When you visit Treasure Beach, the residents treat you as guests, not tourists. Nicknamed the desert coast for the ever-present sunshine, this area of Jamaica is still unspoiled and largely unaffected by tourism.
Here, you’ll discover the best of Jamaica’s natural beauty and charm, deserted sandy beaches, colorful coral reefs, beautiful sunsets, starlit nights and mountains that reach the sky.
The natural beauty of Treasure Beach is only half its magic. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the rich culture and easy-paced lifestyle where fishing is as important as it was half a century ago.Every day, you can watch fishermen preparing their boats for a journey to sea or to the Pedro Keys, a teeming fishing ground where they land their catch. At the end of the day, look for the boats coming in. You’re welcome to walk over to see the boats unloading a colorful array of fish and lobster.
Treasure Beach is a relatively new name. In the 1930s, a Canadian built a hotel called The Treasure Beach Hotel. Soon after, the name took hold.
The first inhabitants of the area and Jamaica were the Tainos, previously called the Arawak Indians. These people, known for their grass skirts, are displayed on Jamaica’s crest, coins and bank notes. The tribe lived peacefully by their fishing and hunting skills. “Hammock,” “tobacco,” and “canoe” are some of the few words that survived from this time. These people were of small stature and fair skinned.
Christopher Columbus arrived in Jamaica in 1492, on the first of his three voyages. One of his boats, the Nina, supposedly sunk off Columbus Cove in St. Ann, but he would have come ashore at Great Bay in the lee of the bluff.
Pirates found their way to Treasure Beach. One of the more notorious, William Rackham, made Pedro (the original name for this area) his headquarters. He would sail out, scuttle and plunder passing ships. Eventually, he was caught and hanged on a little cay, called Rackham Cay. His name survives in Billy’s Bay, a small village located two miles down the road. (This is where the Buccaneer is located.)
Just past Billy’s Bay, English soldiers in the 17th century built a lookout at Starve Gut Bay and changed the name to Fort Charles. The soldiers never left. Their legacy remains in the fair skin and blue or green eyes of the Treasure Beach people.