The island of Jamaica radiates an infectious vibrancy, in the most chilled way possible. Every time I return to Jamaica, I have thought about what makes up this oxymoronic ambiance, and I’ve yet to put a finger on it. There is something that hangs in the air of the Jamaican tropics which is undiscoverable anywhere else in the world, even in its neighbouring Caribbean islands. A lot of this is down to the locals, who certainly win the prize for being the most effortlessly cool people around. But it’s also due to the undeniable beauty of Jamaica, with all of its hidden corners.
I could go on for days about the different hotspots of the island. Montego Bay’s pink sunsets and nightlife will always deliver. Likewise, Negril’s seven-mile stretch of bleach-blond sand and crystal waters is not something you want to miss. The capital city of Kingston is filled with a lovable hustle and bustle and an embedded history of reggae and Bob Marley—definitely worth checking out while on the island.
Specifically in the South Coast of Jamaica, Treasure Beach and Great Bay are Jamaica’s quite literal hidden ‘treasures’. Having only passed through on my past trips, this year I decided to stay for a week. My place was located right on Great Bay beach, surrounded by the swishing waves and local fisherman. The area’s perfect emptiness and rural beauty was so underrated, and therefore in need of a little spotlight. So, here’s a mini guide of the best things to do while visiting.
Starting this list is actually not doing much at all. Wake up, have a cup of blue mountain coffee and sit on the beach as you watch the locals' playful chit-chat, while they haul in hundreds of fish from the water. Sunbathe or swim throughout the day, and if you need a little walkabout in the afternoon you can head to Great Bay village and buy a sweet treat from the adorable ice cream shop. Great Bay’s beauty further exudes at night. In its remoteness, it’s not the place for many blinding city lights, meaning the sight of the stars to the naked eye is utterly incredible. Wait until it's pitch black and take another trip to the beach. If you’re really feeling adventurous, take a dip in the dark and look up at the indigo sky. I saw the milky way for the first time in my life, beautifully submerged and interlinked by thousands of stars. Lie on the sand or float above the water, and you won’t quite be able to comprehend the solar system you see above you. As days go, a remarkably inactive day on the South Coast of Jamaica ranks pretty highly.
However, if cabin fever sets in, Jamaica does not fall short of trips to take. Just off Treasure Beach, the Pelican bar is a must; it is possibly the coolest place for a Red Stripe in Jamaica. The bar is roughly bound together by zigzagged palm leaves, wood and nails, and its location is bang in the middle of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. If you want a less well-known spot for your drink, though, then look into taking a trip to Sunny Island. This shallow reef accompanied by a tiny island of gold sand is actually ‘ungooglelable’ and you will only hear of it through the Jamaicans who have been. The island, with its faded blue waters and complete isolation, is one of the most ideal snorkelling and bathing locations. You truly are in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Jamaica’s towering green cliffs in the distance and its varying ocean blues. Kudos to my writing if I can describe even a fraction of this beauty and what it feels like.
Heading to Jamaica in itself is enough of an adventure, but if you’re the type of person who craves something more, something so off the beaten track that you’ll find it hard to retrace your footsteps, the South Coast of Jamaica is the place for you. You’ll find yourself constantly looking at the landscape, the sky, or the beaches, and having two recurring thoughts: 1) I have never seen anything like this before, and 2) this is insanely beautiful.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor