Exploring James Bond's Caribbean Islands

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas.
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The James Bond books and movies have always been known for their exotic locations, and some of the films helped put resorts like the British Colonial Hilton and destinations like Jamaica on the global tourist map. In the recent remake of the first Bond film, Casino Royale, filmmakers made a return visit to the Bahamas (where scenes for Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, and The World is Not Enough were filmed) to provide a tropical backdrop for new Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Not only did Ian Fleming make his home in Jamaica, but original Bond actor Sean Connery has a home in the Bahamas, on private Lyford Cay.

Let's spy out some of the secret agent's favorite haunts in the Caribbean:

Bahamas

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau has the distinction of appearing in two Bond movies: Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. Guests can reserve the "Double-O" suite, order a martini shaken, not stirred, and settle into a room filled with Bond memorabilia, books, and movies.

Thunderball also featured a Junkanoo parade on Bay Street in Nassau, and the Cafe Martinique was the scene for Bond's first meeting with movie bad guy Largo and "Bond Girl" Domino. (The original restaurant was demolished to make way for the Atlantis resort, but the cafe lives on at Atlantis' Marina Village). Other scenes were shot in the Exumas, West Providence Island, and Paradise Island.

Both New Providence Island (where Nassau is located) and Paradise Island also play major roles in the 2006 remake of Casino Royale.

Nassau's Albany House plays the role of a beach villa owned by the villain Dimitrios and Bond's future girlfriend, Solange. The Buena Vista Hotel and Restaurant stands in for the Madagascar Embassy in the film.

Major scenes for Casino Royale also were shot at the Atlantis resort and the neighboring One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island.

In fact, you'll get a pretty good look at the Ocean Club's beautiful lobby and a beachfront villa in some of the movie's early scenes, and an apparent product-placement deal leaves little doubt about which Bahamas resort Bond has chosen to hang up his Walther PPK for the evening. Other scenes were shot at Coral Harbor and Nassau International Airport.

Jamaica

Not only did Ian Fleming include Jamaica in the plotlines for books like Live and Let DieDr. NoOctopussy, and The Man with the Golden Gun, he also lived on the island. Fleming wrote all of his Bond books at his Goldeneye estate, which is now an exclusive clifftop resort in the village of Oracabessa, about 20 minutes drive from Ocho Rios.

No surprise, then, that the first Bond film, Dr. No, was filmed partly in Jamaica (the working title of the movie was "Commander Jamaica.") Scenes were filmed in Kingston, and the fictional "Crab Key" was where Bond famously meets Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) on the beach wearing a white bikini and a diver's knife. The iconic scene from the 1962 movie was filmed at Laughing Waters Beach in Ocho Rios and at an undeveloped Dunn's River Falls (almost unrecognizable today). Other Dr. No scenes were filmed at Ocho Rios' Bauxite terminal (familiar to anyone who has made a cruise-ship stop here), the Blue Mountains, and Montego Bay.

The former Sans Souci hotel, now part of the Couples San Souci resort, appeared in the film as well, as did the Morgan's Harbour Hotel in Port Royal.

In 1973's Live and Let Die, the Green Grotto caves in Runaway Bay was the setting for villain Mr. Kananga's lair; a bungalow at the Half Moon Bay Club also appears as Bond's hotel room in the fictional voodoo island of "San Monique." The famous crocodile scene in the film was shot at Jamaica Safari Village, in Falmouth near Montego Bay and now known as Swaby's Swamp Safari.

Cuba

Bond travels to Havana in the novel Die Another Day, and also goes to a secret satellite facility in Cuba in the book GoldenEye.

Puerto Rico

In the movie GoldenEye, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico stands in for the aforementioned secret facility; 007 fans may recall the scene where Piere Brosnan's Bond fights with a rogue British agent over the facility's huge satellite bowl.

The observatory -- which also played a starring role in the Jodi Foster movie Contact -- has a visitor's center and is open to the public.