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Ever wondered where your favourite films were shot? We'll take you on location in South and Central America to discover the backdrops to some cinematic classics.

1. Playa Cacaluta: Y tu mamá también

The Oscar and Golden Globe nominated Y tu mamá también centres around the search for an invented beach paradise its teenage protagonists Julio and Tenoch call 'la Boca del Cielo' or 'Heaven's Mouth'. With seductive older woman Luisa in tow, they stumble across a stunning, deserted beach by chance before the motley threesome unravels in dramatic fashion.

The film-makers trawled Mexico's enormous coastline for the perfect beach on which to shoot, and found a truly heavenly spot: Playa Cacaluta near Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca. It's well worth making your own road trip there.

Oaxaca

2. Roraima, Venezuela: Up

Ok, humour us - Disney Pixar's Up wasn't exactly filmed on location, but the animated adventure takes inspiration from the incredible Lost World landscapes of Venezuela, though director Pete Docter admitted that he did have to adapt the scenery a little: otherwise "you wouldn't believe it"! He took his artists to the top of mount Roraima, where they observed and sketched the seemingly Martian territory and its endemic wildlife, separated from lower-altitude species over billions of years. The geological processes that gradually formed the tepuis (table mountains, or mesas) that thrust upwards through a large, and otherwise flat, area of Venezuela, have created unique ecological islands where evolution has trodden a different path. It's not hard to see why this region continues to inspire works of fiction.


3. Rio & Iguaçu Falls: Moonraker

The 'Amazon' boat chase in Bond's eleventh outing was actually filmed in Florida, but through the magic of cinema it still finishes at the impossible-to-replicate Iguaçu Falls (which, confusingly, is not in the Amazon either). And the cable car fight scene between Roger Moore's Bond and iconic baddie Jaws was of course shot on the ride up to the Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro. However, they still managed to shoot the 'Brazilian training camp' segment that follows it in Italy!

Corcovado Rio de Janeiro Brazil

4. Tikal: Star Wars IV

The not-so-snappily titled 'Massassi Outpost on the fourth moon of Yavin' may not ring all that many bells to anyone but the most devoted of sci-fi fans, but this key rebel base from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is instantly recognisable to anyone who has travelled to the magnificent Mayan temple complex of Tikal. In the film, the tops of Tikal's ancient stone pyramids can be seen protruding from dense jungle foliage, although the temples seen in closer shots are sets. Holidaymakers looking to recreate the film's climactic scenes (it's here that Luke destroys the first Death Star) can find Tikal not in a galaxy far far away, but in Guatemala.

Tikal

5. Durango, Mexico: various

The northern Mexican state of Durango has been the backdrop to an astounding number of films, their location scouts seduced by its rugged desert landscapes and Wild West feel. Unsurprisingly then, the 120 or so films that have been shot in the state include no less than seven starring John Wayne, (who spent so much time in the area that he ended up buying a ranch there), as well as several other high profile westerns including Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. More recently, The Mask of Zorro joined these star-studded ranks. It is still possible to visit some of the old sets in Durango and recapture the frontier atmosphere that helped to attract previous visitors including Clark Gable, Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Charlton Heston and Paul Newman.

Silver town

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Tailor-made holidays

We specialise in creating bespoke holidays designed according to your specific requirements.

Our tailor-made holiday service includes:

  • • A dedicated and friendly specialist to guide you through the planning process
  • • Our unrivalled knowledge of the region based on over 36 years' of expertise
  • • Access to the widest range of accommodation and activity options
  • • Your perfect itinerary, crafted exclusively for you

Speak to an expert 020 8747 8315

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