Port Royal © Amy Roe
Port Royal was once a 17th-century haven for hedonistic pirates and malcontents dedicated to looting Spanish vessels throughout the Caribbean. One morning in 1692, however, an earthquake and tidal wave destroyed most of the town along with a couple of thousand residents. Today, the former haunt of notorious pirates like Henry Morgan, Blackbeard and Calico Jack is just a fishing village, situated at the tip of a narrow peninsula stretching across the entrance to Kingston's harbour.
The village can be reached by ferry from West Beach Dock, Kingston, in about 20 minutes. Plans are underway at the site to transform the village into a living history museum. Relics of the town's wicked past can be seen at the Museum of Historical Archaeology, the Maritime Museum and Giddy House (a building that tilts at an angle). Fort Charles is the last remaining of six forts originally built to protect the port. Guided tours of the British fort are available and apart from seeing the canons and learning the history, a highlight is entering the old prison cells where you can just imagine the pirate prisoners that must once have languished there. There is a restaurant, known for its great seafood, that overlooks the harbour.