Arts & Culture "Fast Five" may be set in Rio de Janeiro, but it was filmed mostly in Puerto Rico.

Published on October 8th, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut

"Fast Five" may be set in Rio de Janeiro, but it was filmed mostly in Puerto Rico.

Destination Doubles: Do You Know Where These Movies Were Filmed?

Look again: “Fast Five” was set in Rio, but this is most likely Puerto Rico.


It’s not uncommon for an actor to have a stand-in for some scenes in a movie. But destinations stand in for other places more often than we realize. This was made especially clear this year with “Fast Five,” part of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, which is available on DVD this month. The movie was set in Rio de Janeiro, sure. But most of the scenes were filmed in Puerto Rico, employing some 236 technicians and 13,145 extras, while filling 16,824 hotel room nights on the island.

So if you’re looking to movies to provide inspiration for your next vacation, make sure you’re looking at the right place. Here are a few recent movies where a Latin American destination served as a “stand-in” for another. 

Fast Five (2011)
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker
Supposed setting: Rio de Janeiro
Stand-in destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico

A Perfect Getaway

Stars: Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn
Supposed setting: Hawaii
Stand-in destination: Puerto Rico

Life During Wartime

Stars: Allison Janney, Shirley Henderson
Supposed setting: South Florida
Stand-in destination: Puerto Rico

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Stars: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney
Supposed setting: Iraq
Stand-in destination: Bayamón and San Juan, Puerto Rico (including the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel)

Che (2008)
Stars: Benicio del Toro, Julia Ormond
Supposed setting: Santa Clara, Cuba
Stand-in destination: Campeche, Mexico

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Stars: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko
Supposed setting: Haiti, Bolivia
Stand-in destination: Panama (the National Institute of Culture in Panama City stood in for a hotel in Bolivia)

Vantage Point (2008)
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker
Supposed setting: Salamanca, Spain
Stand-in destination: Cuernavaca and Puebla, Mexico

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Stars: Diego Luna, Romola Garai
Supposed setting: Havana, Cuba
Stand-in destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Casa de los Babys (2003)
Stars: Marcia Gay Harden, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Mary Steenburgen, Lili Taylor, Rita Moreno
Supposed setting: unidentified South American nation
Stand-in destination: Acapulco (including Hotel Los Flamingos)

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Starts: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes
Supposed setting: Verona, Italy
Stand-in destination: Mexico City (Chapultepec Castle), Texcoco and Veracruz, Mexico

Havana (1990)
Stars: Robert Redford, Lena Olin
Supposed setting: Havana
Stand-in destination: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Missing (1982)
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek
Supposed setting: Santiago de Chile and Valparaíso
Made In: Mexico City and Acapulco

Of course, “The Rum Diary,” the new Johnny Depp flick based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel, is both set in and filmed in Puerto Rico. Some things really are as they appear. 

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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