I’m usually not very adventurous and standing on the edge of a cliff sends my knees into vibrations like singing guitar strings. During my latter years of high school I lived in a small town with one of Canada’s warmest lakes and dangerous cliffs that only the very brave or the very stupid would try to conquer, some to their own demise. Needless to say, I didn’t jump from the infamous Texas Point of Christina Lake, BC, Canada.
So when the opportunity arose in Jamaica to jump from the cliffs of Negril I had said no…at first.
We had made it to Negril by bus from Montego Bay which took about an hour and twenty minutes. The tour, Island Routes, promised a visit to Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach, possibilities for snorkelling, cliff jumping at Rick’s Cafe, one of the worlds top 10 bars, and a sunset. I was relieved to leave our resort, not because I wasn’t enjoying my time there but I begin to get stir crazy when I stay in one spot for too long. In short, excursions and discovery are necessary for me to enjoy vacation.
I was especially excited to visit Rick’s bar to have a drink and watch the cliff jumpers who not only leap off of the cliffs like olympic divers but they also climb to the highest limbs of the surrounding trees falling into the water head first, all for a tip that you either place in a wooden box marked TIPS or let your paper money tumble through the air to land upon the surface of the clear sky blue water.
But when the bus sailed right on by Rick’s Bar as our guide, Dalton, explained “And now we are approaching a popular spot that was hurt in ’04 by hurricane Ivan – since then the prices skyrocketed so now we come to The Sands for you. Excellent jerk chicken for $8.” In short, Dalton was eluding that Rick’s Cafe is very commercialized and doing very well on its own so why not visit a spot that is undiscovered and intimate? Our bus then halted along an eight foot wall with an opening displaying The Sands. The end of the wall let way to an iron fence surrounding old cannons, ruins of an old lighthouse and the newer tower overlooking the sea and cliffs.
Entering through the doorway you’ll encounter a series of huts, one provides liquid courage, and others are places to sit in case of rain or relaxation. I headed straight over to the cliff to analyze the way down – 30 feet.
After watching a few jumpers I grabbed a drink with my dad.
“I know I’ll regret it if I don’t jump,” he said taking a sip of his vodka tonic. He had voiced exactly what my gut had been telling me when I realized that the only jumper from our group was one man.
“Let’s do it!” I agreed and so we did and it was exhilarating! I landed in the water with minimal pain despite landing on a slight angle, although water did rush up my nose in my attempt to hold both my bikini top and nose on what seemed like a long four or so seconds before plummeting beneath the warm water. It turns out I was the only woman to jump that day.
Some sublime places to stay near the cliffs in Negril: The Caves private villas where you can also have a candlelit dinner within a cave next to the sea during sunset.