Famous Movie Locations In Costa Rica

    In the sights of Hollywood

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    Caribbean country

    There’s no doubt that Costa Rica is a beautiful country with gorgeous beaches and breathtaking landscapes. It comes as no surprise that tons of filmmakers have chosen this Caribbean haven to shoot scenes for their movies.

    More so, there are plenty of flicks that you probably watched without realizing they were shot in Costa Rica. Comedies, romances, thrillers, gambling movies, action movies, musicals, blockbusters…you name it. In this article, we will explore some of the most famous locations in Costa Rica that got featured in Hollywood films. Read on!

    Isla del Coco

    Administered by Costa Rica, Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) is located in the Pacific Ocean. Many people don’t know that part of Jurassic Park was actually filmed here. The rainforest covering the island with some high waterfalls seemed like a perfect location for Steven Spielberg to shoot his science-fiction flick. The setting actually resembles a place where dinosaurs would actually be roaming around. In the movie, the island is called Isla Nublar.

    Although it looks like paradise on earth, civilian access on Isla del Coco is very limited, meaning that there’s only a small number of tourists that visit the island.

    Manuel Antonio National Park

    The park’s ad

    Laying on the central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio Park is one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful national parks. Forests, beaches, and wildlife here are very unique and offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was even featured in the BBC’s documentary called Life.

    Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is a kids movie set in the adventurous environment of Manuel Antonio Park. If you’ve never seen this movie as a kid, you’ll still be able to enjoy it as an adult. Also, there are a couple of scenes in the movie that were shot around Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, which remains active to this day. We’ll discuss the volcano in more detail in the following section.

    Arenal Volcano

    Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s seven active volcanoes. While it’s not the tallest volcano in the country, it still reaches an impressive 1,633 meters or 5,358 feet. It’s covered in lush vegetation and forests with Arenal Lake nearby.

    It’s easy to see how this volcano attracts many tourists, but it’s also the perfect place for action movies. Apart from Spy Kids 2, this location was used for another Hollywood blockbuster called After Earth, a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie from 2013 starring Will Smith and his son Jaden.

    Pacific Coast

    Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Central America that borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica’s enticing Pacific coast is a top-rated tourist destination.

    Pacific coast

    Costa Rica is surrounded by water. Because of this, the locals love surfing, and the country boasts countless surfing schools to learn this extreme sport. That said, it’s no wonder that the film Surf School was filmed on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. As Surfing School is considered one of the worst surfing films of all time, it’ll probably give you a good chuckle or two, so go check it out.


    Another excellent location for adventure seekers is Sarapiquí, which located in the northeast part of Costa Rica bordering Nicaragua. Sarapiquí is known for its pristine beaches and luxury vacation resorts, but it also has plenty of nature reserves and national parks that are enriched with rivers and streams. The most famous is the Sarapiquí river, making rafting a favorite activity.

    In the past, plenty of movies were filmed here, but Suicide Squad is probably the most well-known one. The location was used in the film’s opening scene.

    San Carlos

    San Carlos Hot Spring
    Hot Spring San Carlos

    While the previously mentioned Arenal Volcano is probably the most notable landmark in the area, Costa Rica’s San Carlos canton is fantastically diverse as a whole. Well-known volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs attract thousands of tourists to this place every year.

    However, the jungles of San Carlos are what drew the makers of the movie Congo to this location. The movie is about an expedition team that goes into the heart of an African jungle to investigate strange natural occurrences. While the movie is supposed to be set in Congo, it was actually filmed in eight different locations, one of them being San Carlos.

    Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

    If you thought that we were going to forget about Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, worry not – we were just saving it for the end. Puerto Viejo is a small coastal town in Limon province and an attractive tourist destination.

    The Canadian drama and adventure film called The Blue Butterfly was partially filmed here. It’s a true story about a terminally ill boy whose dying wish is to find and see the famous Blue Morpho Butterfly.

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