If you’ve never been to Jamaica, at the very least you are familiar with a few of it’s gifts that are uniquely their own. Simply mention Jerk, Red Stripe, Reggae, Blue Mountain Coffee, or Bob Marley and people are whistling Three Little Birds and looking for their swimsuit. And chances are that long before they even booked their first trip they heard about the iconic Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica.
Rick’s Cafe was founded in 1974 when Negril was little more than a sleepy fishing village and hippie retreat. Almost 40 years later Negril has morphed into an idyllic escape with world-class resorts and hotels built into it’s west end cliffs and Rick’s Cafe has become a tourist trap. A tourist trap that you absolutely should not miss!
There are three things you’ll want to get out of your trip to Rick’s Cafe.
First, you’ll want to watch the cliff divers. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Rick’s four times and I can tell you that your stomach will lurch every single time you watch one of their professional divers soar from the bird’s nest 75 ft above the water. As a brief aside, please don’t be one of those eye-rolly tourists huffing and puffing because the guys jumping from the incredibly high platform for your amusement would like a tip. If you can make it to Jamaica, you can part with a couple of dollars for these amazing performers. Rant over.
If you’re brave enough, you can jump off the 35ft platform into the turquoise water below. For the record, I am not brave enough. I’m a watcher. Someone has to do it or what would all you thrill seekers do it for?
Second, soak up the vibe. Slip into the attitude of the latitude because every ting irie mon. No really, it is. Rick’s Cafe has exactly what you need — sun, reggae, cold drinks, and happy people on vacation. Strike up a conversation with your neighbour or get up and move to the entertainment on the stage. If there’s one thing you should check before you arrive at Rick’s is your stress.
Finally, take in the sunset. It’s amazing how many of us don’t take time to watch the sunset. Heck, most of us don’t have a view of the sunset, it’s so obscured by buildings. Rick’s Cafe, and the cliffs of Negril in general, boast one of the best seats in the house. Grab your honey or throw your arms around your little munchkins and marvel at the sun setting over the Caribbean Sea. I mean truly marvel at it.
You can get to Rick’s by land or water. If you choose to take a catamaran cruise, which I highly recommend by the way, make sure you know how you’ll actually get to Rick’s Cafe. Some charters will tender you in on a small dinghy, but on others it’s man overboard, so expect to get wet.
Finally, here’s the one things I recommend you do not have at Rick’s Cafe. Their version of Jerk Chicken is a crying shame. A breast of chicken that comes with some sort of country style gravy on it that’s supposed to be “jerk”. Nuh-uh. Don’t do it. Get your jerk on at a jerk hut or for a real treat visit Scotchies or Sweet Spice, two incredible restaurants on the island you should not miss. Stick to little appetizers and some ice cold Red Stripe at Rick’s Cafe and save your appetite for more authentic fare later.