The Pirates of the Caribbean films were smash-hit successes and undoubtedly heightened Johnny Depp's heartthrob status. But they also shed light on the bountiful beauty of the islands – so head for the high seas and have your own adventure in what was once a pirate paradise.
With its pure white beaches, calm waters and year-round sunshine the Caribbean is understandably a popular holiday destination. This heavenly corner of the American continent beckons – the lure of lazy days on the beach soaking up the sun, opportunities for diving and enjoying well-earned rest in some of the world's best hotels.
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Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the charismatic rogue pirate in the film series stole our hearts with his rum-swigging antics. Many of his swashbuckling scenes were shot against the stunning backdrop of the Caribbean. When we could divert our eyes from Captain Sparrow or, indeed, the more reserved Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), we were completely charmed by the scenic surroundings. The films captured the spirit of the idyllic islands: tiny coastal towns where past and present fuse together, and where the ancient maritime spirit still runs deep.
Begin your Caribbean break in the Bahamas, a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays and islets. Its capital, Nassau, spans most of New Providence Island and has a colourful history. Once a pirate hotspot, it was later home to free slaves and rum bootleggers. Although stories of its privateer past are still recounted, nowadays the Bahamas are better known for their spectacular beauty.
Follow in the cast’s footsteps and head south to Grand Bahama Island, then to White Cay, where the second film Dead Man’s Chest was shot in 2006. A short 35 minute hop by plane from Miami, White Cay has some of the world’s clearest waters and is abundant with seemingly endless stretches of white beach and fabulous coral reefs.
Dominica, the most northern of the Windward Islands, claims to have one of the world's largest undiscovered hoards of treasure. Apart from its mysterious stash of jewels, the island also boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean. Home to colourful coral reefs inhabited by sea tortoises, it is rated highly for its diving spots. Captain Jack Sparrow’s beloved Black Pearl ship was anchored in the island’s Prince Rupert Bay.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies to the west of Barbados. These idyllic isles might be the closest you'll ever get to a deserted island. Exclusive and blissfully tranquil, one of the islands in the archipelago is Mustique, a firm favourite with celebrities and royals.
For film buffs that fancy going on location elsewhere, the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Oahu are worth checking out. They provide the scenery for Jurassic Park, Lost and the most recent of the Pirates films, In Mysterious Tides.
Here are our hotel recommendations:
Grand Bahama Island
Old Bahama Bay Resort www.oldbahamabay.com/
Fort Young Hotel www.fortyounghotel.com
Jungles Bay Resort and Spa www.junglebaydominica.com
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
Young Island Resort www.youngisland.com
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