The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, though the legend became particularly prominent in the 16th century, when it became attached to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.
Legends tell that everlasting life can be found at the Fountain of Youth, but only those who possess the knowledge of the ancient ritual can achieve their heart's desire.
First, the two silver Chalices of Cartagena must be found, for the ceremony requires not just a seeker of youth but also a victim whose years will be consumed. Both must drink from the Chalices, at which point all the years of the victim's life will be transferred to the seeker.
Whitecap Bay must then be reached, for only here can mermaids still be found. One of these beautiful yet savage creatures must be captured and forced to do the seeker's bidding. Only a mermaid's tear, placed in one of the Chalices, will set the rejuvenating forces to work.
Finally, the Fountain of Youth itself must be reached. Water will flow, with which the Chalices can be filled. The ceremony for immortality can now begin... Aqua de Vida.
While vacationing in Florida, the sights of which are not as interesting to his nephews as their comic book, Donald Duck stumbles across what looks like the legendary Fountain of Youth. But the area had a sign: "This spring was mistaken for the Fountain of Youth by Ponce de Leon 1512". Donald can't resist convincing his nephews that it really works as he supposedly regresses in age, and eventually tricks them into thinking he turned into an egg (which he stole from an alligator).
At the end of the film, Captain Jack Sparrow set off in a small vessel to begin his search for the fabled Fountain of Youth using his compass and the middle section of the navigational charts he stole from Hector Barbossa. On the map, the struggle for eternal youth was symbolized by a tug of war between a skeleton and an angel, aligned with a Chalice.
After two Spanish fisherman found an ancient sailor and brought him to King Ferdinand, they informed the king that the sailor claims to have sailed on Ponce de León's ship. Upon seeing an archaic symbol in a logbook the sailor gave to him, Ferdinand's first thought is that the sailor has found the legendary Fountain of Youth and orders 'The Spaniard' to find it. King George II heard of the Spanish locating the Fountain and orders Hector Barbossa to find it before the Spanish. Because he lived under the shadow of a prophesied death at the hands of a one-legged man, Blackbeard needed to find the restorative waters of the Fountain of Youth. Rumored of having been to the Fountain itself, Jack Sparrow was forced aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge to help Blackbeard find the Fountain.
Throughout the quest for the Fountain of Youth, participants encountered mermaids and tried to find two silver Chalices. Both were required for the Profane Ritual, in which two people drink from the Chalices; whoever drinks from the Chalice containing a mermaid's tear will take the remaining and lived years of the other drinker's life and add it to their own, curing them of any existing injuries, while the other person instantly dies. By the end of the quest, Blackbeard's crew had already captured a mermaid named Syrena and, thanks to Jack Sparrow, retrieved the Chalices.
Searching through the jungle, Jack Sparrow located the cave entrance to the Fountain of Youth, and accompanied Blackbeard's crew down into blue cave where they found a dead end. At the seeming end of the quest, Angelica learned that Jack Sparrow himself hadn't been to the Fountain of Youth (as he was rumored to be earlier). Despite this, Jack read the words inscribed on the Chalices "Aqua" and "de Vida", in which a pool appeared that sucked Jack and Blackbeard's crew into the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain itself appears at a rock formation with a gaping circular hole through the middle with water flowing vertically from the bottom of the top most of the circle, pooling down at the bottom. Before Jack could reach to touch the water from the Fountain, until Blackbeard stated that he'd be the first to drink it.
However, Hector Barbossa stepped forward, now a revenge-driven privateer, to confront Blackbeard. A battle ensues between Blackbeard's pirate crew and Barbossa's British crew, until the Spanish crew (led by "The Spaniard") arrive with the intention to destroy the Fountain of Youth. While the Spanish begin destroying the Fountain, Barbossa stabs Blackbeard with a poison-laced sword, which Angelica accidentally cuts herself with while removing it from Blackbeard. Barbossa claimed Blackbeard's magical sword, his ship (the Queen Anne's Revenge), and crew as compensation for his missing leg before leaving Blackbeard to die at the Fountain. Shortly afterwards, The Spaniard and his soldiers completed their mission and left the Fountain in ruins.
Simultaneously, Jack Sparrow is searching for the Chalices, which The Spaniard has tossed into deep water. He keeps searching until the mermaid Syrena emerged from the pool holding the battered Chalices and warned him to not waste her tear. With Blackbeard and Angelica fatally wounded, Jack brings the Chalices to them and tries to convince Angelica to drink from the one with the tear, but Blackbeard asks his daughter to sacrifice herself. Angelica agrees and drinks. Knowing that the self-serving Blackbeard would sacrifice his daughter, Jack revealed he may have switched the Chalices. Almost instantly, Angelica's wound heals and the Fountain consumes Blackbeard's body as his flesh rotted away, leaving nothing but bones. The waters cleared away as Jack and Angelica saw Blackbeard's skeleton collapsed, dead.
For the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the Fountain of Youth scenes were filmed in two locations. The scene near the Fountain's cave entrance was filmed in Waiakapala'e located on Kauai's North Shore―an appropriate choice because the Hawaiians believe that the waters in Waiakapala'e have their own life-giving power. The scenes inside the Fountain Cave and the Fountain of Youth itself was filmed at Pinewood Studios, with the Fountain scene filmed in 007 Stage.
Fountain of Youth concept art
An early Dean Tschetter illustration of the entrance through the caverns to the Fountain of Youth.
Dean Tschetter's rendering of two pirates facing off in the Fountain of Youth recalls Howard Pyle's classic early twentieth-century illustrations.