Ahh … classic Jamaica: golden sunset, warm ocean breeze, bohemian afternoons, and an invitation to take a walk on the wild side with a good rum cocktail in hand. If this doesn’t sound like your evening plan while visiting Rick’s Café in Negril, then you probably should have stayed in your hotel room.
Despite its name, Rick’s Café isn’t much of a coffee joint. Don’t expect to sip espressos while nibbling on a plate of Petit Fours at this cliffside bar restaurant. Instead, get ready for a night of otherworldly tropical drinks, freshly caught seafood, traditional Jamaican desserts, and splashes of the ocean hitting your face as thrill-seekers swan dive from an 85-foot-tall tree into the shallow, crystal-blue waters below the café.
Yes, you read that last sentence right. As unbelievable as it sounds, cliff diving has put this legendary restaurant on many travellers’ radars. But more than just a place to gawk at daredevils carrying out their heart-stopping stunts, anyone with a minor death wish, moderately drunk, or just hoping for an adrenaline rush can leap off the side of a cliff too before the appetizers hit the table.
Here’s all you need to know about this iconic restaurant in Negril:
Perched on the west end of a 35-foot cliff in Negril, Rick’s first opened in 1974 by Richard “Rick” Hershman at a time when the town was just beginning to develop into a resort destination. With few restaurants, infrastructure, or electricity, Rick’s became the first dining venue of its kind in the area, offering a place to dine with a spectacular view.
After surviving two hurricanes, one in 1988, the other in 2004, Rick’s was rebuilt to include an outdoor concert stage for live reggae music and a swimming pool by the bar. Since then, it’s been famous for two things: the best sunset on this side of the Jamaican coast and cliff diving.
The cliff jumping starts in the early afternoon, around 2 p.m. For the next few hours before sunset (around 6 p.m.), you can watch local professional divers scale the thin, willowy trees nearby and dive off from the platform at the treetop. Plunging from a height around 85-feet, the divers spear through the limpid, shallow water below, narrowly missing the rocks at the bottom.
If you feel like testing your mettle after a few shots of liquid courage, try jumping off the side of the bar’s platform from three different heights: 10-feet, 27-feet, and 40-feet. However, it’s highly recommended to exercise caution and leave the actual high diving to the professionals.
What to bring
A binocular for potential dolphin sightings
Courage and swimwear if you plan on jumping
Although entrance is free, bring lots of change for drinks, food, souvenirs, and to tip the divers.
What to do
Cliff dive, if you are up for it, and try it at various jump spots. If not, get here in the early afternoon before the crowds and watch professional divers carry out their stunts a few hours before the sun sets.
Try Rick’s whimsical house cocktails, some with rather inventive names like Jamaican Viagra and Shark Bite or order the chef’s specials, including the Island Jerked Chicken.
Check out the café’s gift shops for bragging rights t-shirt and memorabilia.
Chill out and enjoy live reggae music performances.
Stay around for a fiery, golden sunset that starts around 6 p.m.
If you can’t wait to dive into the perfect Negril vacation (literally or figuratively!), connect with one of our Expert Travellers today by calling 1-877-967-5302, chatting online, or finding the store nearest you.