Just outside Montego Bay, Rastafari Indigenous Village is a peaceful working community offering visitors an opportunity to connect with local Rastafarians. Through warm interaction and musical performances, learn about their spiritual belief system, traditional skills, organic farming, and the rich cultural heritage they contribute to Jamaica.
Creating a welcoming atmosphere, Rastafarian villagers invite travelers into the daily life of their community. Learn the techniques they use to build traditional drums, grow organic vegetables, make herbal remedies and medicines, and spice their traditional cooking. After a leisurely wander around the village’s meditative labyrinth, enjoy an herbal tea and fresh fruit while listening to the villagers play music and chant. Longer visits include treks into the countryside where you can take a dip in a natural pool.
You can visit the Rastafari Indigenous Village as part of a multi-day activity-filled sightseeing tour that offers a more comprehensive, deeper experience of Jamaica. Leaving from Kingston, climb the lush Dunn’s River Falls, soak up the sun on stunning Doctor’s Cave Beach, go horseback riding, or even swim with dolphins. Tours typically include hotel accommodations, roundtrip transportation, and some meals; entrance fees and gratuities may not be.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Rastafari Indigenous Village is ideal for those seeking a rich cultural experience while visiting Montego Bay.
- Village residents and visitors are encouraged to interact with one another. As a real community of people, travelers are asked be respectful, especially when taking photos.
- A small craft market sells handmade jewelry, clothes, and herbal remedies. Bring cash (small bills).
- If hiking to the natural pools, you might want to bring your swimsuit and a towel.
- Some larger-tour activities such as Dunn’s River Falls are not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Rastafari Indigenous Village is a few miles inland from central Montego Bay in the town of Portobello, easily accessible by taxi. On a multi-day tour, round trip transportation is generally included.
When to Get There
The village is open year-round, though tours are by appointment only.
While the Hollywood stereotype of the Rastafari life is all dreadlocks and cannabis, Rastafari is an Afrocentric religion developed in the 1930s upon the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia, whom they consider a god. The ritual of smoking marijuana (“wisdom weed” or “holy herb”) has spiritual significance, and is used during communal meetings to enhance feelings of community, heighten meditation, and produce visions of a religious nature.