With its famous tropical beaches, music and lifestyle, no wonder Jamaica is a favourite Caribbean island for destination weddings. Most couples who travel to Jamaica to celebrate their special day at one of the remarkable all-inclusive resorts.
But some couples may want to venture off the beaten path to the southwest part of the island, where farming and fishing and a more authentic Jamaican way of life provide a different destination wedding experience far away from tourist crowds.
At Treasure Beach, guests are welcomed into a relaxed atmosphere where community and sustainability are the focus. It's a different approach to travel that includes local food, farm-to-table dining events, and visitors integrating with the local residents.
If your idea of a dream wedding is a secluded beach at sunset, Treasure Beach can make that dream come true. Charming local resorts like Jake's and the Sunset Resort and Villas provide wedding planners to help all the details come together, and also the small beach community atmosphere you and your guests will never forget.
Here are the top 10 things for couples and their guests to do while visiting Treasure Beach:
Eat and Drink:
1. The Pelican Bar: This place looks like it belongs in a movie set: a thatched hut on stilts built on a submerged sandbar 1km out to sea. Getting there is half the fun. You have to hire a local boat captain as your taxi to what may be the most memorable place you'll ever have a drink. Chill with a Red Stripe or rum punch, watch dolphins in the surf, even take a dip yourself.
2. Smurfs Cafe: The kitschy and fabulous experience you need to feel like a true 'local'. Smurfs Café is an unlikely combination of breeze block construction and Smurf décor that's open all hours serving some of the best breakfasts, can't-miss stove-roasted Blue Mountain coffee and divine key lime pie.
3. Jakes resort's hip, open-sided wooden restaurant that also serves diners on the patio poolside breakfast, lunch and dinner using farm and daily catch-fresh ingredients. The menu changes with the harvest or the catch and offers modern twists on Jamaican recipes.
4. The resort also has another, more chill and traditional restaurant, Jack Sprats, where the dishes stay more traditional and you can chill with locals playing dominos.
5. Eggy's Bar: Looking for the perfect drink overlooking the perfect sunset? Eggy's Bar is off the main road by Frenchman’s Bay and the spot locals themselves gather to drink Red Stripe and watch the sun set.
6. Treasure Beach Women's Group will set you up with all the gifts and souvenirs you need, from crafts made from calabash shells and other local materials, batiks, coffee. This shop can also save the day if you forget or misplace swimwear, sandals and other beach necessities.
PLAY AND EXPLORE
Frenchman's Beach: This is the most centrally located beach of the community, with the landmark buttonwood tree you see in photos. The place to find woodcarvers selling their wares, local boat captains arranging trips to the Pelican Bar or Black River and a place to watch the sunsets.
Jack Spratt Beach: West of Jake’s Place, this is the safest beach for swimming, where brightly painted wooden fishing boats are pulled up on the sand, and local fishers ply their nets.
Great Bay Beach: The least developed area of Treasure Beach, where the beach and a patchwork of fields provide a rural atmosphere. The main business here is still the local fishermen's co-op.
Old Wharf Beach: Privacy comes at a price, so it takes some effort to reach the most private beach in the area.
8. Treasure Beach Sports Park: One of the centers of community life, with tennis courts, soccer pitches and – most uniquely to North Americans – a cricket oval. Jake's resort has posters and information about upcoming events.
9. Bamboo Avenue: A stunning, two and a half mile stretch of the main road in the parish lined with giant bamboo that arch over the road and form a green, shaded tunnel. It was established by owners of an estate to provide shade for travelers and prevent erosion, and remains the longest bamboo road archway of its kind in Jamaica.
10. Black River: The second longest river in Jamaica is home to an incredible wealth of wildlife including over 100 species of wetland birds and the endangered American Alligator. River fishermen and professional guides offer tours. Take some time away from the beach to explore one of Jamaica's most colourful ecosystems.