Ever dreamed of being a pirate -- or perhaps Johnny Depp? Depp brings Captain Jack Sparrow to life (and back to life) in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and latter-day buccaneers, wenches, and scallywags can explore some of the real-life Caribbean destinations where the Disney films were shot -- including the latest (final?) film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Much of the fourth POTC film, released in summer 2011, was not even filmed in the Caribbean, but rather in locations throughout Hawaii.
However, the movie's final beach scene was filmed near the east coast city of Fajardo, Puerto Rico -- on and near the small offshore islands of Palomino and Palominitos, to be precise. Palomino Island should be familiar to guests of the iconic El Conquistador hotel, which stages beach and water activities there. Other scenes were shot in Old San Juan, at the San Cristobal Fort.
Major sequences of the original Pirates of the Caribbean film were shot in the jungle island of Dominica, and the film helped put this lush tropical island on the tourist map the way that the Lord of the Rings films spotlighted the natural wonders of New Zealand.
Dominica's northeast coast, with its dramatic cliffs and lush foliage, provides the backdrop for some of the key moments in the second film, Dead Man's Chest, including boat scenes filmed on the Indian River, a cannibal village where Jack nearly becomes the main course, and a fight sequence involving a huge water wheel.
Sets were built in Soufriere and Vielle Case, and scenes were shot in locations like Pegua Bay, Titou Gorge, High Meadow, Pointe Guinade, and Hampstead Beach.
Breakaway Adventures has designed a nine-day Dominica walking tour that takes in many of the same vistas seen in the films, including the Indian River (the stand-in for the movie's "Pantano River"), "Cannibal Island" in the Valley of Desolation, and the films' "Shipwreck Cove" near Capucin Cape.
"With all the hype surrounding the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' sequel, we thought it would be fun to offer a tour that allows travelers to see the sites they'll view this summer on the big screen," says Carol Keskitalo, co-owner of Breakaway Adventures. "Guests will see why this amazing island was the perfect natural stage for sword fights, secret missions, and swashbuckling adventures."
Other scenes for "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End" were shot on Grand Bahama Island and Exuma in the Bahamas, including a sequence involving the ghastly minions of Davy Jones. Bahamas visitors might also want to check out the Pirates of Nassau Museum for information on actual brigands and buccaneers, who were notably less cuddly than Depp's Sparrow.
As in the first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, an elaborate set at Wallilabou Bay in St. Vincent appears as the first sequel's Port Royal, a historically notorious pirate's haven located on the north coast of Jamaica.
(Unfortunately, the real Port Royal was demolished by an earthquake in 1692 -- some say as retribution for its wicked ways.) The Wallilabou Anchorage hotel and restaurant appears in the movie, as does a natural stone arch at the entrance of the bay; the port is still a very relaxed place despite its recent fame.
A visit to the bay on St. Vincent's northwest coast can also include a visit to the Falls of Baleine, a 60-foot cascade with a natural pool that's inviting for a refreshing dip. Scenes for The Curse of the Black Pearl also were shot in Kingstown on the island of Bequia in the Grenadines.
Dominican Republic and Tortuga
Samana in the Dominican Republic also played a role in the filming of Capt. Jack Sparrow's Caribbean misadventures. You also can visit the actual pirate's hideout where Jack recruits his crew – Tortuga, a desolate sandy island that's now part of Haiti.