Jamaica's laid back heartland, where seasoned, world travelers come to get away and relish their savoir vivre
Isolated from the rest of the island by the Santa Cruz mountains, which create the area's distinct coastal desert environment by capturing the westbound rainfall, Treasure Beach is a catch-all name for a series of bays and fishing villages that extend from Fort Charles at the greater community's western edge, to Billy's Bay, Frenchman's Bay, and Great Bay on the eastern edge of the community. Treasure Beach prides itself on offering a different kind of tourism than that found in Jamaica's more built-up tourist centers. Local ownership of the guesthouses and restaurants is more the rule than the exception, and it's impossible not to interact with Jamaicans in a more substantial context than being served your cocktail.
The earth in St. Elizabeth is a deep red, and the people, thanks to a mix of Scottish and African blood, also have a reddish complexion, often with striking blue or green eyes. These Jamaicans are commonly referred to as "red" by the rest of the island's population, with typical disregard for innuendos or connotations outsiders might deem politically incorrect. In spite of St. Elizabeth receiving the least rainfall on the island, the parish is known as Jamaica's "breadbasket," not for any grain produced there per se, but mainly for vast quantities of vegetables it sends across the island.
Many of the bays have decent swimming areas, but it's best to inquire with locals about the safety of jumping in the water at any particular point until you get accustomed to the area. Remain vigilant of rip tides and strong currents.