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Jakes Treasure Beach: A love letter to Jamaica

Like us, you might think you know Jamaica: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril. All boast beachfront all-inclusive resorts with any kind of activity you can imagine. “Party All the Time” could be the soundtrack of a vacation here. Yet, a totally different vibe awaits if you drive about two-and-a-half hours southwest from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

Our journey takes us over mountains that dominate the central part of the island. Major road construction promises a shorter drive, but regardless, the scenery is captivating and passing through small towns offers a glimpse of local life. Our final destination is Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth Parish, where we’re eager to check into a lesser-known, beachfront resort, the family-owned Jakes Treasure Beach.

This area is Jamaica at its roots; some call it the “Real Jamaica.” The area’s welcome sign affirms we’ve arrived at the “Home of Community Tourism,” and over the next two days, we start to learn what that means in this rural, rocky and tremendously friendly side of south Jamaica. Our insight begins as our little bus hired through Paradise Tours stops in front of an antique, four-door, London taxi-type vehicle (actually a Ford) with the hotel’s name painted on its sides. Next to it is a fanciful, mosaic entranceway, the resort’s name spelled out within the pink stucco block wall....

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