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 A Look Inside the Real Jamaica

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A vacation in Jamaica is special. You get the full-on Caribbean holiday experience with beautiful beaches and warm aquamarine waters but you also get a bonus. Jamaica is world famous for its music and its laidback Rastafarian vibe, the island truly is a fascinating mix of cultures and history, all tied up in one lovely tropical package.

To take advantage of everything Jamaica has to offer, we have selected three uniquely Jamaican experiences that help tell the story of the island and its people.  Take a quick tour of Jamaica through visits to the Rastafari Indigenous Village, Rose Hall Estate, Jamaica’s most famous Great House and the quaint Nine Mile Village, the birthplace of Bob Marley as well as where he is buried.

Rastafari Indigenous Village

The Rastafari Indigenous Village is located just outside of Montego Bay but it feels a world away from our twenty-first-century life. Bring your water shoes to this enthralling experience of the Jamaican Rasta community, which starts with a symbolic crossing of worlds as you paddle across a shallow river to the entrance of the village.

Colorful house in Jamaica
Photo credit: david_e_waldron

It’s hard to describe in words what an otherworldly and magical experience it is to visit this little place in Jamaica. It is best to visit with a small group to get the true feeling of being “in tune” with the Rasta people. The beating of the drums, the gentle and serene lifestyle of the Rastafarian community works its way into visitors’ hearts and minds.

The tour includes a description of the values and principles of Rastafarian people as well as a discussion of the movement in Jamaica. You will visit the communal kitchen and gardens, with a focus on the vegan values of the Rastafarian way of life. The tour ends with traditional drum and singing in the village centre.  Tours are held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

Nine Mile Village

Don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is gonna be alright. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley

When you visit Nine Mile Village you can’t help but not worry about every little thing. Located high in the mountains in the St. Ann Parish of Jamaica, Nine Mile Village is the birthplace and the final resting place of one of Jamaica’s most famous sons, Bob Marley. Although the organised village tour is a tad more commercial than the Indigenous Rasta Village it is still worth a visit for any Bob Marley fan. This is where it all started, the music career that gave us the unique musical stylings of Bob Marley that are as popular today as they were fifty years ago when people first learned to love the sounds and message of reggae music.

There is nothing better than to listen to Marley’s reggae in the place that inspired his music and was so influential to him throughout his lifetime.  It is easy to see how this sleepy little village inspired some of Marley’s most famous songs.

The tour includes a visit to Marley’s birthplace and his home for the first twelve years of his life, and it is where he would return to from Kingston for inspiration and peace to write and play music. You will also be able to visit the Marley Mausoleums where Bob and his mother Cedella Booker are entombed. Tours are held daily starting at 8am, you can get to the village via taxi from Ocho Rios or through an organised island tour.

Rose Hall Great House Estate

The Rose Hall Great House Estate in Jamaica
Photo credit: Rose Hall Development Ltd

Towering on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the majestic Rose Hall Great House Sugar Estate is one of the most famous and beautiful plantation estates on the island. The six thousand acre plantation also houses one of the Jamaica’s top hotels, the Hilton Rose Hill Resort and Spa.

After being abandoned for over one hundred years, Rose Hall was restored in the 1960’s to its past glory by former Miss USA Michelle Rollins and her husband John Rollins. The couple wanted to tell the story of the plantation’s slave history as well as showing the world the beauty of the Hall’s Georgian architecture.

Inside the Rose Hall Great House Estate in Jamaica
Photo credit: Rose Hall Development Ltd

Almost as famous as the Great House is its former mistress, the ‘bad to the bone’ Annie Palmer and resident ghost of Rose Hall. Annie Palmer has been rumoured to have poisoned her three husbands to death, murdered several slave lovers and so terrorised her slaves they named her the White Witch. The legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall is one of the reasons the Great House attracts thousands of visitors each year, another is the splendid eighteenth-century Colonial décor found throughout the estate, a perfect backdrop for any potential ghost sightings!

Backyard of the Rose Hall Great House Estate in Jamaica
Photo credit: Rose Hall Development Ltd

Tours of Rose Hall are held daily during the hours of 9:15am to 5:15pm, and if you’re brave enough, the estate also offers a candle-lit evening ‘ghost tour’ of the Hall from 6:30 to 9pm. All guided tours include the tour of the house, grounds and Annie Palmer’s grave.

Give into your love of Caribbean island culture and plan your trip to Jamaica now. It has never been easier to book your visit and experience the real Jamaica!

Cover photo credit: Gwyneth Dunsford

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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