Pirate Rock in Wallilabou Bay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The Pirates of the Caribbean rock formation

photography by: David Stanley/ Flickr

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The days when corsairs dominated the Caribbean Sea might be long gone, yet our collective memory of that era is still very much alive and kicking. Whoever wishes for a glimpse of these tumultuous times, should look no further than the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The franchise’s first movie was filmed in multiple locations across the Lesser Antilles, including a scenic bay in the island of St. Vincent, where a natural arch impressively juts out of the dark waters, evoking the recollection of a spine-tingling scene.

Between the 16th century and the 1830’s, the West Indies were infested with pirates who plundered merchant ships, terrorizing trade routes and coastal settlements. While piracy was eventually suppressed by the great naval powers, it left a cultural mark throughout the region.


Over the years, the Caribbean’s storied past inspired books, artworks and perhaps most notably, a slew of films featuring buccaneers. The most famous of which were undoubtedly the Pirates of the Caribbean, a series of five movies that were produced over the span of 15 years. The first among them, “The Curse of the Black Pearl”, was released in 2003, instantly becoming the most successful pirate film in years.


That in turn sparked a worldwide acclaim, with some of the filming locations becoming a pilgrimage site among enthusiastic fans. As the last sequel premiered in 2017, interest has somewhat faded, leaving the scenic sites far less visited.


Stretching along the western coast of Saint Vincent, the largest landmass of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Wallilabou Bay was among the chief spots where the first film was shot. It was here that Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) arrived with his rickety boat on his way to Port Royal in Jamaica, a 17th century haven for pirates.


When the eccentric captain was a short distance away from the shore, he stumbled upon a somewhat gruesome sight – three skeletal remains of his fellow corsairs hanging from a natural arch alongside a wooden sign saying “Pirates Ye Be Warned”.


Following the series’ success, this rock formation gained its current apt moniker – the Pirate Rock, or the Pirates of the Caribbean Rock, and while the faux bones have since been removed, the crag remains evocative for anyone who had the opportunity to watch the movie.


Since the stone bridge is nestled a couple of meters off a steep promontory, its surrounding waters are accessible solely by boat. For those who wish to gaze at the rock from the comforts of the bay’s shoreline, a nearby café offers visitors a viewing platform accompanied by a Pirates of the Caribbean Rock-themed décor.