public beach known as Old Wharf. Often, one finds the landscape unoccupied. And you swim alone towards the infinite horizon embraced by the blue hues which whisper divine secrets.”

Stephanie Black

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