Treasure Beach is about 50 miles south of Montego Bay; the ride is slow and meandering over the mountains. Most people hire a car through their hotel to fetch them at the airport, or rent a car knowing that they will be driving on the left side of busy, narrow, shoulder-less roads. Charter flights can be had, at steep prices.
Where to stay
Jake's is the most charming option, with both rooms and villas (starting around $115 a night; jakeshotel.com). Other funkier places that have good reputations around town are Ocean View House, a modest beachfront home with a shared kitchen (about $60 a night; treasuretours jamaica.com, which has a number of other options); Golden Sands, a venerable budget beachfront option (about $55; goldensands treasurebeach.com), and Sunset Resort Hotel, an old-timey beach place with air conditioning (about $90-$180; sunsetresort.com).
The busiest place, with both locals and visitors, is Jack Sprat, an open-air, order-at-the-counter beachfront place with everything from jerk chicken and kingfish to curries and pizza. The restaurant at Jake's — a full-service, outdoor gem that serves three meals a day — has an ambitious kitchen. At little Hold a Vibe, the smoothies and breakfast sandwiches are a treat. The Lobster Pot, serving simple, made-to-order seafood, is literally on the beach at Great Bay; your chair and your feet are in the sand. Rum, beer, and wine are available most everywhere.
The only things really to spend money on are fishing trips, bike rentals, the Driftwood Spa at Jake's, and outings to the area's three main tourist destinations — the Pelican Bar, on stilts out on a sandbar in the sea; swimming at YS Falls, and tours of the Appleton Estate rum distillery. Beware: The all-inclusive resorts bus in their guests to those three sites, which means they can be busy. Have cash for small places in town. U.S. dollars often work, but the change will be in Jamaican dollars.