Rick’s Cafe and Bar is a pretty famous attraction in Negril. They’ve been around since 1974, when I suspect that they were once truly a local, kicked-back kind of place. Now it is a large affair with a big bar/restaurant, a swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tables, and cabanas for rent. There’s a retail store with “Thanks for Making it Rick’s” t-shirts and various paraphernalia for sale. It’s really quite the slick operation.
Its attraction is the beautiful cliff-side location with sweeping big-sky views out to the wide, blue Caribbean. 35 feet below its cliff top locale, the rocks form a deep, protective pool that has become a favourite place for cliff jumpers. Catamarans leave daily from nearby tourist resorts with onboard bars and pulsing music, arriving at Rick’s before sundown. Everyone can watch the divers and the brave can try it themselves. Its a big party with live music, drinks and a spectacular sunset. However, we have never seen it, as we are not fans of crowds and loud music, but when we discovered that they opened at 12pm for lunch, we decided to go take a look. It was very hot and quiet, but its easy to hang out in the large, shaded bar area with a red stripe and watch. A small group of lunch time guests paced below us, as they worked on steeling their nerves for the jump.
Some got to the edge of the higher jump and make the leap before they’ve had too much time to think about it. Others stared down at the water for endless minutes before they turned back and decided to take the safer jump from the lower platform. With an audience casually sitting around watching you fight your fears, it takes some nerve either way. I took plenty of photos and enjoyed watching the show.
The first time we went, I have to admit it was an entertaining visit and and we have since taken friends and family on subsequent trips. I can imagine its lots of fun if you are young and love a party scene. However, I did wonder about the safety of having alcohol and cliff jumping going on in the same place. I know there have been quite a few serious incidents in recent years. Yes, there are signs warning that cliff jumping is dangerous, warning that divers do so at their own risk, and absolving Rick’s of any responsibility. However, I can’t imagine that signs like that would hold water in US courts. Although they say there are trained life guards and security people watching, there aren’t many safety rails and I can’t imagine that every drunk who is suddenly emboldened to do something crazy will be spotted in time. As the mother of a young adult of similar age, its all a bit scary really.