A stay at the stylish Sea Urchin, all the feels at YS Falls, and miles of unspoiled, vast beaches. The south coast of Jamaica really has a vibe all its own.
There’s always this unique feeling in me when I’m in Jamaica. It’s something deep I can’t really explain. And many years ago, I stopped questioning it and decided to just keep coming back as often as I can. I’m experiencing this strong and loyal feeling right now, as we are on our second week of a month-long adventure on the island. I have to say, this last year has brought many blessings upon our family, and being able to “bring school” with us has been completely life-changing.
Leaving from Miami, we landed in Kingston, after a quick and uneventful 90-minute flight. I later found out that landing in Montego Bay would have saved at least an hour in driving time to Treasure Beach. We rented an SUV (recommended in Jamaica, because potholes), and headed west to spend the first leg of our trip in Treasure Beach, in the parish of St. Elizabeth. St. Bess, as it is locally known, originally included most of the western part of the island and was the largest parish of the island. It is now the second largest, since Westmoreland was taken from it in 1703, and a part of Manchester as well, in 1814.
Early settlement in St. Elizabeth began in the Pedro Plains. The Taínos, an Arawak people and the first known inhabitants of Jamaica, were established along the coast. When Europeans started occupying “discovered” land, a.k.a. colonizing, in the late 15th century, the Taínos were the main inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. Taíno indigenous groups are still present in the region today and you may even find remnants of pottery if you look around the fields, especially after a rainfall.
With all this mystic, it is clear why it feels so special in Treasure Beach. The beaches dotting the coast line are raw and natural, making it enticing for the kids’ curiosity. There is so much to see and do, and the kids were lucky enough to spot an octopus going about the reef! The sea can be rough in certain areas, but there are many quiet coves where the water is tranquil and swimming is chill and enjoyable.
Of all the memories we carry back from Treasure Beach, the one about the melody of the wind will always give me goosebumps. You see, my Jamaican trips are usually filled with music, but in Treasure Beach, we rarely listened to music. There seemed to be no need to add to the already complete song of the breeze.
The pace on the south coast brings you back to simpler days. Your body adapts to the movements of the sun and the moon, and you adjust your internal rhythm to Mother Nature’s heartbeat and simply allow yourself to be. After spending a week in excessive Miami Beach, the change of pace was most welcome, and staying at Sea Urchin was the perfect landing spot for the beginning of our month on the island.
The house is gorgeous, appointed cleverly, and complete with everything you need. Everywhere you turn, you find beauty, purpose and intention. It was the perfect home to support our mission for relaxation, offering many different spaces to unwind, read, hang out, and play. We filled our mornings with swimming at the beach, after which we would do school work (although a bit reluctantly) and then have lunch. The afternoons were made for lounging at the house, escaping the hot midday sun. We would then return to the beach to enjoy a refreshing sunset swim. A dream routine! And speaking of routine, Rama was even able to take a bike for a spin one morning toward the Great Pedro Bluff.
“But Karine, what about the food?”, I hear you say… Clearly, all this lounging was obviously punctuated by intentional food. Now, I can’t be the only one with a sweet spot for Jamaican food! Well, Sea Urchin didn’t let me down either. Tamesha and Catherine spoiled us from the very beginning with the most delicious meals and the freshest fruits. The kids were always excited to see what was for dinner and I think they might even give me the side eye when we return home. I admit, it was quite a treat to be cared for and nourished for a whole week, something I have never experienced before in such private and gorgeous settings.
Even though we took it slow the whole week, we managed to drive into the vibrant town of Black River, the capital of the parish, to replenish our fruit stash at the farmers market. We also had the chance to experience YS Falls, a beautiful seven-tiered falls set in the middle of beautiful gardens and everything nature has to offer. Jumping off the cliff and swinging from a rope over the water truly made me feel like a kid again. The kids (the real ones) had fun doing the zip-line over the falls and jumping again and again in the beautiful natural pools of water. What I thought would be a quick sightseeing visit ended up being a three-hour stay.
Our week in Treasure Beach was relaxing and grounding. We spent some wonderful family moments that will stay in our hearts forever. It was my first time visiting that part of Jamaica, and I can wholeheartedly say that I will return. After meeting a resident on the beach a few times and exchanging thoughts, something clicked. You come to Treasure Beach for peace, tranquility and mystical history. We are grateful for all the ones who made this first week so magical and promise to return. One complete love.
To read more about my previous adventures in Jamaica, check out Jamaica: A “Feel” Trip.