The southeastern parish of St. Elizabeth is home to the four pretty coves that comprise the sleepy - but surprisingly chic - coastal region of Treasure Beach. What the area lacks in all-night bashment raves, it makes up for in idiosyncratic charm. Dotted with fresh fish shacks, coffee shops and rum bars painted with vibrant murals, this is the place to experience Jamaica like a local.

STAY at boutique hotel Jake’s – the colourful hub of the Treasure Beach community, where you can eat fresh seafood at Jack Sprat and sip banana daiquiris made by the delightful Dougie at his eponymous onsite bar. For something even more lowkey, Katamah Beachfront Resort offers simple and highly affordable rooms with stylish Moroccan accents. Kick back with your fellow beach bums – mostly a bohemian, Brooklynite bunch – in the communal kitchen, which opens straight out onto the tranquil Frenchman’s Bay.

EAT very well indeed. The parish St. Elizabeth is an agricultural Eden known as the ‘bread basket’ of Jamaica, and Treasure Beach takes its pick of the crop. Nourish yourself with vibrant Ital cuisine served by Rastafarian brothers Delroy and Fitzroy at Gee Wiz Vegetarian Café, sip callaloo and pineapple smoothies at Hol A Vibz Café and buy tender spiced chicken straight from Junior’s roadside jerk pan (Frenchman District Road, next door to Callaloo Butik).

DO take a boat ride down the Black River (disembarking right in the middle of the Caribbean sea for a rum and Ting at the Pelican Bar or hire a bike to explore the lush farmland of St. Elizabeth. If you’re looking for something more cerebral, the annual Calabash Literary Festival takes place at Jake’s at the end of May and boasts an impressive roster of international authors, including Zadie Smith.

SHOP at Callaloo Butik, a cute whitewashed shop full of batik print dresses and wicker bags. It’s run by a French former fashion designer, so the edit of Jamaica-made clothes, accessories and homeware is a little more chic than you might expect to find in a quiet Caribbean town. Also check out the Treasure Hunt Craft Shop, which sells a covetable selection of homemade goat milk soaps, colourful art prints and stylish tote bags. The shop is operated by the local women’s group and all products are made by women in the local area, with profits split between the makers and the community centre itself.