Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path Tips by toonsarah Top 5 Page for this destination
Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path: 17 reviews and 41 photos
Entrance to Marley house at Nine Mile
Elsewhere I’ve recommended the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, which is certainly well worth a visit, but if you only have time for one Bob Marley tour I think I would opt for this one. Nine Mile is the small village in the hills of St Ann’s Parish where Marley was born and is now buried (following Jamaican tradition on burial in a plot on your own ground rather than a cemetery). As with the Kingston museum, the tour here is a well-packaged operation but no less enjoyable for that.
On arrival you’re directed to park in a small walled compound – look out for locals trying to sell ganja smokes through any crack in the wall! Up a short flight of steps is the house that belonged to Marley’s maternal grandmother, which is where he was born. Here you buy your tickets for the tour (US$15 per person) and wait for the obligatory guide in a room filled with memorabilia (posters, gold and platinum discs etc.) I think we were lucky in the guide allocated to our small party, the amazing Captain Crazy – if you want to meet a real character you might like to ask if he’s available. He has the most extraordinary laugh – at first irritating, later infectious – and kept us entertained throughout the tour. You can see him in photo 2 singing a Marley song to Javier on the steps outside the mausoleum.
Marley’s music infused this tour in a way that was perhaps missing on the Kingston one; Capt. Crazy sang various lines from time to time, and we were told that a guy playing some of the tunes on a banjo was one of Marley’s cousins (I imagine most people in the village might legitimately make that claim) and had given him his first guitar – see photo 3.
From the main house we climbed a steep path past his grandparents’ graves to the small house higher up the hill where he grew up, living there until moving to Kingston with his mother and siblings at the age of 13. Inside are a couple of rooms, including one with the “single bed” immortalised in the lyrics of “Is this love?” where we were encouraged to pose for photos (photo 4). Near the house is a cooking area and the rock where Marley used to meditate, both painted in Rasta colours. Beyond these you enter the mausoleum; the larger tomb in the centre is surrounded by the various offerings left by visitors and lit through a stained glass window (again in Rasta colours).
No photos are allowed in the mausoleum, and both here and in the small house we were required to remove our shoes.
Phone: 305 665 5379
Drinks shack near Fern Gully
If you enter Ocho Rios from the south, e.g. coming from Kingston as we did, you’ll probably drive through Fern Gully, a rocky gorge of tremendous depth which zigzags for about four miles from the coast up to the central mountain area of the island. The road here is lined with tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage usually only found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler than outside. We were told by Dave that when he was a child the foliage met overhead in an unbroken tunnel and no light at all got through. In recent years however the fumes from the constant traffic have started to inhibit growth and even kill some of the plants. In an attempt to halt the damage trucks and lorries have been banned from driving on this road, but the alternative route is longer so many disobey as we saw ourselves. There is even talk of banning all traffic and restricting access to cyclists and walkers, but locals seem to be opposed to this as they would lose one of the main routes to and from town.
While the future of Fern Gully remains to be resolved, it is certainly a sight worth seeing, though to do so other than from your car will probably necessitate a stop at one of the several souvenir vendors along the road as there is otherwise nowhere else to pull over. Alternatively you might like to stop at the top of the gorge as we did, where this colourful drink shack made a great photo opportunity.
At the Bob Marley Museum
As I said in my intro, Ocho Rios makes a good base for excursions; in particular, we chose the resort for its reasonable proximity to Kingston, which was somewhere we knew we would want to visit. We’d already arranged for a day trip to Kingston when we made our reservation at the Blue House, and when we found we were getting on well with fellow guests Michael, Monika and Javier we invited them to join us, which reduced our costs and gave all of us a fun day out. My Kingston page will tell you more about the various places we visited that day, so this is just an overview.
It’s a good two hour drive to Kingston, so we left early and stopped off for breakfast at fast food chain Juici Patti, in Bog Walk in the centre of the island. We made a brief halt in Bog Walk Gorge to admire the scenery, before heading to our first sightseeing stop, Spanish Town, about twelve miles north west of Kingston. This was, as the name suggests, the capital during Spanish rule and there are some wonderful buildings here. Few of them have been restored, however, and some are simply facades, giving them more atmosphere than substance.
From here we drove to Port Royal, the former British capital situated on the same peninsula as Kingston’s airport. Here too the buildings are mainly pretty faded, with the exception of Fort Charles. It seems the Jamaicans value the tourist value of natural scenic wonders above that of their history.
Our next stop was possibly the highlight of the trip, the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston itself. I’ve seen this described elsewhere as a bit of a tourist trap, and it is certainly a very carefully packaged and slick operation, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit so I would recommend that you go and judge for yourself.
After lunch at a good Mexican restaurant, well recommended by Dave, we headed for the Blue Mountains and the beautiful Strawberry Hill Hotel for excellent coffee and dramatic views of the city below, before the long drive home through the Kingston rush hour and back across the island for one of Darryl’s great dinners to round off an excellent day.
More Reviews (16)
toonsarah's Related Pages
Ocho Rios Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Sanctuary at the Blue House"
- "Ocho Rios"
- "Welcome to Ocho Rios, Jamaica"
- "Cabana Boys with Mai Tais"
- "OCHO RIOS"
- "Come to Jamaica and feel alright!"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Ocho Rios
- Hotels in Ocho Rios
- Transportation in Ocho Rios
- Nightlife in Ocho Rios
- Restaurants in Ocho Rios
- Shopping in Ocho Rios
- Warnings and Dangers in Ocho Rios
- See All...
Explore the World
- Artane Hotels
- Garland Hotels
- Sipoo Hotels
- Pittsburg Landing Hotels
- Greece Off The Beaten Path
- Great Gorge Adventure Pass
- Isla Mujeres Off The Beaten Path
- Turks and Caicos Islands Off The Beaten Path
- Houston Off The Beaten Path
- Bairro da Malagueira
- Columbia Off The Beaten Path
- San José del Cabo Off The Beaten Path
- New Jersey Off The Beaten Path
- Albania Off The Beaten Path
- Benalmádena Off The Beaten Path
- San Gimignano Off The Beaten Path
Badges & Stats in Ocho Rios
- 19 Reviews
- 66 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 18 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (103)
Have you been to Ocho Rios?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Ocho Rios
Photos in Ocho RiosSee All Photos (66)
Top 10 Pages
- London Intro, 185 reviews, 512 photos, 13 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Newcastle upon Tyne Intro, 107 reviews, 245 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination New York City Intro, 77 reviews, 226 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Gubbio Intro, 52 reviews, 204 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands Intro, 49 reviews, 197 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sibiu Intro, 34 reviews, 196 photos, 9 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Quito Intro, 45 reviews, 172 photos, 1 travelogue
- Berlin Intro, 52 reviews, 155 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bergamo Intro, 42 reviews, 161 photos
- Lisbon Intro, 42 reviews, 144 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (173)
Latest Ocho Rios hotel reviews
- Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort
- 4236 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 20, 2013
- Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel
- 3881 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 19, 2013
- Rooms On The Beach
- 485 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 1, 2013
- Couples Sans Souci
- 2041 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 18, 2013
- Pineapple Hotel
- 29 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 12, 2013
- Sandcastles Beach Resort Ocho Rios
- 230 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 9, 2013
- Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort
- 4 Reviews & Opinions
- Fishermans Point Resort
- 152 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 24, 2013
- Turtle Beach Towers
- 81 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 16, 2013
- Plantation Inn
- 2 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 15, 2013
- Hibiscus Lodge Hotel
- 87 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 18, 2013
- Royal Plantation
- 1129 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 20, 2013
- Crane Ridge Resort
- 68 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 16, 2013
- Columbus Heights Condominiums Ocho Rios
- 33 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 22, 2013