Where was Romancing the Stone filmed? The City & ALL the Filming Locations

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Although most of the movie is set in Colombia, Romancing the Stone was primarily filmed in Mexico, with a few opening and ending shots recorded in New York, Utah, and even Hawaii.

This uproarious, action-packed 1984 adventure classic, combining drama and comedy in a way not seen before, has aged quite well, becoming one of the most beloved productions of the 80s.

Romancing the Stone Where filmed

Often compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the unexpected success of the movie opened the doors for director Robert Zemeckis to move forward on his own project, Back to the Future.

The film also propelled the careers of all three leading stars, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito.

Danny DeVito in Romancing the Stone

Its sequel, Jewel of the Nile (1985) was not as successful and the planned third installment, The Crimson Eagle, was never made.

Welcome to the best and most complete guide to the filming locations of Romancing the Stone that you can find.

The Filming Locations

Kymberly Herrin as Angelina
In the funny opening scene, Angelina (played by model and actress Kymberly Herrin) is the heroine of a Western romantic story written by Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner).

This section of the movie was filmed at the spectacular Zion National Park in Utah, a huge area near the Arizona border boasting wonderfully shaped mountains, canyons, rivers, and natural arches.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

The Savage Secret
Although there is no information about the exact locations used in the film, our sleuthing revealed that Angelina's wooden hut was built north of the Tabernacle Dome summit.

On Google Maps, you can see a small cabin located more or less in the place where the shack had stood, near the North Kolob Ter Road.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Joan Wilder apartement
In the movie, best-selling romance novelist Joan Wilder lives in an apartment at 495 West End Avenue in New York, according to the envelope sent by her brother-in-law, Eduardo Quinones.

But as OnTheSetOfNewYork revealed, the exterior was actually filmed at 530 West End Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

The real Romancing the Stone city

Romancing the Stone city
Romancing the Stone was originally planned to be filmed in Colombia, where it is set. However, the insecurity in the country related to the narcos and the news of American kidnappings brought the production to Mexico.

The Caribbean city of Veracruz doubled as Cartagena. The scenes with Joan's sister Elaine (played by Mary Ellen Trainor, who also appeared in The Goonies) in her villa near the coast were filmed at the coastal Boulevard Manuel Ávila Camacho, near the Hotel Royalty (on the left).
Image by 20th Century Fox and Google Maps

Romancing the Stone locations
Elaine is kidnapped and handed over to Ralph (Danny DeVito) and his crocodile-loving cousin Ira (Zack Norman) in the San Juan de Ulúa Castle, an important landmark of Veracruz.

Veracruz and Cartagena were crucial colonial harbor cities for the Spanish Empire. They both had large fortresses built between the 16th and 18th centuries, so choosing Veracruz to appear as Cartagena was a great choice.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Atlas of Wonders - Map

Barraca Grande Xalapa
The bus that Joan takes at the chaotic airport was going to Castillo de San Felipe, which is the name of Cartagena's most iconic fort and the location where the movie would have been filmed.

The remote road in the mountains and the crash scene with the Land Rover were filmed around a small community called Barraca Grande near Xalapa, also in Veracruz State.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Romancing the Stone bridge scene

After the accident, Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) and Joan are chased through the jungle by the corrupt Colonel Zolo (played by famous Mexican actor Manuel Ojeda) and his military forces.

The scene of the old wrecked bridge was filmed on a real bridge bent by an earthquake in the early 19th century. The remains of the structure are located about two miles south of the beautiful town of Xico, near Xalapa.

The bridge is situated at the top of the stunning Texolo Waterfall, although it doesn't yet appear in the movie...
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Wrecked jungle plane
One of the key scenes in the movie is when after a machete stroke, the duo discovers a crashed cargo aircraft in the jungle.

This scene was filmed on a set built at the Francisco Javier Clavijero Botanical Garden near Briones in the south of Xalapa.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Joan and Jack end up in a small town dominated by unfriendly drug traffickers... until they find out that Joan is her Juanita.

Looking for a way out, they find the house of Juan, "The Bellmaker", played by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Arau. Arau became the director of international hits including 1992's Like Water for Chocolate.

Romancing the Stone house
According to Xalapa Antiguo, the exterior of Juan's hacienda was filmed in a village called Tonayán, situated about 10 miles north of Xalapa.

As you can see, several parts were added to the house to make it look bigger.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Google Maps

Hacienda Las Ánimas Xalapa
However, the interior of the mansion was filmed at the historic Hacienda Las Ánimas in Xalapa.

This 19th-century estate received its name, Las Ánimas (the souls), from the numerous stories about ghosts and apparitions told by the inhabitants of the region.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

San Pablo Coapan
After the awesome Lupe's Escape scene onboard a Ford Bronco nicknamed "Pepe, the Little Mule", the group accidentally discovers the Devil's Fork tree. This meadow overlooks the scenic village of San Pablo Coapan.

Since ancient times, these fields surrounding San Pablo Coapan near Naolinco, in the north of Xalapa, are planted with the "flower of the dead" or Cempasúchil.

According to the pre-Hispanic tradition, this orange and yellowish flower kept the warmth of the sun and illuminated the way for the dead to return to the land of the living.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Hotel Blanquita
This was the hardest location to find: the town of the party, which looked like a small village in the countryside, was actually filmed in a famous neighborhood located in the middle of Mexico City.

The Hotel Blanquita is the restaurant Merendero Las Lupitas in Santa Catarina Park, Coyoacán.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Google Maps

The town of the party
Today, the vegetation has grown so much that it's hard to get a clear shot of the square with the church, the chapel of Santa Catarina de Siena, in the background.

In the dance scene, Michael Douglas was not aware that he was being filmed by Zemeckis. It was this improvised footage that made the final cut.

According to IMDb, the production also filmed scenes in Huasca de Ocampo, known as the country's first "Pueblo Mágico", in the state of Hidalgo, but perhaps those scenes didn't make it into the final cut.

Romancing the Stone waterfall
After following the map's hidden waterfall clue, the couple finds the emerald stone "El Corazón" in a cave. In real life, the waterfall is located near the same spot where they crossed the cliff by the broken bridge in the jungle earlier in the film.

As you can see in the top right corner, a new suspension bridge was built next to the old metallic structure.

With a drop of 60–80 feet (18–24 meters), the Texolo Waterfall is a spectacular landmark that was also used to film scenes for the 1994 action thriller movie Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford.

Valley House Plantation Estate Kauai
Looking for another location, in Atlas of Wonders we found the Valley House Plantation Estate website in Kauai (Hawaii) stating that the cave behind the waterfall was filmed on this historic property.

This fall was also featured in Jurassic Park and one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, among other productions.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

La Antigua River Jalcomulco
Some scenes in the river, including the place where Joan and Jack get separated on opposite banks, were filmed in La Antigua River close to Jalcomulco, also located in Xalapa's area.

Featuring a long footbridge across the river, this town surrounded by lush nature has become a rafting, adventure travel, and ecotourism destination.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

El Saltito fall car
To film the scene where the lovely Renault 4L falls down the waterfall, the crew traveled to the state of Durango, about 1,500 miles away from Jalcomulco.

Situated about a 30-minute drive from the city of Durango near Nombre de Dios, El Saltito (The little jump) is a jaw-dropping three waterfalls drop in the Mezquital River.

This waterfall is rather deep, making it ideal for shooting jumping scenes with vehicles or horses. Several productions including Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee (1965) and First Knight (1995) with Sean Connery and Richard Gere were recorded here.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Romancing the Stone town
Back to Cartagena, there is an establishing shot of the Veracruz Cathedral and the Zócalo Square in the historic center.

The entrance of the fictional Hotel Cartagena seems to have been filmed at the Hotel Imperial, also located in Zócalo.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Auf der Jagd nach dem grünen Diamanten drehort
The old seaside fort in ruins is again the San Juan de Ulúa fortress in Veracruz.

The title of the movie was hard to translate into other languages because the phrase "Romancing the Stone", in jewelers' jargon, refers to a step in the preparation of a gemstone for use in jewelry.

Angelina yacht boat
The last scene in New York with the sailboat Angelina on a trailer was filmed several blocks away from Joan's apartment on West End Avenue, between West 79th and 80th Streets in Manhattan.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox - Map

Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations of Romancing the Stone? To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info, or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

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1- Anonymous - Jun 11, 2022, 9:29 PM
Very interesting. Thanks.

2- Anonymous - May 14, 2023, 3:32 AM
I love this movie... and the page and the infos are very interesting, many thanks!

3- Liv Mic - Nov 19, 2023, 3:24 AM
The town of the party and the Hotel Blanquita was filmed in the Plaza Santa Catarina in Coyoacán, Mexico City. The chapel in the square is the chapel of Santa Catalina de Siena. Hotel Blanquita is actually a restaurant called Mesón Antigua with address Jardín Sta Catarina 6, Santa Catarina, Coyoacán, 04010 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico.

   4- Ra Moon - Nov 19, 2023, 8:26 AM
   Thanks a lot, updated!

5- Anonymous - Mar 10, 2024, 9:03 PM
Thanks so much for this complete list of locations for this, one of my favorite films. In 2010, my son and I went to Veracruz and Xalapa to see as many of the locations as we could figure out. San Juan de Ulua was first which was fantastic. We stayed in a hotel right across from the Zocolo and Cathedral. Then to Xalapa, Coatepec and Xico. Over the years, I've found more sites on the internet, but your page completes the list. Thanks again.

6- Anonymous - Mar 27, 2024, 8:21 AM
So, none of the film was actually filmed in Colombia? Ah, man!


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