Ready for our Close-Up


Movies are a portal to the world. They allow us to experience remote shores vicariously, and they can inspire our next vacation. (Most famously, The Lord of the Rings movies created a tourism boom in New Zealand.) This got me to thinking about movies that highlight the destinations of Mockingbird’s tours.

For Chile, I offer you The Motorcycle Diaries. Although it covers a lot of South America, it hits several beautiful spots in Chile, including the Atacama Desert, Valparaiso, and the lake district just north of Patagonia. Plus, it’s an excellent “travel-as-inspiration-to-change-the-world” story.

Switzerland’s stunning Alps are particularly popular in James Bond movies, even if the scenes are supposed to be taking place somewhere else. (If you see James jumping off a giant dam or a towering mountain peak, chances are good it’s actually Switzerland.) More recently, I spied Zermatt in the first episode of the outstanding series The Night Manager. For a more urban view of Switzerland, you can find nice shots of Geneva in some of the non-Syrian scenes of Syriana.

Our other destinations get tricky, however. There was a Will Smith-M. Night Shyamalan movie called After Earth that was shot in Costa Rica; but since the name doesn’t even ring a bell, and Costa Rica is standing in for some kind of post-human Earth, I can’t confidently recommend it. And aside from Russell Crowe’s Master and Commander, which shot some scenes on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador has apparently not made it onto the radar of mainstream movie location scouts. Nor can I find any movies set in Europe’s Christmas markets.

Perhaps it makes sense that Mockingbird’s destinations have stayed off the big screen. We do like to go a bit off the beaten path, after all. Many of the places we visit are, for now at least, hidden gems.

And of course, movie-famous or not, the true mark of a worthy destination is that you’ve just got to see it for yourself.

For some real-life movie magic, take a Mockingbird tour! View all our tours here.


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