HomeBlogPirates in the Cayman Islands (And Blackbeard’s Treasure)

Pirates in the Cayman Islands (And Blackbeard’s Treasure)

May 18

Written By Morritt's


Pirates in the Cayman Islands (And Blackbeard’s Treasure)

The Caribbean in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century was thick with pirates. They took advantage of the fact that the Spanish treasure ships laden with gold and silver from the New World would pass by the Cayman Islands on the way back home. With an abundance of fresh water, willing sailors, wood and excellent turtle meat, our islands were also a great base for the pirates to rest, repair, roister and possibly bury their treasure. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous to tread these shores.


Edward Teach (Blackbeard)

Englishman Teach was the archetypal pirate: captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, master of 300 sailors and inclined towards theatrics. His long beard was said to be tied in pigtails and contain ribbons, while slow-burning fuses woven into his hair gave him a literally smoking appearance. With his coloured silks, velvet clothes and his multiple guns, he passed by Grand Cayman in the early 1700s and seized a small turtling vessel.

Legend has it that he may also have buried a part of his treasure on Cayman Brac at a place known today as the Treasure Pit. At the east end of Southside Road East, you can follow a rough trail through sea grape and over limestone rocks to an outcrop featuring a small hole. Someone once carved a skull here – as a marker? A few minutes further along the path brings you to a basin of rainwater and a rock overhang where, around 50 years ago, a local man dug and found a stone slab. He dutifully reported this to the governor, who very shortly afterwards left the island. With his pockets full? We couldn’t say.


George Lowther

Another Englishman, Lowther worked as second mate on a slave ship before graduating into piracy as captain of the Happy Delivery. His tactic was to ram ships and then board them for looting and general violence. Afterwards, his crew would burn the ship if they felt like it. Near Grand Cayman, he got into a battle with a ship called the Greyhound and apparently killed the whole crew. His fate is unknown. Some say he shot himself rather than be captured by the British navy, but others claimed he escaped.


Edward Low

Low (or Lowe) learned his craft from Lowther, whom he served for a while as first mate before going into business as a pirate. He plied the waters around Grand Cayman and captured more than a hundred ships in his career, burning most of them. Low was particularly bloodthirsty, with a reputation for torturing and killing his victims in imaginative ways. A French cook he burned alive. More traditionally, he hacked 57 Spaniards to death with his cutlass. One historian described him as “a psychopath with a history filled with mutilations, disembowelings, decapitations, and slaughter.” Did he die in a storm, or retire to Brazil? Nobody is quite sure.


Big Black Dick

Believed to have been an African royal, Dick was enslaved by the French who gave him the name Richard le Noir. He did not take kindly to his slavery and was thrown overboard near Grand Cayman, where he became adept at making rum and cigars. Discarding his French name, he restyled himself Big Black Dick and set sail on the three-masted, 20-cannon Caymanus with a crew of 200. In his tight purple-velvet coat and four pistols, he was a striking figure whose nickname was evidently based on prodigious personal dimensions. Unlike other pirates, he retired into relative tranquillity making his rum and cigars. You can enjoy his legacy today in the rum that bears his name.


Pirates Week

In celebration of our maritime history, the Cayman Islands hosts an annual Pirates Week Festival every November. It has become the country’s largest celebration, attracting around 35,000 people and featuring the mock Pirate Invasion from the sea. At the last count, there were 32 different events including street dances, heritage days, a float parade and landing pageant, firework shows, a song contest, swim meets, a darts tournament, a steel band competition, a kids fun day, two teen music nights, an underwater treasure hunt and two running races. If Blackbeard were around today, he’d probably say “Aaaaarrrrgggggh.”

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Caribbean Wildlife: Creatures of the Cayman Islands

For only having 100 square miles across all three islands, Cayman is home to an impressive variety of native wildlife. Whether you’re above or below in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, opportunities to encounter these special creatures in their natural habitats are plentiful. Check out our blog, Things to See and Do Around Morritt’s, for a list of places where you can see and interact with a few of the animals mentioned below.



Did you know that over 200 different species of birds can be found in Cayman? This includes several endemic species, such as the Cayman Parrot (the Islands’ national bird is a beautiful bright green and usually seen in pairs), the Grand Cayman Woodpecker and the Cayman Bananaquit (a small bird boasting a bright yellow chest that is lovingly referred to by locals as a “banana bird”) – to name a few.  

Two of the best places for bird watching is the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Mastic Trail (further details on both can be found in our blog mentioned above). 



There are three types of iguana found in the Cayman Islands: the common green iguana, the rock iguana and the blue iguana. Most iguanas you will see in Cayman are the green iguanas, however they are considered an invasive species. The protected rock iguanas reside on the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Blue iguanas can most easily be found at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, which runs a conservation programme for the endangered reptile. 



No trip to Cayman would be complete without visiting Stingray City! Wild Southern Stingrays are plentiful in this area of the North Sound, where you can easily stand thanks to a natural sandbar. Tour boats depart daily to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to interact with these gentle creatures – and legend has it that a kiss on one of their noses will bring you seven years of good luck! 



Much like the iguanas, Cayman is also home to three species of turtle: the green, loggerhead and hawksbill. Some of these can be seen diving or snorkelling around the Islands, and if you’re lucky enough you might happen upon a nesting female during a beach walk or a group of hatching babies making their way from the beach to the sea. Guaranteed sightings and encounters can be found at the Cayman Turtle Centrean attraction showcasing these magnificent creatures that also includes a research and conservation centre. 

December 22

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Grand Cayman Hidden Gems

Whether you’re a long-time Cayman visitor or someone thinking about spending more time here, there are so many things to do beyond the great places to eat, swim, sunbathe and relax. Here, we’ve gathered a few of our favourites that you may or may not know.

Starfish Point

You’ll find this curious and isolated beach on the north side of Grand Cayman at the western extremity of Rum Point. The sea here is wonderfully clear and great for snorkeling, but the real attractions are the many red cushion sea stars that feed in the shallows. With ample parking, it’s an ideal place for a picnic and to watch the sunset but there’s little else there. Don’t expect bars or cafes. (If sea-life is your thing, you might also consider the more popular Stingray City, a series of shallow sandbars near George Town where you can swim with and pet stingrays.)

Bioluminescent Bay

See the swirling otherworldly colours as you move your hands through the water and imagine yourself in a science-fiction alternate reality. The magical bioluminescence at Rum Point is best seen when snorkeling at night as part of a boat or kayak tour that can also involve an astronomy element and an introduction to the starfish. We have several companies that depart from Kaibo, Starfish point or Rum point – and our local team can help you plan your bioluminescent adventure!

Cayman Farmer’s Market

The Hamlin Stephenson farmers’ market at the Cricket Square in George Town (Mon-Sat) is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts, pastries, juices, sauces, preserves and other goods from Cayman’s farmers and craftspeople. Visit to discover freshly made lemonade, cassava cakes, coconut bread, scented candles, peppermint foot scrub, towels, hand-made jewellery, smoothies and houseplants among many other treats. Perfect for sourcing local ingredients or buying presents and souvenirs. See a list of vendors here.

The Mission House

Built in the 1700s, this historic structure is one of Cayman’s oldest buildings and once housed Presbyterian missionaries. You can take a tour to walk in the footsteps of early settlers, see a collection of interesting artifacts and learn how the building’s residents lived in the 1800s. The gift shop on-site offers the opportunity to buy souvenirs (all proceeds to the National Trust) and you should also look out for the traditional cooking and craft classes held here twice monthly. HOURS: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday: 11am-4pm. ADDRESS: Gun Square Road, Bodden Town. TEL: +1 345-945-3769

The 1981 Brewery and Tap Room

1981 may have been a year known for the emergence of electronic pop music, but that has nothing to do with the brewery named for the nautical co-ordinates of the Cayman Islands and famous for its craft beers: Cayman Blonde, Island Session and Tropical IPA. You can take a tour of the brewery and visit the tap room to sample some of the brews straight from the source. HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday: 3pm-7pm; Friday: 3pm-8pm; Saturday: 12pm-5pm; Sunday: Closed. ADDRESS: 273 Dorcy Drive, George Town, Grand Cayman. TEL: +1 345-945-0440

Cayman Cigar Company

Created to revive the art of handcrafting premium cigars, the company uses only the finest hand-selected boutique tobaccos sourced from passionate growers using organic, sustainable farming practices. Master Roller Barbara Garcia oversees the creation of premium smokes. Unusually, this is a non-profit organisation, with 100% of net profits going back into the island through charitable donations. To book a private cigar rolling event, schedule a tour of Beacon Farms or ask questions about how to roll or store fine cigars, contact the company directly: info@caymancigars.com. TEL: +1 345-946-2447

The Mastic Trail

Fancy a walk? The Mastic Trail is a 7.4km (4.6-mile) round-trip trail near Bodden Town and should take 2-3 hours. Expect to see beautiful wildflowers, small lizards, butterflies, crabs, snakes (non-venomous), parrots and woodpeckers, as well as a variety of trees, including a fine mastic tree after which the track is named. The route may not be suitable for the elderly or very young, and you’ll need solid shoes to negotiate the odd root or craggy volcanic rock. Guided tours are scheduled Tuesday and Thursday mornings by reservation via the National Trust website.

Pure Art Gallery

A centre of local art and island-style gifts for almost thirty years, this Cayman cottage just south of George Town offers Caymanian paintings, prints, jewellery, handmade crafts, gifts and more. Great for presents or just to treat yourself because, well, you deserve it! You’ll also find housewares and tempting treats such as pepper jelly, jams, hot sauces, spices, Cayman sea salt, Tortuga rum cake and Cayman coffee. HOURS: Monday and Tuesday 9am-4pm; Wednesday: closed; Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday: closed. ADDRESS: South Church Street, South Sound, Grand Cayman. TEL: 345-949-9133

Pony Park

What do kids love more than ingesting vast quantities of sugar? Petting cute animals! In the Pony Park, children can meet Lulu the donkey, Pebbles the miniature horse, bunny rabbits and goats – all of which love to be petted. You can also book the park for birthday parties. Entry fee: $5 per child (including pony ride). HOURS: Saturday mornings 9:00am to 10:30am. ADDRESS: Halfway Pond, just off the Linford Pierson Highway. TEL: 345-516-1751


Was there anything there that that you’ve not experienced? If so, let us know your recommendations to get the best of Cayman. We’re always looking for insider tips!

April 1

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