Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, is based in New York and traverses the globe, jetting to Ethiopia and Brazil sourcing exotic beans for his company, Marley Coffee; but Jamaica is the place he calls home.
“I like to say home is in my head — wherever there is peace — but to me Jamaica is everything I really love. The bush mangoes. The roasted fish. The people,” said Marley, who has a 52-acre coffee plantation on the banks of Jamaica’s Spanish River and just announced plans to launch an eco-retreat there in the next year.
Yahoo Travel caught up with the peripatetic Marley to find out about the insider places only locals know about — and the scoop on his soon-to-open hotel.
HIS NEW ECO-RESORT: Marley’s plans for Marley Farm Eco Resort include all-glass, recycled, sustainable buildings. You can learn about coffee, eat mangoes, do yoga (he plans on inviting top teachers), and just chill. “Guests will be able to meet the workers at the farm, see the children, and jump in the river and have a swim.”
COFFEE CULTURE: Marley’s coffee — which is sustainably grown, ethically farmed, and artisan roasted — can be found around the globe, but it doesn’t get any better than right here in Jamaica. “We farm the coffee, and then it is roasted in Kingston, down the street from our offices, so it is superfresh. My sister’s café, One Love Cafe at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, serves it.
THE BEST JERK CHICKEN: If you want to try Jamaica’s iconic dish, Marley recommends Scotchie’s, which has locations around the island. “The Scotchie’s 10 minutes from Mobay airport is one of my favorites. It’s always good — the smoked chicken, the jerk chicken. Roast fish, in tinfoil, is stuffed with ochre, callaloo, thyme, scallion, and seasoning. It’s just amazing.”
THE MOST AMAZING BEACH: In a place like Jamaica, with so many amazing beaches, it’s hard to choose just one, but Marley’s choice is Helshire Beach. Just don’t pronounce it “Hel-shire.” According to Marley, “It’s ‘Hel-shear.’ It has a great atmosphere and is where all the locals go. When I was growing up, you’d go to the beach on Saturday or Sunday for fishing festivals and bammi. You’d get escovitch [fresh fish that is marinated with a peppery vinegar-based dressing and roasted]. The boatmen come right up on the water; shops buy the fish and cook it on the spot.”
WHERE TO STAY: Marley is a fan of Half Moon, in Montego Bay. “I love to stay here because it’s right by one of my best beaches, Doctor’s Cave Beach. It’s one of the best-looking beaches I’ve ever seen, right in the middle of Montego Bay downtown. Anyone can go. There’s food, lifeguards; it’s beautiful, pristine, and clean. You can see your hand in the water.”
LOCAL FLAVORS: “My favorite fruit has to be sugar pineapple,” said Marley. “It’s a little pineapple, and it’s so sweet. I have them on the farm, so I grow them, but you can get them at most shops. And the bananas, you need a Jamaican banana. You’ve never had it like this in your life. It’s much sweeter, and you don’t taste any chemicals because in Jamaica the bananas ripen on the tree. I also like the plums that are small and yellow. They are so beautiful!”
FRESH JUICING: “In Jamaica the fruits are so good, you have to have a good juice man. I have a great juice man, Viva. He has his own shop [Viva Natural Juices], where he washes out the rum bottles and sells it in those. There’s no rum flavor; he likes to recycle stuff. He uses spirulina, soursop — it’s really good for you. That is how my father lived, juices every day. He was a Rastaman and grew up drinking natural juices. Everything in Jamaica has to do with reproduction, so you are healthy and strong to have a family.”
WHAT TO BRING HOME: “Back in the day, older parents would bring fried fish and breadfruit. They’d wrap it up and travel with it. For travelers today, Tortuga is a great rum cake you can buy at the airport. For good rum, I like Appleton and Blackwell rum.”
THE BEST LIVE MUSIC: Kingston Dub Club in Jacks Hill is Marley’s favorite place to hear music. “It’s all the roots music, vintage music, good energy, and a nice vibration.”
– Article originally from Yahoo! Travel