8 holiday hot spots for serious treasure hunters

Check out the places you can visit in Santa Fe

(Tourism Santa Fe)

Of pirates, who left behind buried loot to gold miners whose legendary stash was never discovered, there are plenty of mysteries out there about money, gold, and various treasure yet to be found.

The legends are inspired by a variety of new TV shows, such as “The Curse of Oak Island” and “the Legend of the Superstitions” on the History Channel. Now the tourists flock to these locations, looking for lost treasures.

Book a trip to one of these locations is steeped in gilded history. Who knows? You should leave your vacation with a little something extra in your pockets.

  • 1.

    Oak Island, Nova Scotia

    (C) Prometheus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

    Oak Island in Nova Scotia, located on the Eastern edge of Canada, is an easily accessible and strategic location for the explorers from Europe and beyond. Legend loves all kinds of discoveries from ancient religious artifacts from the knights Templar to pirate booty and even Aztec gold.

    In 1795, a teenager found a circular depression in the ground and began to dig in layers of the logs that indicated a deeper pit, now called the “money pit,” and possibly the site of buried pirate booty. Treasure hunters say later that they discovered on a stone, which indicates that 2 million pound had been buried 40 feet below.

    The flooding in the area made the search impossible until modern day treasure hunters started the chase in earnest again as documented on an episode of History’s “the Curse of Oak Island.”

    This hunt does not come without risk, though, as six people have died in search of the island of the secrets. Oak Island is now privately owned, but offers guided tours.

  • 2.

    Axum, Ethiopia

    Cox & Kings

    The Ark of the Covenant disappeared at the time, but one church in Ethiopia claims to have the real thing.

    See it for yourself and decide whether you believe the reality of the true artifact on Cox & Kings’ Northern Ethiopia: The Historic Route.

    Rumored to have once held the Ten Commandments (that Ethiopian Christians are still in today), the rod of Aaron, and a piece of the manna from the desert delivered by God to the people of Moses in the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant is said to be stored in the 4th Century, the Cathedral of Tsion Maryam in the small town of Axum.

    The Cathedral also claims to be the palace of the Biblical figure of the Queen of Sheba and home to a field of carved monoliths rumored to have been built before the birth of Christianity.

  • 3.

    Kanab (Utah)

    Utah Office of Tourism

    Does Utah hold the famous Montezuma’s gold, a long-lost treasure of the Aztecs?

    Many believe that the state and those who have been searching for this elusive treasure reportedly worth $3 billion.

    In 1914, Freddie Crystal arrived in Kanab, Utah with maps that purpotedtly shown with the location of the wealth. In the 1920s, he discovered the tunnels in Johnson Canyon, which he thought was a temporary holding place for the treasure. But Crystal — and the cards — mysteriously disappeared, after the find was reported.

    In 1998, a symbol of the Aztecs was found in the vicinity of the Three Lakes pond, re-igniting the search, but dive, radar detection and drilling has still not proof.

    Take caution on your search, such as the myth is associated with lots of bad luck, including illness, ghosts, disappearances, and even death.

  • 4.

    Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

    Peter Island Resort & Spa

    Through the years, pirates all over the world have stolen their share of the loot– and left enough behind. But how does a modern day treasure hunter? You may have luck in the Caribbean, especially on Peter Island, a luxury resort, part of the British virgin islands.

    The 1800 acre island, recognized by the ancient inhabitants to be the most likely place to find buried pirate treasure, was a favourite pirate hideout. The Deadman’s Beach is named after the dead pirates washed ashore after being abandoned by Blackbeard on a nearby Dead Chest Island.

    Another added mystery: two rival tobacco plantation owners are also rumored to have hidden for their weal and woe of each other on the island back in the 1800s. Who knows? While building sand castles, you might just come across a treasure chest or piles of the old time is money.

  • 5.

    Crystal Coast, North Carolina

    Crystal Coast Tourism Authority

    Speaking of Blackbeard (whose real name is Edward Teach), one of the most famous pirates spent enough time off the coast of North Carolina with his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran aground near Beaufort, North Carolina.

    While the contents are now safely stored at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, with its legendary long-lost treasure has yet to be found.

    According to Teach’s Hole, an exhibition and shop dedicated to the pirate at Ocracoke Island, the sites of “Learning of the Oak” in the vicinity of Oriental, the “Holiday Island” in the Chowan River, “The Old brick House” near Elizabeth City, and the southern end of Ocracoke Island are the rumours of the locations where he may have buried his wealth.

    Bring your metal detector and have a go.

  • 6.

    The Coast Of Louisiana

    Maude Buszek

    People from Louisiana believes that another famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, buried his treasures somewhere in the bayou. The pirate and his band of buccaneers, who used to hide out along the waterways in the vicinity of Lake Charles and all along the coast, are rumored to have buried a stash of silver and gold somewhere along the Contraband Bayou, which connects to the lake.

    Another legend in the possession of the treasure is under a giant live oaks on Jefferson Island, an area that now houses the home and garden. There are stories of gold coins, doubloons and even a chest discovered in the whole area.

    Even if you don’t stumble across the treasure, you can still visit the Contraband Days Festival held in the spring with a re-enactment of Lafitte to take over the city and forcing the mayor “walk the plank.”

  • 7.

    Superstition Mountains, Mesa, Arizona

    Jerome Maillet

    “The legend of the Superstition Mountains” of the History Channel and follows the adventure and lore behind a group and are looking for the lost treasure of Jacob Waltz, also known as the “lost Dutchman.”

    Waltz discovered a rich gold ore mine in the 1800s, but the knowledge of the exact location died with him in 1891.

    Many others, including the Peralta family, have searched for this elusive treasure since then, stumbling upon clues, but never my self. Visitors can camp, hike or horse ride in the Superstition Wilderness Area and stop at the Superstition Mountain Museum, which holds many of the clues to the mine, including the Peralta stone and various cards.

    But legends never die, and modern prospectors are still hunting the lost treasure.

  • 8.

    Santa Fe, Mexico

    Tourism Santa Fe

    For a modern twist on treasure hunting adventurers may want to hunt for a bronze chest filled with $1 to $3 million worth of gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry and precious stones.

    Hidden in 2010 by Santa Fe art dealer Forrest Fenn, the location of the chest is revealed in the clues from a poem, “The Today Show” in several interviews and in a book. Apparently, it is hidden in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, more than 5000 meters above sea level, the treasure is wet and not in a my, a structure, or a cemetery. Can you piece together the clues and solve the mystery?

  • Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. She is the author of The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass. You can find her on or on Twitter via @GotoTravelGal.

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