How often does this happen—you’re watching a movie and a scene with a dreamy beach, bustling market, awe-inspiring mountain or lush forest appears and you’re hit with wanderlust? Movies can be incredible travel inspiration and a way to get a taste for destinations even before you visit.
Just like our list of travel books, we’ve collected some of the best movies that will let you “set a course” for near and far-flung locales right from your couch—whether it be the dense rainforests and Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula or the gorgeous shores of Montego Bay in Jamaica.
If you’re seeking ideas for your cruise or simply wanting to “get away” while at home, check out these movies (stay tuned, we’ll be adding more!)
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”
Jerry Bruckheimer’s series of swashbuckler films brings the audience on a ride through the picturesque Caribbean with blacksmith-turned-pirate Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), his love interest Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) and the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as they take part in sword fights, maritime legends and treasure hunts. The movie’s cast and crew made two trips to Paradise Island next to Nassau to shoot scenes for these blockbuster movies.
“Holiday in the Sun”
In this flick, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen head to Nassau’s famous Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas. Playing twin sisters in the 2001 film, the girls and their whole family head to the popular resort for some R&R during winter break. But their vacation isn’t all fun and games, especially when their new friend is framed for smuggling stolen artifacts and they must clear his name.
Bond is back, but this time brought to life by Daniel Craig. The 2006 spy film brings viewers on yet another daring 007 escapade, as he sets out to defeat a private banker, who is funding terrorist organizations, in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro. Along the way, Bond visits spots like John Watling’s Distillery in Nassau and The Ocean Club on Paradise Island.
Beautiful beaches, a world-renowned music scene, must-try spicy, flavorful food and a bobsled team? It’s not surprising many movies are set in Jamaica:
A Jamaican bobsled team? It’s not just the basis for this classic comedy, but it actually happened when the island nation competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. After a Jamaican sprinter’s chance at the Summer Games are dashed, his determination to compete leads to an unlikely bobsledding run (and plenty of hijinks with his eccentric teammates) at the Winter Olympics. This much-loved film also propelled Jimmy Cliff’s cover of “I Can See Clearly Now” into Billboard’s top 40 songs in the U.S.
Sean Connery debuts as everyone’s favorite British spy in the very first James Bond movie. Set in Jamaica, the action-packed film follows 007 as he investigates the disappearance of a fellow agent, teams up with the CIA and eventually takes on a mad genius at his secret island lair. “Dr. No” has plenty of tropical scenes and Jamaican music that will transport you to this slice of paradise in the Caribbean.
“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”
When a big-time stockbroker (Angela Bassett) heads to Montego Bay, Jamaica with her bestie (Whoopi Goldberg) to take a break from her high-stress lifestyle, she ends up falling for a younger man (Taye Diggs in his debut film). Based on the best-selling book, this romantic comedy shows how soaking up some island sun can be a breath of fresh air.
From the Mayan ruins near Cozumel to the famous, recognizable art known around the globe, the culture of Mexico has made its way into countless films:
Easily one of the most famous Mexicans, Frida Kahlo overcame many hardships to create world-renowned art, and her social activism made her an icon in the feminist, Chicano and LGBTQ+ movements. This Academy Award-winning film, starring the incredible Mexican actress Salma Hayek as Frida, gives the audience an intimate look at her fascinating life—a must-see no matter your artistic taste.
This Spanish-language film is a classic heist comedy that follows a group of con artists intent on robbing a lottery winner on board a cruise ship bound for Mexico. Set to a backdrop of the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula, things quickly get out of hand—as they often do—when scammers set their eyes on a mark and are intent on out-thieving each other. Watch in Spanish (with subtitles) and you may even pick up some local Mexican lingo!
“The Book of Life”
Guillermo del Toro directed this animated, family-friendly film that follows a bullfighter, Manolo, who must battle his way out of the afterlife to reunite with his lost love. Featuring beautiful animation—such as the recognizable Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) skulls—and voices of famous actors like Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Diego Luna (“Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Frida”), it’s a whimsical and touching story for all.
These movies will have you dreaming of your next destination. Head here to see how Royal Caribbean can take you there on a cruise!