This article is part of MERRY JANE's Jamaica Week. For more on this special series of articles and videos, visit our Editor's Letter here.
My buddies and I are finally headed down to Jamaica for some fun in the sun. We're all big fans of cannabis and know that the country has some deep roots when it comes to this particular plant. What are the things we must see and do that relate to the magical herb when we're on the island?
— Jamaica Bound
You are in for a treat! Not only is Jamaica truly paradise with it's beautiful beaches, gorgeous weather, and friendly locals, but it is one hot spot if you want to enjoy all things cannabis. Sure, you could spend your days lounging on the beach toking up, or you can add in a little bit of sightseeing to get the real feel for it all.
The first thing you might want to consider is where you are staying. There are a bunch of lovely resorts on the island, but there are also some smaller properties that do their best to be cannabis-friendly. If you're keen to do the planning and organizing yourself, why not start with booking a place from Bud and Breakfast, a ganja-friendly Airbnb style site. They have places that range from extremely affordable to extremely luxurious (like the "Exodus Retreat," which will set you back $450/night, but comes with a private pool, your own chef, and complimentary cannabis!). If you’re staying in Negril, book a room at the inimitable Rockhouse, which has hosted everyone from Bob Marley to Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones since it opened in 1972.
You should also check out Hot Box Jamaica, which not only offers up cannabis-friendly accommodations in St. Ann, but can also set you up with some ganja farm tours, which cost $125/person. If you stay someplace else, you can also ask around for other, perhaps cheaper ganja farm tours (taxi drivers are good for this sort of help). While cannabis is decriminalized, it's still not full-on legal. As such, not very many farm tours broadcast their services loudly, but they're fairly easy to find.
One of the "must sees" when it comes to Jamaica and cannabis is Nine Mile, a small village in the mountains of St. Ann, where thousands of Bob Marley fans travel every year to honor the musician (and noted ganja fan) at his birthplace and final resting spot. There are a ton of companies that will take you on tours of this area, so read up on it to decide what you're looking for in a visit.
Some of the best tours are lead by Rastafarian guides who can provide a wealth of knowledge not only about Marley but about the religion and their connection to cannabis. In fact, some of the guides are fellow musicians and either friends or relatives of Marley, himself. Many of the tours are full-day excursions and include visiting Marley's meditation spot — Mt. Zion Rock, the Bob Marley Mausoleum, a trip to Dunn's River Falls, and much more. Guided tours (with many offering up some cannabis to help you really get into the spirit) run from $60-$200.
Whatever you end up experiencing in Jamaica, I know it will be highly enjoyable! Safe travels!