Say Jamaica, and most people think beaches, sun, rum and music – or all of the above, rolled into one. The very thought of the island conjures up fantasies of lounging by the warm Caribbean Sea to the rhythm of ska, rocksteady, and of course, reggae. For this, thank Bob Marley, Jamaica’s prime cultural ambassador, who has played a fundamental role in creating the country’s image abroad. Naturally, the country doesn’t forget its greatest star when it’s time to promote its many charms as a tourist destination.
Apart from the usual water sports, rain forest excursions and sightseeing in Jamaica’s unique melting pot of cultures, fans of the singer/songwriter may also explore the places where the father of reggae was born and lived.
In the Footsteps of Bob Marley
Robert Nesta Marley was born in Nine Mile in 1945, and it’s in this very town where he was laid to his final rest. In Nine Mile we can visit the humble home where the legendary rastafarian spent the first years of his life, the famous “meditation rock” from the song Talkin’ Blues, and as a counterpoint, his great mausoleum. Most probably, the visit will be led by a friend, cousin or other relative close to the musical legend – or so they will tell you! Mount Zion, as well as the school where Marley studied, are also quite interesting for diehard fans.
Moving on to Kingston, the lively Jamaican capital, we should set aside a few hours to visit no. 56 Maple Road, Marley’s residence until 1981 and the first headquarters of Tuff Gong, the record label he founded. Now the Bob Marley Museum, in its rooms you’ll find a wealth of personal objects such as photographs, gold and platinum records, clothes, even his medicinal herb garden: truly a collection of incalculable worth for his fans.
But the tourist does not live by museums alone: strolling along the lively streets of Kingston, the artist’s legacy pulses in every corner. Don’t worry, be happy, mon. Just follow the music and sing along.
Photo | Gnumarcelo