Rick’s Cafe in Negril is one of Jamaica’s most famous hot spots. It’s actually a bar and restaurant, but most people go there for heart-throbbing cliff jumping, and breath-taking sunsets!
Located at the top of a 35-foot high cliff on the far west end of Jamaica, it boasts some of the best, uninterrupted, sunsets in the world!
If you get there before sunset, your attention will without a doubt be on the people jumping the off the highest cliff (35 feet). You’ll see both men and women of all different fitness levels making it look like a piece-of-cake.
But take it from me. It’s NOT as easy as it looks!
For one, I think those that make it look easy must be intoxicated. Of all my times going to Rick’s Cafe, I’ve jumped from the highest cliff once! And never again!
Once your foot leaves the ground at the edge of the cliff, time freezes. I felt like I was falling for at least 20-30 seconds. I kept thinking, why haven’t I reached the water yet!?
I felt like I jumped out of a plane, and everything inside me was rushing up to my neck!
I can only imagine the look I had on my face. Intense Horror!
Then, for some reason, I started to worry that I might be leaning forward too much, and about to do the fiercest belly-flop in history.
So I started flapping and flailing my arms wildly!
I’m sure people on the sidelines found this hilarious. But I thought this was it!
How the hell did I convince my legs to jump?
Eventually, after seeing my entire life flash before my eyes, my feet touched the water, then the place went silent.
I opened my eyes to check if I was still alive. Everything was in high-definition.
I could see people swimming at the surface, and schools of tiny fish swimming around.
I was safe and unharmed.
It was definitely a memorable experience, and I love bragging that I’ve done it, but I promised myself that I’d never do it again.
I’ll sit on the sidelines with a cold beer, watching everyone else and waiting for the sunset.
There are also some local guys who really put on a show. They climb to the top of a tree and jump from there. My guess is it has to be about 80 feet high.
Feel free to bring the kids. There are some lower level cliffs that they can enjoy (if they can swim).
If you’re one of the brave, adventurous souls that have all intent on jumping off the cliffs a few times, try to get there around 2-3pm. That will give you enough time to watch a few people and have a few drinks to build up the courage to actually do it.
If you don’t plan on jumping, get there no later than 4 pm. You’ll still get the adrenaline rush and excitement from watching other people jump.
Plan to stay there a few hours. There’s no use going to Ricks Cafe and not staying for the sunset. And be sure to have your camera/phone ready and charged.
As soon as around 5:30 hits, secure your spot upstairs at the edge of the cliffs. Everyone on the property is going to crowd around the edge trying to get the best view. So if you don’t want other people’s heads in your pics, secure your spot early.
When the sunset begins, there’s an in-house band that starts to play live Reggae music. They play well-known hits like many of Bob Marley’s songs.
Live music in the background, cold beer in hand and a sunset that will make you feel like you’re on a different planet. What more could you ask for? It sets the perfect Jamaican vibe.
People have complained about the overall service from the waitresses and store employees. They always include the tip in the bill, so this may be why good customer service is lacking.
Also, be warned, the food and drinks are pricey. I strongly suggest if you are on a tight budget, to come with your belly full and leave in time to make it back to your hotel for dinner.
If you have the cash to spare, it’s really nice to relax and have a few drinks. Don’t expect 5-star restaurant food here though.
The menu includes buffalo wings, chicken tenders, and salsa & chips. There is fish, meat and vegetarian selections available as well.
What to bring to Rick’s Cafe?
- Camera (a must)
- A lot of change
- Full belly (preferably)
- Swimwear if you plan on jumping or swimming
History of Rick’s Cafe
The cliff side was originally owned by a local doctor who was the son of the first Governor-General of the newly independent Jamaica. However, Rick’s Cafe was founded in 1974 by Richard Hershman. At this time Negril was pretty quiet with very few establishments, electricity, telephone or running water. Negril was always known for the wonderful seven-mile beach, however, Rick’s Cafe added another breathtaking attraction. It was the first public bar and restaurant in the area that possessed such a magnificent view of the sunset.
Unfortunately, in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert hit the island and totally destroyed Rick’s Café. The waves went as high 25 feet on the cliff and over the trees. Rick’s Cafe was soon rebuilt but Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004 and destroyed it again. Waves from Hurricane Ivan went as high as 60 to 80 feet. Once Hurricane Ivan passed, Rick’s Cafe came back bigger and even better.
If you’ve been to Rick’s Cafe in Negril in before, tell us about your experience in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you…