Follow in the footsteps of the famous pirates of the Caribbean
Discover the stories of famous pirates and walk in their footsteps while on vacation in the Caribbean
Ahoy mateys! The Caribbean is known for its white sand beaches, golden sunshine, and luxurious hotels. But, did you know it is also the stomping ground for some of the most famous pirates in history? From Aruba to the Dominican Republic the Caribbean swashbuckling buccaneers plundered, pillaged, and left their mark on the region's history. So, let’s set sail and embark on an adventure of a lifetime to discover the real pirates of the Caribbean.
Why did the famous pirates love the Caribbean so much?
Not only is the Caribbean home to delicious rum stocks, but it also provided the ideal hideaway for pirates during the golden age of piracy. The picture-perfect islands dotted the ocean for as far as the eye can see and the conveniently secluded bays meant that many pirates could rest and restock their ships far away from watching eyes. The most famous pirates made these shores their home and today, it is possible to see the remains of this bygone era while enjoying a warm vacation in the sun.
Historical pirates and the golden age of piracy
Between the 1650s and the 1700s, the names of famous pirates were known from coast to coast, especially in the Caribbean. Piracy rose out of a conflict for resources and power between the rival European maritime forces at the time. The famous pirates often originated from Wales, England, Holland, Ireland, France, and Spain and it was not uncommon for these pirates to come from impoverished backgrounds. The idea of escaping overcrowded, disease-ridden cities for a taste of power, adventure, and quick riches was all too appealing for many. And, with the consequences of war too much to bear, the golden age of piracy took hold of the Caribbean and beyond. Discover the stories of the famous pirates and follow in their footsteps on your next Caribbean vacation.
Pirate boats were not an uncommon sight in the Caribbean back in the day
Blackbeard the famous pirate and his love of the Dominican Republic
When you ask yourself, “Who were the most famous pirates”, you are likely to think of Blackbeard. Blackbeard’s history is one of excitement and bloodthirsty battles on land and on the sea. Originally known as Edward Teach (also spelt Thatch), Blackbeard goes down in history as one of the most fearsome pirates of all time. Along with the Welsh pirate, Henry Morgan, and Scottish pirate Captain Kidd, Blackbeard spent a lot of time in the Dominican Republic, a hotbed of piracy at the time.
Blackbeard goes down in history as one of the most fearsome pirates of all time
If you are staying in the Dominican Republic, head to the historic Port of Santo Domingo, a strategic spot for piracy back in the day but now a historic fort buzzing with local culture. Those enjoying an all-inclusive vacation to Punta Cana can hop to the neighbouring island of Saona. Not only is this beautiful island a paradise for snorkelers but it is also said to be the hiding place for Captain Kidd’s treasure. Santo Domingo’s Museum of the Royal Houses is also a recommended visit for pirate enthusiasts. It offers an in-depth look at the island’s history while offering visitors specific exhibits dedicated to the famous pirates of the region
Saona Island, the hiding place for Captain Kidd’s treasure
Discover the life of Captain William Kidd, a famous pirate who spent a lot of time in Aruba
Aruba, back in the day, was a popular stopover for pirates on their way to the Spanish Main, the region of South America that was controlled by Spain. Captain William Kidd, called Aruba home for many years and was notorious for his brutality- just one of the things that led to his execution. However, rumour has it that his loot is still buried beneath the sunbaked golden sand of Aruba’s beaches. If you are planning an all-inclusive escape to Aruba, head to Palm Beach, a popular resting spot for famous pirates.
If you are planning an all-inclusive escape to Aruba, head to Palm Beach, a popular resting spot for famous pirates
In between soaking up the sun, a trip to California Lighthouse will prove to be well worth a visit for pirate fans. Although it was built in 1914, it can still give you an idea of what it would have been like to see the most famous pirate ships from the stunningly beautiful Aruba coastline. The Aruba Historical Museum should also be added to your list. Here you can discover Aruba’s role in the golden age of piracy as well as discover the other famous pirates who used the island’s secluded coves to hide their bounty.
The views from the California Lighthouse are just like the ones viewed by famous pirates in Aruba
François l'Olonnais, one of the real famous pirates to roam the shores of Cuba
When visiting Cuba, the idea of famous pirates roaming the idyllic shores in search of treasure and adventure may seem like a far-fetched daydream. But, back in the days of piracy, it was very much a reality. One of the famous pirates to call Cuba home was François l'Olonnais who was also known as “The Bane of the Spanish” as he was rumoured to eat the heart of his enemies. The island was also not foreign to the likes of Blackbeard who often stopped here en route to other destinations. Havana was the epicentre of the piracy world back in the day with François l'Olonnais reportedly attacking the city in 1668, and Blackbeard visiting the city during his infamous blockade of Charleston, South Carolina in 1718. When in Havana stop by the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a historic fort that François l’Ólonnais once captured. And if that is not enough to satisfy your craving for treasure and adventure, head to Morro Castle, one of Cuba’s famous pirate treasures, and a historic fortress at the entrance to Havana harbour. This landmark is debated to have been captured by Blackbeard in 1718.
Morro Castle in Havana is one of Cuba’s most celebrated pirate treasures
Jean Lafitte, one of the famous Caribbean pirates to call the Yucatan Peninsula home
If you are planning a vacation in Cancún, there is more to enjoy than endless sunshine and delicious Mexican food. This was a popular spot for famous pirates back in the golden age of piracy, especially for the French-American pirate, Jean Lafitte, one of the most famous pirates in American history. The neighbouring island of Isla Mujeres was often used as a base for his operations, yet his influence stretched far and wide.
Today, visitors to Cancún can immerse themselves in the swashbuckling stories of the famous pirates
Today, visitors to Cancún can immerse themselves in the swashbuckling stories of the famous pirates with a trip to the Museo de la Piratería (the Museum of Piracy) which houses an entertaining array of pirate-themed artefacts and displays. Xcaret Park also puts on an opulent display of Mexico’s piracy history including a recreation of a traditional Mexican hacienda, which is said to have been used by Jean Lafitte as a base of operations. The bohemian-chic town of Tulum was once an important trading centre for pirates in the region. And, the island of Cozumel with its crystalline waters and beaches that rival computer screensavers was also a buzzing hub of piracy and pillaging.
Discover the piracy displays hosted at Xcaret Park, Cancún
Famous pirate stories to inspire your next adventure
The story of piracy in the Caribbean is a long and colourful affair. It offers a glimpse into the region’s exciting and bloodthirsty past, and seeing the Caribbean through the eyes of swashbuckling buccaneers allows us to enjoy our vacation from a fresh perspective. There are many famous pirates who called the Caribbean home and the famous pirate list tells us that the golden beaches and warm, clear ocean were just as tempting then as they are now. So, if you are planning a trip to the Caribbean, you are in store for a real treasure. Just remember, X, marks the spot!