Nestled high above the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the quaint village of Nine Mile in Jamaica is home to the birthplace and final resting place of reggae icon Bob Marley. The village’s seemingly impenetrable, narrow winding road protects it from the majority of tourists seeking a more typical Caribbean experience.
Upon arrival at Nine Mile, one might find it to be a small, unassuming settlement with houses scattered across the landscape. Venturing further, visitors will discover the inconspicuous entrance to the Bob Marley Mausoleum compound. The site is frequented by locals sporting dreadlocks, Rasta hats, and yellow eyes, often eager to sell marijuana to tourists.
Entering the compound through two large wooden doors, visitors are greeted with a sense of security and the familiar feeling of being a tourist. A set of stairs leads to a souvenir shop, offering a variety of keepsakes such as trinkets, coffee mugs, jewelry, and t-shirts featuring Marley or the red, yellow, and green colors of Jamaica. Access to the Marley house and mausoleum requires an $26 admission fee per person, a price most are willing to pay considering the effort to reach the site.
After purchasing tickets, visitors can explore a restaurant and bar on the premises, offering reasonably priced, appetizing meals in a unique setting. For some, the highlight of the experience might be enjoying a drink accompanied by a marijuana spliff without fear of repercussions.
The guided tour begins with Rastafarian guides sharing detailed insights into Marley’s humble beginnings, his philosophy, and his music. The house where he was born consists of two rooms—a gathering room and a small bedroom—spanning a mere 300 square feet. The outdoor kitchen features a simple arrangement of rocks forming a circle to contain an open fire.
The tour includes visits to two mausoleums: the first belonging to Mama Marley, and the second housing both Bob Marley and his half-brother. In accordance with Mama Marley’s wishes, the brothers are buried together, with Marley’s crypt on the bottom and his brother’s tomb above. Inside the casket, Marley’s embalmed corpse is accompanied by his red Gibson Les Paul guitar, a Bible opened to Psalm 23, and a stalk of ganja placed by his widow, Rita, at the end of the funeral ceremony. Photography is not permitted inside either building.
The tour concludes with a brief musical performance by the Rasta tour guide, who encourages visitors to embrace Rastafarian principles of peace and love, making the experience well worth the price of admission.
To reach the Bob Marley Mausoleum in Nine Mile, Jamaica, visitors typically fly into Montego Bay or Kingston, the two major international airports on the island. From Montego Bay, the journey is approximately a two-hour drive, while from Kingston, it takes around three hours. It is recommended to rent a car or hire a private driver for the trip, as the roads can be narrow and winding. Alternatively, guided tour packages are available from popular tourist areas such as Ocho Rios, Negril, and Montego Bay, which include transportation to and from the mausoleum. When driving, follow the main road A1 to St. Ann’s Bay, then take the B10 road towards Brown’s Town, and finally, follow the signs to Nine Mile. Once in the village, the entrance to the Bob Marley Mausoleum compound is easily located.
Address: Nine Mile, Jamaica, Montego Bay