Jurassic World is back with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, following what happened once Isla Nublar was abandoned by the human survivors. For this sequel, Claire and Owen have to once again join forces on Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs from an impending volcano eruption. Given how all the Jurassic Park films take place on the island, it’s easy to think it actually exists, considering how many details are given in each movie about it. But is Isla Nublar from Jurassic World real?
Sadly, it’s not. The films do provide geographic details about the island's location, claiming that it’s 120 miles west of Costa Rica, though. Despite the fact that Isla Nublar doesn’t actually exist, it’s likely based on a real place: Cocos Island, located close to where Isla Nublar is supposed to be. According to National Geographic, there’s a high chance that Jurassic Park author Michael Critchton based Isla Nublar on Cocos Island because it’s “the only island in the area with cloudy rain forests.”
Though you can’t visit Isla Nublar, Cocos Island has embraced being the rumored setting for the novel and movies, with local tourist sites promoting it as “The real Jurassic Park.” The island does look very similar to the Isla Nublar portrayed in the movies, but the production team decided against filming there. Costa Rican publication Tico Times reports that despite the influence of Cocos Island, the films were all actually made in Hawaii instead.
The movies often explore various Hawaiian Islands, but for Fallen Kingdom, most of the action taking place on Isla Nublar was filmed in Oahu. Some of the earlier scenes in the movie were filmed on Dillinger Ranch, a venue that you can actually visit — and even host your wedding at, according to its website. The location has also served as the set for plenty of other movies and TV shows, including 50 First Dates, Lost, Hawaii Five-O, and more.
Condé Nast Traveler reports that the scene in Jurassic World where Claire and Owen flee in an old gyrosphere was actually filmed at another picturesque ranch: Kualoa Ranch. This ranch has also been the set for many film productions and is one of Hawaii’s most popular wedding venues. It even offers “Jurassic Jungle Tours” that show fans the locations used to film their favorite scenes from the beloved movies. Condé Nast Traveler reports that one of the other main locations for the Isla Nublar scenes was He’eia. This island was particularly used for the jungle scenes that involve Owen tracking down Blue and where Owen and Claire end up making their escape. Traveler reports that given how busy the island’s harbor was, production had to move as many as 60 boats during filming in order to capture the realistic feel of Isla Nublar.
Strangely enough, after wrapping up filming of Fallen Kingdom Oahu, real life began to imitate the film’s story. Last month, the island began to face the nearby eruption of volcano Kilauea, which USA Today reports as beginning on May 3 in Leilani Estates. Even though Oahu is 200 miles from the directly affected area, residents still face the risk of volcanic ash causing respiratory health concerns, particularly for those who are asthmatic.
Even though the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies weren’t made in the real inspiration for the island, filming in Hawaii allowed them to use vast locations that hold a strong resemblance to Cocos Island — despite being so far away from it. Plus, this means that for those who live on the West Coast, a trip to the real locations used for the movies isn’t far. You might not be able to visit the real Isla Nublar, but being able to go to where they filmed the movies is still pretty cool.