Ensconced in the rural parishes of the island, are treasures that offer those who experience them a sweet escape from what can be described by many as an overbearing world.
We tend to hear a lot about the north coast, but truthfully, Jamaica at its core is truly appreciated when its south coast is explored.
“When it comes to attractions, we have some of the best attractions in the country. You can start off with YS Falls, which is on a 2000 acre working farm, with the most beautiful waterfall in the country. You have the largest (brand) rum in Jamaica; Appleton, that recently upgraded their property and continues to offer a fantastic world class tour,” explained Chairman of Jakes, CEO of Jakes Holdings Limited and Founder of Treasure Beach Foundation, Jason Henzell.
He continued “Lovers leap is another fantastic spot in Jamaica on a 1700-foot cliff with a very rich history. Soon we’ll be doing tours of the lighthouse. We have fully functional restaurants and bars there and it is really a vibrant place now.”
Not to be outdone is the Pelican Bar that has grown in popularity. The bar was the dream of a fisherman who wanted to have a structure in the sea, and after receiving much traction from journalists and travelers who visit Jakes, it has morphed into an incredible attraction.
The scenery on the south coast is a plus, with areas such as Bamboo Avenue, which is lined with vendors selling authentic Jamaican food, fruits and nuts.
Henzell said, “There are the historical buildings, the camping trails, you can stop at ‘Border’ and get your fish and bammy and then, of course, you have wonderful accommodation. There are a lot of luxury villas in Treasure Beach now, there are some hotels, really nice bed and breakfast accommodations and of course the Treasure Beach Sports Park with fields and courts for netball, basketball and tennis, zip lining.”
Henzell added that an added benefit for exploring the south coast is that the food served will always be freshly delivered from the local farmers because properties are small.
“Most countries have a coast that is more developed than others…I believe the south coast has its part to play with travellers, visitors who want to go off the deep path and we are making a name for ourselves with sustainable tourism and low density community styled tourism.”
More than the beach; South Coast offers diverse experiences
So the sun has kissed your skin, the ocean has relaxed you and you have been fed, but you need intellectual stimulation and a sporting challenge; the south coast has those as well.
“There is the Calabash International Literary Festival, The Jakes Off Road Triathlon, the annual hook and line fishing tournament, Valentines party at Lovers leap, and the Accompong celebration,” says Henzell, “The beauty of visiting a low density area is that you feel more like you are in a village than a town. Visiting a church, visiting a farm, learning to play dominoes, are just a few of the things you can experience in these areas.”
Henzell said he is hoping that the government will recognize even more, how important it is to have an alternative to the mass market. The Chairman says he can see where the south coast is positively positioning itself for investments, particularly in the building and renovating of villas.