Culture Travel

Travel inspiration: 5 movie blockbusters set in Central America to watch inmediatamente

It’s time to swap the passport for popcorn: As we remain temporarily grounded for the time being, we can highly recommend filling the travel void with home cinema movie marathons. 

So, in a mixture of entertainment escapism and inspiration for when we can get real-life trip planning again, our attention has been caught by the lush locales behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

One such area to quench your travel thirst is Central America, where the stunning landscapes have served as the location for many of our favourite movies and TV series. From the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica, the jungles of Nicaragua, it’s easy to see why the region is one of Hollywood’s favourite filming locations.

So, embark on a journey across South America, via these must-watch streams, as we embrace the world of armchair tourism – and take some pointers for our next trip, naturally.

Money Heist (2017), filmed in Panama 

Guna Yala in Panama is the location for the third season of Money Heist

The critically-acclaimed Spanish crime series has proved a binge-watch hit on Netflix around the world, and in its third season moved to Panama to film, being shot around the Archipelago of the San Blas Islands. In the show, we see the main characters flee to the San Blas Archipelago, which is also known to tourists as Guna Yala. The area is home to many natural and cultural tourist attractions, such as its beaches, ecotourism, adventure tourism, bird watching and kayaking. All this, together with the traditional culture that the inhabitants still maintain, make San Blas one of the most exciting tourist destinations in Panama. 

Where to watch it now: Netflix. 

Jurassic Park (1993), filmed in Costa Rica 

Isla del Coco is one of the real-life locations of Jurassic Park’s Isla Nubar

Jurassic Park needs no introduction. It’s not only one of Spielberg’s greatest pictures, but one of the most influential movies of all time. It brought dinosaurs to life and took us to the fictional Isla Nublar, which is supposedly in the Pacific of Costa Rica. In reality, the film was actually shot on Isla del Coco, which boasts a natural park lush enough to make a Brachiosaurus’s mouth water, filled with dense forests of great natural beauty, extraordinary waterfalls and incredible flora and fauna that includes species of dolphins, whales humpback and over one hundred kinds of birds.

Where to watch it now: rent on Prime Video, or buy to keep on Sky Store

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), filmed in the Dominican Republic

Scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed on the white sandy beaches of Samaná Peninsula, in the Dominican Republic

We’ve been setting off on adventures with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow for years across oceans, islands and jungles. One such location the filmmakers used for those is the Samaná Peninsula, in the Dominican Republic – a beautiful region that boasts white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. A must-visit highlight to add to your island adventure are the marine caves of the Haitises National Park – if you’re lucky enough to be there on your own adventure in January, tours are even organised for whale spotting, as the incredibles animals can be seen swimming past the coast then.

Where to watch it now: Disney+

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), filmed in Guatemala

Izabal in Guatemala is featured in Terminator: Dark Fate

Who would’ve thought a Terminator movie would provide dream travel inspo? In the latest Sarah Connor-centric film in the franchise, the characters take time to relax on the beaches of Guatemala – specifically in the province of Izabal. In the villas of Livingston, in Izabal, you can find the same refreshing turquoise waters and fine sandy beaches as Connor and co. Also in the same province is the ancient city of Puerto Barrios, which has a rich historical heritage dating back to its founding in 1500. 

Where to watch it now: rent on Sky Store 

A Place in the Caribbean (2019), filmed in Honduras

The spectacular islands of Roatán are the perfect backdrop to 2017’s A Place in the Caribbean

There are two Latin American love stories at play here: one in the 2017 romantic drama, in which the protagonist, a famous Latin American writer, travels to Roatán, the largest island in the Archipelago of La Bahía. The second? The one where you fall in love with the paradise-like islands on screen. These spectacular Roatán islands form a barrier reef in which unique fauna flourishes, specific to this part of the world. This Honduras region has also proved a huge hit with tourists of late, thanks to its fabulous landscapes, relaxed beaches, nightclubs and golf courses.

Where to watch it now: Prime Video

Find more information and travel inspiration at visitcentroamerica.com/. Photography courtesy of Central America Tourism Agency.

Bex April May is an experienced entertainment, travel and lifestyle journalist based in London, writing for The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, MTV, Shortlist and more. Follow her adventures on Twitter @bexlectric and on Instagram @bexaprilmay

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