When the cast and crew of the upcoming, unnamed 25th James Bond film gathered at Ian Fleming’s villa at GoldenEye resort in Oracabessa, it signaled the start of something exciting for Jamaica. For the first time since 1973’s Live and Let Die, James Bond was returning to the island, not just for a ceremonial announcement, but as a setting.
As Jamaica Film Commissioner Renée Robinson explained following April’s GoldenEye festivities: “Jamaica is the home of James Bond. This is where it started. All the books were written here. We’re ready to bring Bond back home. This is a big deal.”
For Bond 25, the spotlight will be on Port Antonio, where “a significant portion of the new movie will be filmed.” Whereas Port Antonio was once known as “Jamaica’s best kept secret,” Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says 007 will put an end to that.
“That secret is out… and out in a big way. You don’t get much bigger than James Bond — one of the greatest movie franchises ever — and we all know the love affair its founder, Ian Fleming, had with Jamaica over the years.”
Among the most exciting aspects of Bond movies are the exotic filming locations, as fans travel with 007 on the big screen and watch as he saves the world. But why stop there? Here are island filming locations from the entire franchise, from Bond’s “home” to the beautiful beaches of Sardinia.
Dr. No — Jamaica
Before you schedule a boat excursion, you should know the titular villain’s exclusive private island, Crab Key, doesn’t exist. Some of Bond’s debut adventures took place in Kingston, but Dr. No’s secret lair was a composite of several scenic locations, including Dunn’s River Falls near Ocho Rios.
The beach at Laughing Waters was the setting for arguably the most famous scene in Bond history, when Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) emerged from the ocean. That’s why it’s now also known as Crab Key Beach.
Thunderball — Paradise Island, Bahamas
Long before Nassau was a tourist destination, and even before the island had a bridge, a Bond villain named Largo called Hog Island home. As the story goes, the owner of Hog Island changed its name to Paradise Island and eventually allowed Bond producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to film Thunderball on his section of the island, which is now home to The Atlantis resort. His wife just so happened to land a small role in the film, including a quick dance with Sean Connery.
Fans can visit Clifton Pier in Nassau Harbour or hire a tour guide, like Cheryl’s Bahamas Taxi and Tours, to swing by the Rock Point villa that served as Largo’s Palmyra lair. But diehard Bond fans will want to take a dip in Thunderball Grotto and then schedule the “James Bond Wrecks” dive package with Stuart Cove to check out the remains of Thunderball‘s Avro Vulcan bomber.
Live and Let Die — Jamaica
Just as Dr. No‘s Crab Key was made up of various spots in Jamaica, so was Live and Let Die‘s imaginary setting of San Monique. To experience the home of Baron Samedi, fans can stay at Couples San Souci in Ocho Rios, which served as a hotel and nightclub in the 1973 film. Then, head to Jamaica’s north coast and take a tour of the Green Grotto Caves, where Roger Moore’s Bond took out the evil Doctor Kananga.
The film’s Louisiana crocodile farm was actually located in Falmouth, Jamaica, and is known today as the Jamaica Swamp Safari Village. Guests can visit this wildlife preserve and see more than 150 American crocodiles, and even hear the story of how the first owner, Ross Kananga, ran across his crocs for the film’s unforgettable stunt.
The Spy Who Loved Me — Sardinia, Italy
Located on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, Hotel Cala di Volpe served briefly as Bond’s accommodations, before he took on Karl Stromberg in Atlantis. Bond fans looking to stay in the spy’s spacious suite will be disappointed to know it can’t be reserved, because his room was actually the hotel bar.
Set out from this hotel to recreate the route of the film’s legendary car chase scene (at safe speeds, of course). Good luck finding a Lotus Esprit, though. A better idea is simply relaxing on nearby Romazzina beach, where Bond’s car came ashore.
For Your Eyes Only — Corfu, Greece
Greece’s Corfu Island was featured prominently in this 1981 film, from Corfu Harbour to the Achilleion’s casino. The small village of Pagoi won’t offer much adventure and excitement, but Bond fans will want to stop by the appropriately-named Spyros Bond 007 Cafe Bar, where the walls are adorned with autographed photos of Roger Moore and his For Your Eyes Only co-star, Carole Bouquet, as well as other Bond actors.
Fans can also grab some loungers and umbrellas at Issos Beach, where the film’s dune buggy chase was filmed.
License to Kill — Key West and Isla Mujeres
Famed Mexican diver and filmmaker Ramon Bravo directed the underwater scenes for this 1989 Timothy Dalton entry, filmed in Isla Mujeres. Dive companies like Carey Dive Center and Poc Na Dive Center offer trips to Manchones National Park, where the Cross of the Bay statue serves as an underwater tribute to the late Bravo.
Bond fans can stay dry in Key West by visiting Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, where Felix Leiter’s wedding took place. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is already a must-see for tourists, but it is also the place where Bond’s license to kill was revoked.
GoldenEye — Arecibo, Puerto Rico
In this 1995 film, the Arecibo Observatory was portrayed as an antenna hidden underwater in Cuba, but in reality it is located in the Puerto Rican municipality of the same name. Fans can take a VIP tour of the observatory, but don’t get your hopes up for a view like 006 and 007 had in the film’s climactic fight.
Instead, leave the observatory and head to one of the local beaches, like Los Morillos or Las Tunas, and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
Casino Royale — Nassau, Bahamas
Sean Connery reportedly loved filming Thunderball in the Bahamas so much that he bought a home in Lyford Cay, and became a lunchtime regular at One&Only Ocean Club. When Daniel Craig took over as 007 with 2006’s Casino Royale, it was only fitting that the franchise returned to its Caribbean roots and paid tribute to its first star by filming the poker scenes at this resort, where Craig’s Bond made Villa 1085 a popular accommodation.
The resort became a Four Seasons property in 2017 and was renamed, simply, The Ocean Club. The villas are still available at quite the price, but visitors can make reservations for lunch or dinner at Dune and check out the resort’s Versailles Gardens that were also featured in the film.