Neither Romola Garai (Katey) nor Diego Luna (Javier) had any professional dance training. Before production began, the two spent ten weeks in Puerto Rico, training for eight hours a day with Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen and four additional dancers and choreographers.
The movie was filmed in Puerto Rico, and made to look like Cuba. Most of it was done in the colonial part of San Juan, Old San Juan, a very popular hangout for Puerto Ricans, and a very touristy area. In order to maintain the look and esthetic of the pre-Cuban revolution era, producers secured underground parking places for people that would visit Old San Juan during the shoot, so that there wouldn't be any modern cars parked in the streets.
Story Writer Peter Sagal is the same Peter Sagal who hosts the National Public Radio program "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" The script is loosely based on an earlier screenplay that Sagal had written as an original story, not as a Dirty Dancing sequel.
Patrick Swayze appeared in this movie, but not as Johnny Castle, since this movie took place in 1958, and Dirty Dancing (1987) took place in 1963.. Before the ending credits, a new instrumental version of "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" can be heard.
Miranda Garrison, the Assistant Choreographer, and actress of "bungalow bunny" Vivian Pressman for Dirty Dancing (1987), served as the Assistant Choreographer and a featured dancer in this movie, making her and Patrick Swayze the only performers seen in both movies.