You’ve probably seen Puerto Rico on the big or small screen, even if you didn’t know it at the time. From recreating the favelas of Sao Paulo in Fast Five to 007 fighting his nemesis on the world's largest radio telescope in GoldenEye, Puerto Rico has served as a backdrop for many famous movies and TV shows, thanks to its convenient proximity to the U.S., film industry tax incentives, diverse landscapes, and versatile locations. Keep your eyes peeled when you visit – you never know where you’ll see movie magic in action!
Here are a few movies and TV series that showcase Puerto Rico and filming locations you can explore when you visit.
TV Series Filmed in Puerto Rico
Fantasy Island (Fox)
A reboot of the cult-favorite 1970s series, Fantasy Island takes place at a Caribbean resort where guests have their wildest fantasies fulfilled – and that resort is the real-life Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico in Río Grande. Puerto Rican actress, singer, and songwriter Roselyn Sanchez stars on the show as Elena Roarke, a descendant of Mr. Roarke from the original series.
Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)
This hit pirate comedy is not filmed in Puerto Rico, exactly, but uses projections of several Island locations to create the effect of a theatrical play set on the high seas. The series stars Rhys Darby as real-life “gentleman pirate” Stede Bonnet and Taika Waititi as the infamous Blackbeard, who was no stranger to Puerto Rico’s shores. Vico Ortiz, a Puerto Rican actor and queer activist, also appears on the show as Jim, a non-binary pirate.
The Resort (Peacock)
This upcoming comedy thriller stars Nick Offerman, William Jackson Harper, Cristin Milioti, and Skyler Gisondo. Described as a love story disguised as a mystery, the Peacock original series uses Puerto Rico as a stand in for Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Other TV shows filmed in Puerto Rico include SEAL Team (CBS), Homeland (Showtime), and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC).
Movies Filmed in Puerto Rico
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
In theaters November 11, 2022
This highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 blockbuster used filming locations in Puerto Rico to bring the cinematic universe of Black Panther to life. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and stars much of the cast of the first installment, including Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke, and Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. It’s not the first Marvel Studios movie to film here – in 2016, San Juan doubled as Lagos, Nigeria, in Captain America: Civil War.
Remember Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean’s battle in a giant telescope? Although James Bond’s classic finale depicts the location as a secret antenna cradle in Cuba, the scene was filmed in the now-closed Arecibo Observatory on the north side of the Island.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
In the fourth installment of this acclaimed Disney franchise, Jack Sparrow sets out to find the mystical Fountain of Youth, a quest that brought production and cast to Puerto Rico. Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz roamed around locations like Castillo San Cristóbal in San Juan and Cueva del Indio in Arecibo, but the most notable moment is captured on the deserted island of Palominito, off the coast of Fajardo.
Bad Boys II (2003)
In their roles as two Miami P.D. agents, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence wreak havoc all over the north coast of the Island. Director Michael Bay transformed Puerto Rico into Cuba for his sequel to 1995's Bad Boys with the towns of Manatí and Arecibo setting the scene for over-the-top car chases, military shootings, and explosions.
The Rum Diary (2011)
Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s memoir of when he lived as a journalist in Puerto Rico, this movie brought Johnny Depp back to the Island, this time in the ‘60s era. The movie showcases the pastel colors and colonial architecture of Old San Juan, as well as the stunning beaches of Vieques and Vega Baja.
The Losers (2010)
A betrayed black ops team is left for dead in Bolivia in this 2010 film. While the storyline takes place mostly between Bolivia and the United States, most of the production was set around Santurce, Hato Rey, Canóvanas, and Río Grande, as well as iconic sites like the now-closed Arecibo Observatory, Piñones, and Caja de Muertos island. The movie was directed by Sylvain White and starred Zoe Saldaña, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Keith Short, Óscar Jaenada, and Jason Patric.
Fast Five (2011)
Dominic Toretto and the familia plan to pull off the ultimate heist, but while the storyline for Fast Five is set in Brazil, the adrenaline-filled flick was shot in San Juan and Naranjito. The rooftop chase across the favelas is actually La Perla (like Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” video), car chases were shot at La Milla de Oro and Puente Teodoro Moscoso in Hato Rey, and Gal Gadot’s now-iconic line “you don’t send a man to do a woman’s job” was spoken at hotel La Concha in Condado.
Dr. Ellie Arroway achieved what seemed impossible: radio proof of extraterrestrial intelligence, and she did it at the world’s largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory, (now closed). The Academy Award-nominated film follows Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey as they try to communicate with outer space.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
A story of love and salsa in revolutionary times brought Diego Luna, Romola Garai, and the rest of the crew down to Puerto Rico. The streets of Old San Juan and Ponce recreated Cuba during the revolution, as well as the BACARDÍ distillery.
Runner Runner (2013)
This gambling drama takes a grad student portrayed by Justin Timberlake to Costa Rica as he confronts a tycoon played by Ben Affleck, but once again, the movie was filmed in Puerto Rico. Catch a glimpse of La Perla, Club Náutico de San Juan, luxury mansions in Dorado and Río Grande, Piñones, the Gallery Inn hotel, and the majestic casino at El San Juan hotel.
22 Jump Street (2014)
Reprising their funny characters as two undercover cops with "baby face" Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill tracking a drug dealer all the way to "Puerto Mexico." Locations like the Caribe Hilton hotel and Condado beach served as sets for these "college kid" Spring Break party endeavors.
More movies shot in Puerto Rico:
- The Suicide Squad (2021)
- Lord of the Flies (1963)
- Act of Valor (2012)
- Princess Protection Program (2009)
- Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (2009)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- The Do-Over (2016)
- The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
- Amistad (1997)
- Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
- Assassins (1995)
- Teen Beach Movie (2013)
- Teen Beach Movie 2 (2015)
- Captain Ron (1992)
- Under Suspicion (2000)
- Our Brand is Crisis (2015)
- Imprisoned (2018)
- Perfect Getaway (2009)
- Replicas (2018)
- Trauma Center (2019)
- Force of Nature (2020)
- Driven (2018)
- Axis Sally (2021)
- Extortion (2017)
- Speed Kills (2018)
- Feel the Noise (2007)
- The Caller (2011)
- Christmas in Paradise (2007)
- Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (2009)
- Primal (2019)