Explore the Real Pirates of the Caribbean, Barbados

Destination Barbados

A Self-Guided Adventure of Barbados, Pirates of the Caribbean

I stowed away on the first fishing vessel I could find that was headed to Barbados. My uncle lives there.Timothy Hawk to Jack Sparrow

We all know the multi-million dollar movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s no secret that pirate legend is fascinating. There’s something incredibly sensational about dirty, foul-smelling sea fairing badasses with swords and gold. Maybe it goes back to Captain Hook and Peter Pan, or maybe it’s just the thrill of the adventure. At any rate, pirates are cool and being the Fairytale Traveler that I am, I set on a mission to start locating important places in pirate history. What better place to start than with the Pirates of the Caribbean. This brings us to Barbados where you can explore the history of the Pirates of the Caribbean, the heritage of Barbadians during the Golden Age of Piracy, visit the shores that were once pirate territory and even sail the waters that these infamous villains once thieved upon.

The lovely Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The lovely Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

A Pirate of the Caribbean adventure is a great vacation excursion for anyone in the family. Not to mention this is a perfect time of year to get flights to Barbados. My favorite budget-friendly airline is Thomas Cook Airlines. They are running killer deals on flights to Barbados all summer long.

The Pirates of the Caribbean in Barbados

A Colonial map of Barbados. Much like a pirate map. You can even see a little ship on here. Sweet.

A Colonial map of Barbados. Much like a pirate map. You can even see a little ship on here. Sweet.

Now Barbados was home to two island buccaneers and a stopping ground for many others. Sam Lord and Stede Bonnet, each with their own special legend that I of course will share with you. Another notable would be the legendary Blackbeard.

The legend of Sam Lord goes that he would hang lanterns in coconut trees in front of his castle. This would guide ships to wreck in the reefs where he would then siege the ships, their gold, and do lord knows what with their crew. Talk about an opportunist! Stede Bonnet, also known as the “Pirate Gentleman” was the black sheep of pirates. He actually purchased his own pirate ship the “Revenge” that he sailed up the eastern seaboard to New England. He used the Revenge to capture and burn several ships before making his way back to the Caribbean where he paired up with the most notorious of all pirates, Blackbeard.

Things to do in Barbados, History and Heritage

Sam Lord’s Castle, Saint Philip Parish

The now in ruins Sam Lord's Castle, home to the infamous pirate Sam Lord.

The now in ruins Sam Lord’s Castle, home to the infamous pirate Sam Lord.

This Georgian mansion was built by Sam Lord in 1820. In its later years, it became a hotel but was sadly destroyed by fire in 2010 and is now closed. You can visit the secluded beach where Sam Lord would hang his lanterns right in front of the property. It was here that he would guide ships to wrecking.

The Barbados Museum, St. Michael Parish

In the Barbados Museum

In the Barbados Museum

The Barbados Museum & Historical Society is in St. Michael. Here you can view a rare collection of historical maps of the island. The kind that pirates would use! It boasts a range of galleries including a children’s gallery.

Tyrol Cot Heritage Village, St. Michael Parish

One of the huts at the Tyrol Cot heritage Village.

One of the huts at the Tyrol Cot Heritage Village.

This living museum is made up of a number of Chattel Houses with traditional craftsmen and artists. You can buy leather goods, ceramics, pottery, clothing, and art, made just as if it were done in the 19th century. This is a great way to explore the heritage of Barbadians and get an idea of what is was like to be in Barbados during the Golden Age of Piracy. It even has a traditional ‘Rum Shop’ that serves cakes, fish, and sandwiches. Oh and Cockspur Rum of course!

Arlington House Museum, Speightstown

This 18th-century house is an interactive three-story museum that covers the history, people, and economy of Barbados. It also highlights the importance of Speightstown as a leading port and trade hub. A popular place with the pirates.

Things to do in Barbados, Beaches and Sea Things

Harrismith Beach, St. Philip Parish

Harrismith Beach near Sam Lord's Castle by the sea.

Harrismith Beach near Sam Lord’s Castle by the sea.

A very secluded and less popular beach near Sam Lord’s Castle where you can imagine yourself during pirate times. This place just looks like a pirate adventure waiting to unravel. It’s also a perfect ‘Mermaid Beach’. Those of you who are familiar with my Mermaid Beach series will love this spot (Mermaid Beaches are the most amazing, untouched and unspoiled coastlines in the world, the kind where you may find a mermaid or two).

Ragged Point and Culpepper Island, St. Philip Parish

The lighthouse at Ragged Point.

The lighthouse at Ragged Point.

This is a dangerous place to swim but a stunning view of the most eastern point of Barbados. There is a lighthouse here as well. A fun way to take in the pirate scene on this Caribbean island. When the tide is low, however, you can swim to Culpepper Island (in view), an uninhabited island just off the coast. It is still a cautionary jaunt, and you should be very careful of currents here.

Culpepper Island off Ragged Point on the southeast point.

Culpepper Island off Ragged Point on the southeast point.

Animal Flowers Cave, St. Lucy Parish

Inside Animal Flower Cave.

Inside Animal Flower Cave.

This place gets its name from sea anemones that live inside the pools of the cave, some of which are deep enough for you to swim in. To look out into the sea from a spot like this is simply stunning. Do you think the notorious pirates of Barbados ever took to hiding in here? Inside the walls of the cave, there are beautiful colors from oxidation. Truly a unique spot to enjoy.

Outside of the Animal Flower Cave on the northeast coast.

Outside of the Animal Flower Cave on the northeast coast.

Sail Like a Pirate

Of course, you knew it was coming, something touristy. Well, if you have kids then you’ll enjoy the Jolly Roger Cruise. Seriously though, it’s a pirate ship, touristy or not that’s just cool. There’s a range of cruise tours to choose from. A great way to end a day of pirate adventure!

Explore Shipwrecks

SS Stavronikita 

Friars Crag

Carlisle Bay


For more information on visiting Barbados, I suggest going to their tourism site here.

A shipwreck at Friars Crag on the west coast.

A shipwreck at Friars Crag on the west coast.

One of the many shipwrecks at Carlisle Bay on the west coast.

One of the many shipwrecks at Carlisle Bay on the west coast.

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

3 Comments on this post

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