As soon as our we told our kids we were going to Jamaica, our older son asked if we could do something related to Bob Marley. It sounded like a fun and different way to spend a day in Jamaica, so I decided to research our options.
Bob Marley (6 Feb 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter. His early musical career was with The Wailers, though he later achieved greater fame as a solo artist with songs such as One Love and Exodus. He is still considered one of the bestselling artists of all time.
While visiting Jamaica, there are two major places that have Bob Marley tours: Kingston (where there is a museum) and Nine Mile (where Marley was born and later buried). Because of the travel time involved, we would only be able to go on one tour. Our son looked over the options and choose the Nine Mile tour.
Like everything, you should do your research to determine which tour company fits your schedule and budget. We went with Reggae Tours and would recommend them highly.
GETTING TO NINE MILE, JAMAICA
The day of the tour, our guide picked us up from our hotel, Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. Because the tour was private, we were soon on our way. Our guide was friendly and helpful, and shared tidbits of Jamaican knowledge and cultural information on the 2 1/2-hour drive to Nine Mile.
Getting to Nine Mile was an adventure in itself. Nine Mile is set on a remote hill in the parish of Saint Ann. Roads in Jamaica are narrow and full of sharp turns. Keep this in mind if you decide to drive yourself. Though it took some time to get there, the running conversation with our guide made the time go by quickly.
THE BOB MARLEY NINE MILE TOUR
For this part of the tour, our Reggae Tours guide waited at the van and we joined a few other people for our exploration of Mount Zion. The tour starts off in a building where Marley’s gold records are displayed. It was fascinating to see them all and learn about his various awards.
Leaving the records behind, we walked up a short hill to Bob Marley’s house, where he was born and spent his childhood. It’s hard to believe four people lived in the little two room house.
Throughout the tour, our Rastafarian guide told us stories and shared insights about Bob Marley and his family. It was a music lover’s dream and our guitar-playing, music obsessed son was in heaven.
Last on the tour were the graves of Marley’s mother Cedella Booker and Bob Marley himself. Pictures weren’t allowed inside the chapels, and you had to take your shoes off so we were only able to capture the outside.
The Bob Marley Nine Mile site has a small gift shop at the end of the tour as well as a bar, should you find yourself needing refreshment. There’s also a bathroom, so no worries about having to hold it on the way back to your hotel.
WORD OF WARNING
You should be aware that as soon as you pull into the parking lot, you’ll have locals approaching you with marijuana. More than likely, someone will be smoking it as you tour Mount Zion. In fact, there was a plant growing beside the house Bob Marley grew up in, and one of the guests who happened to be touring at the same time we were bought a joint from an employee.
However, all in all, we enjoyed our peek into this iconic musician’s life and history and would recommend it to anyone with a love of reggae.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.