If you’re a scary movie buff, why not plan your next vacation around getting a little bit of a fright? These adventures at 6 haunted historical spots — be they spooky, macabre, or just plain weird – will delight anyone who loves a bit of a thrill.
A Haunted Hotel
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Scare: Before Hotel El Convento was a glam four-star hotel, it was a 15th century convent. Legend has it that ghostly nuns, including the Mother Superior, Dona Ana de Lansos Menendez de Valdez, still roam the halls and startle unsuspecting guests — and you can still hear the swishing of their robes.
How to See It: Soak up full architectural mix of San Juan — neoclassical, Art Deco and colonial — during the Old and New San Juan City Tour. You’ll get a feel for the place, and there’s still enough free time on the schedule for brave souls to check out the hotel.
The Wicked Witch
The Scare: Brave a visit to Rose Hall, a sprawling, unoccupied estate, and you might just have a run-in with the ghost of Annie Palmer. A beautiful Irish-English woman who learned voodoo as a child from her Haitian nanny, Palmer was known as “the White Witch of Rose Hall” for her cruelty to slaves and penchant for murdering her wealthy husbands.
Ancient Ruins With a Dark Side
The Scare: Now a Wonder of the World, the Chichén Itzá ruins have a long (and somewhat bloody) history. The 6-square-mile Mayan site has several hundred buildings, including a ball court that has ancient drawings of losing teams being sacrificed, and a sacred Cenote (sinkhole) where human sacrifices may have been made. It’s a safe assumption some unhappy spirits remain there.
The Scare: The spirit of infamous pirate Blackbeard supposedly stalks the remains of Old Fort Nassau, his destroyed former stomping ground. Blackbeard was a notorious guy — reportedly he would light his signature black beard on fire during battles to intimidate his enemies, and he and his crew were known for their cruelty. (So if you see him, maybe turn around and run the other way?)
How to See It: See the historic forts of Nassau during your jam-packed day on the Discover Nassau Land and Sea tour, three hours of historical sightseeing that concludes at the world-famous Atlantis Paradise Island.
Key West, Florida
The Scare: Take a creepy ride on the “Trolley of the Doomed,” then get the willies at Martello Tower, a Civil War fort haunted by the ghosts of wounded soldiers. There you’ll also find Robert — the world’s most haunted doll and inspiration for the Chucky movies. Is there anything more terrifying?
Dungeon of Doom
Charleston, South Carolina
The Scare: Venture to the depths of pre-Revolutionary Provost Dungeon and sense the restless spirits of pirates and turncoats who were imprisoned by the British. Then watch for paranormal activity in Charleston’s oldest graveyard, located at Circular Congregational Church. Wind down with a glass of wine at Bocci’s, an Italian spot rumored to have a haunted third floor.
How To See It: The 2-hour Haunted Charleston tour is a bone-chilling exploration of the city’s Historic District and its rich heritage of Lowcountry superstitions.