South Coast, Jamaica Travel Guide

South Coast Summary

Pros

  • Small, charming villas and bungalows
  • Untouched by mega-resort development
  • Fresh produce at roadside fruit stands
  • Fresh-caught fish
  • Friendly community atmosphere
  • Pelican Bar, called the "coolest bar in the Caribbean"
  • Appleton Rum Distillery tours
  • Naturally beautiful Lover's Leap, YS Falls, and Bamboo Avenue
  • Unique, black-sand beaches
  • 80-90 degrees F (27-32 degrees C) beach weather, year-round
  • Warm locals and some of the most attentive service anywhere in the Caribbean
  • Tap water is safe to drink

Cons

  • Poor road conditions
  • Difficult to navigate -- almost no road signs
  • Sparse to no nightlife
  • 2-hour drive from Montego Bay International or Kingston International airports
  • Rocky shores and shallow reefs
  • Criminalized homosexuality between men and local hostility toward LGBT individuals
  • Very little public transportation (mostly unmetered taxis)
  • Slight chance of hurricanes from June 1 to Nov. 30

What It's Like

The South Coast, also known as "Treasure Beach," is one of Jamaica's least developed areas. "It's like Negril 30 years ago" is a popular refrain. Its vast farmland -- peppered with tiny, colorful cottages and shacks -- comes with a bounty of fresh produce and fish served at casual beach shacks like Jack Sprat's or sold at roadside stands. The shoreline's rocky cliffs and reefs make water sports, diving, and swimming more difficult, but there are a few inlets in the area's unconventionally beautiful black-sand beaches.

A handful of attractions, like The Pelican Bar, Lover's Leap, the Appleton Rum Distillery, YS Falls, and Bamboo Avenue, are spread throughout the area. But save for a few hotel bars and restaurants that stay open late, there is barely a nightlife to speak of.

Where to Stay

The South Coast has few hotels, but the most prominent is Jake's, whose Island Outpost fame is bringing much more attention to the area.

 

View all South Coast Hotels

Facts

Languages: English
Airports: Sangster Int'l (MBJ) (2-hr. taxi)
Norman Manley Int'l (KIN) (2-hr. taxi)
Negril Airport (NEG) (domestic only)
Time Zone: View Current Time
Peak: Dec. 15-April 15
Off-Peak: Sep. 15-Dec. 15
Hurricanes: June 1-Nov. 30
Vaccines: No
Currency: Jamaican Dollars
Electricity: 110 V, 50 Hz
Tipping: 15-20% at restaurants

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