It was by chance that on a random drive out to St. Thomas with munchkin that she spotted the sign “Bob Marley Beach”.
We were looking for a weekend escape out the city, had stopped to buy patties at Devon House and was hoping to find a sandy beach to munch on these. What luck! We hadn’t even gotten to St. Thomas yet when it seems we’d stumbled upon someplace we hadn’t been before. It would be the perfect place to have an impromptu picnic.
Where is Bob Marley Beach?
Bob Marley Beach is in the Nine Miles community of Bull Bay, which is in St. Andrew Parish. It’s not exactly an easy find as the sign is obscure. I’ve marked it by a peak that seems to jut out of the road. If I pass that bend, I know I’ve missed the turnoff.
We made the turn down the path and … well… I wasn’t sure there was a beach anywhere nearby. I won’t lie, the path was sketchy and the more I drove, the more I wondered if this was safe.
“Maybe I should turn back” I kept thinking, as we drove past zinc fences and weary-looking faces.
When I got to this bridge, munchkin was ready to turn around! I noted cars on the other side and eased my way onto the bridge overlooking a dry river bed. It made some noises that made me cringe a little, I won’t lie! But we had come this far, I audibly reassured munchkin that we really should push on through and see what we’re rewarded with.
She was in the passenger seat quivering. LOL.
I’ll spare you the details of our rickety drive down that path, suffice to say it didn’t get much better. You can see more of our trek in the video. But sure enough, the road finally emptied out into a glittering, unpretentious black sand beach.
It was free to enter, which was a plus. However, in Jamaica, free beaches usually mean no restrooms and lots of litter. I was prepared to be faced with both.
Black Sand Beach
We parked and exited to the sounds of vintage reggae music floating through the air. It was a reminder that the beach was named after Bob Marley because this was an old stomping ground of his.
The community is still very deeply steeped in the Rastafarian religion and flags and decor showed evidence of this on the beach.
It was a leisurely Saturday afternoon and I really loved that though there were a few people scattered across the beach, no one approached us. There was a cluster of buildings on the far end of the beach that I figured were vendors selling the usual beach fare, fish, festivals, beers, and sodas. I never ventured to that side however as I just wanted to get a lay of the land and make sure we were safe following that very sketchy drive.
I’ve gotta say, the beach took my breath away. The black sand glistened in the sunlight and the peak earlier mentioned rose dramatically in the background, providing the perfect stage for our picnic outing.
This isn’t the beach you’ll seek out for a casual swim. The waves are strong, the drop-off is steep and the shore is rocky. In fact, it’s a good place to get beginner surf lessons, much like Boston Bay Beach.
I loved the beach enough on my first visit with munchkin that we took my mom back here as part of her birthday weekend. This time, we were all in our swimwear and prepared to enter the water.
I was a little scared of the tide, I won’t lie. I could FEEL the pull of each wave that broke as the water retreated back to the sea. We’re all good swimmers but I was nervous. Plus it was quite the workout just trying to make it out of the water with the waves crashing into you then trying to pull you back out. I kept a very safe distance only going in up to my knees after my first dip to check things out.
I could see on my first visit that it was rough, but I saw kids frolicking in the water as if it wasn’t that big of a deal. I guess they come here often and are used to it because I wasn’t faring as well.
This wouldn’t stop me from going back. I love that there’s is a beach within a 20-minute drive outside of Kingston that is in the opposite direction of the ones most people usually head to. Grab a Bob Marley Beach Towel and head out with people who have nuff vibes.
The beach has quite a few benches, some covered in these thatch huts you can see in my background here and some uncovered. You’ll also see a few fishing boats on the sand when you visit which always make for some fun photos.
My mom bought us a couple of beers and we sat and chatted on the sand as we watched a dog make the most peculiar poses on the beach. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon. Even as the music got more and more vintage, much to munchkin’s chagrin, we had fun people watching and basking in the golden hour as the sun began to set. Eventually, munchkin started humming the reggae tunes. Can’t beat em, join em.
I will definitely be back. We left in the middle of a glorious sunset so we could catch the rays as we drove back into the city.