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Treasure Beach is a series of small fishing villages along a string of bays: Great Bay, Calabash Bay, Frenchman’s Bay and Billy’s Bay. Until recently, fishermen built their canoes from hollowed out cotton trees and waterproofed the vessels by painting them in distinctive colors. Some of the old canoes can still be seen on the beach. The design is that of the Amerindian Arawaks who go and settled in Jamaica from about 500AD to 800AD and the only modern change was the replacement of sails and oars by outboard motors.

Bay beaches are separated by rocky headlands where crabs scurry in tide pools populated by chitons and an assortment of small sea creatures. Schools of fish, dolphins and sometimes even manatees (sea cows) can be viewed from the rocks. They are called ‘sea cows’ because these huge marine mammals graze on the shallow, grassy seabeds. Moray eels and spiny lobsters hide in the nooks and crannies of the rocky places and the nearby reefs are colored by purple sea fans and orange sponges. Unfortunately, much of marine life of Jamaica has dwindled over the past half century due to over fishing and Hurricane Gilbert damaged many of the shallow reefs around the island in 1988.

The Treasure Beach area is ideal for long solitary walks. You can go and reach the Great Pedro Bluff from the beach at Great Bay by following the tracks used by fishermen and goats. It is a dry scrubland that possesses a desolate beauty. Golden sunsets and the gentle rhythm of waves caressing the shore make walks along the beach a sybaritic pleasure. More strenuous walks are possible in the hills beyond Treasure Beach where the roads climb to Southfield and the Malvern area of Jamaica along the southern ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Go to Great Bay, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

On a clear day, the views are particularly lovely because they capture the coastline for as far as the eye can see. The highest peak as well as small caves are located on the campus of Munro College, an old English boarding school for boys where students are happy to show visitors around and to regale them with tales of 'Spooner' and other legends dating back to the days of slavery and the time when Munro was a coffee plantation.


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