Located in laid-back Negril, Rick's Café Jamaica has won endless accolades, from being voted among the ”Top 50 Bars in the World' by Insider Travel, to claiming a place as one of the ”10 Best Bars in the World', as voted by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. It was founded in 1974 by Richard ”Rick' Hershman. He'd picked the spot, seeing it as a perfect location where his customers could soak up those famous Jamaican sunsets. Over 40 years' later, Rick's Café is loved by visitors and locals alike, and is now a Jamaican institution. If you're going on holiday to Jamaica, this is one attraction you have to put on your must-see list. A trip here will introduce you to an authentic taste of island life, and the warmest of Caribbean welcomes.
A café with a differenceWithout doubt, Richard Hershman was right when he chose the café's location; there's nothing to rival sitting in Rick's Café Jamaica with a cold cocktail in hand and watching the sun slip over the horizon. The café is perched on a clifftop, overlooking the sapphire waters of the Caribbean Sea, and it's here that the fun begins. The locals found some excellent vantage points where they could take a leap into the waters below. There are five of these, the first starting at 10 feet high, going all the way up to a daunting and knuckle-whitening 35-foot drop. If you're in any way tempted, start at the bottom and work your way up. Alternatively, watch the locals do it while you sip on a nice cold beer.
Sunsets and musicRick's Café Jamaica offers a typically warm Caribbean welcome as soon as you step through its famous doors. During the day, there's a steady stream of visitors and locals popping in for a drink. Once the sun starts to set, things really get busy. People come from miles around to watch the sea and sky change colour as night starts to fall. To add to the atmosphere, the bar starts to crank out chilled out reggae from around 5.30pm. In the outdoor seating area there's even a piano, which is regularly tinkled by the more musically talented customers. Hit the café on the right night and you'll even get to hear local bands, which tend to see the celebrations going on long into the early hours.
Food and drinkThe bar offers an extensive selection of drinks, from beers, wines and spirits to fresh cocktails mixed to perfection. Look out for the modestly-named Rick's World Famous Rum Punch and the feisty Shark Bite. If you're feeling hungry there's a good menu offering classic Jamaican dishes such as jerk chicken, fresh fish, and seafood and spiced patties. For those with a sweet tooth, the banana fritters are a favourite, but the homemade rum cake is always a scene-stealer. Rick's Café Jamaica is near the western fringe of Jamaica, about a 10-minute drive from the centre of Negril, and roughly an hour and a half from Montego Bay. Hiring a car is generally the best way to get here if you're travelling from any distance, especially if you're visiting for the sunset. You'll find many tour operators provide group and private tours to this famous attraction, which will mean you can have a drink or two before you head home to bed. These tours often include a long stop at Seven Mile Beach, too, where you can have a swim or soak up the sun on white, powder-soft sands.
Other sightsWhile you're in the area, it makes sense to see some of the other local sights. The Negril Lighthouse is an iconic landmark and one that's well worth exploring for the astounding views of the coast. Built in the 1800s, it was one of the first concrete lighthouses in the country and, if you've got the energy, you can climb the 103 steps to the upper gallery. Alternatively, pay a visit to Mayfield Falls, where you can explore the pools and waterfalls along a stretch of Hector's River. However, if the idea of a cool beer, a stunning sunset, and the sight of people diving off cliffs into the sea below is more appealing, Rick's Café Jamaica is the place to go. Be sure to take your camera and take home some amazing memories of your holidays to Jamaica.