Jamaica Travel Article on the Bob Marley Tour

Cherishing one love… Bob Marley

Bob Marley tour article written by Travel Writer Antony Barton

It’s difficult to go anywhere in Jamaica without hearing the strains of One Love or seeing pictures of music’s most famous Rastafarian. Indeed, fans of reggae music will feel almost compelled to undertake a pilgrimage of the most important locations in Bob Marley’s short but monumental life. So, needless to say, there is a Bob Marley tour experience in Jamaica.

Perhaps the best way to do this Bob Marley tour is chronologically, and begin with the scene of his teenage years in a government yard in Trench Town which sits alongside the capital, Kingston. This was and still is an area of acute poverty, but visitors can safely tour the same huts where Bob and his mother once lived by visiting the Trench Town Culture Yard. Here, visitors can walk around eight or so huts that each would have housed as many as 10 people. One of these tiny cell-like structures was where Bob and his wife, Rita, apparently first made love.

Visitors can gaze upon the star’s first acoustic guitar and the rusted remains of a battered VW Camper that was once used by The Wailers. This small yard had a huge influence on Bob’s musical output, featuring in the lyrics to at least four of his songs, including No Woman, No Cry. Trench Town was also home to a number of other musical greats, such as Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs, Jimmy Cliff, and Ken Booth.

In nearby Kingston, fans can tour the large wooden house at 56 Hope Road. Now called the Bob Marley Museum, this is where Bob recorded his music and lived with Rita until his death in 1981. It was also the scene of a politically motivated assassination attempt on Bob’s life in 1976, with the bullets still lodged in the inside walls. Six years after Bob’s death, Rita decided to open the house as a museum.

The guide on the mandatory Bob Marley tour puts many of Bob’s lyrics into perspective by explaining their context and showing various memorabilia, such as newspaper cuttings, photos and album covers. The tour ends with a short documentary, but visitors are free to wander the grounds afterwards. This is where you can take a closer look at the marijuana plants growing openly in the front yard or have your photo taken on the rock where Bob enjoyed spending a contemplative moment.

Pilgrims should complete their tour with a trip to Nine Mile. A series of winding country roads lead to this mountain village, where a Rastafarian guide shows visitors around Bob’s birthplace and the tombs of the musician and his mother.

If you can make it past the Jamaicans trying to sell you the local ‘produce’ in the car park, then you’ll embark on a mausoleum tour that is actually quite entertaining. The Bob Marley tour guide often breaks out into song, and the green faces of tourists who indulged the vendors can’t help but put a smile on your face. Highlights include standing alongside Bob’s bed and lighting a candle beside his tomb. It’s a moment any fan will cherish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antony Barton is a freelance travel journalist and photographer who lives in inner London. After a period of time as a news editor, he combined his love of writing with his love of exploring the world and began specialising in backpacking and budget travel. He also has an in depth knowledge of south-east Asian temples and temple ruins.

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