Gay Friendly Traveling in Costa Rica
Cheers for gay rights! Costa Rica is known to be the one of the most gay-friendly countries to visit in all of Central America. The majority of the young adult population (60% in a poll conducted by La Nacion in 2012) agree that same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. While a 2006 Supreme Court decision voted against same-sex couples to be recognized in marriage law (a 5-2 decision), the country is extremely welcoming to fabulous gay tourists from around the world. You can find a brief history of the LGBT movement on this site, as well as recommendations for places to stay.
Which city is considered the most gay friendly in Costa Rica? Unlike other countries where you must visit the capitol or major cities to experience more open minds, visitors have found the small village of Manuel Antonio to be the most inviting area for Costa Rica's gay scene. Located 132 km (82 mi) from the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, and just south of Quepos, Manuel Antonio sits nestled in the national park which has been protected since 1972. Forbes considers this to be one of the top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world. It is certainly a must-see area for anyone who visits Costa Rica. As many as 150,000 visitors a year flock to the beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and the lush rainforest that comprise this reserve.
Tours in Manuel Antonio range from canopy zipline tours to horseback riding to snorkeling to surfing to white water rafting. Those looking for an adventure have certainly come to the right place! Known for its nightlife, this quiet town comes alive in the evenings with loads of gay friendly attractions. Several gay hotspots in Manuel Antonio are: Liquid, Karma Lounge, and Bar Latino. The nights are not the only thing sizzling with live music and entertaining dancers at several of these venues. Check schedules here to see which night is best to visit each bar.
If you are looking for a relaxing day on the shore, then Playitas Beach is your best option. While it was once a nude beach, we do not recommend stripping down as local authorities have become stricter when it comes to laws regarding nudity. Need to get a workout in during the day? Gimnasio Mucho Musculo is the place to be! The gym offers a wide variety of classes and you can find their schedules here:
Costa Rica is known for its beautiful flora and fauna, and now it would appear to be making big strides in terms of acceptance for all. When planning your next vacation, certainly keep in mind the gay-friendly town of Manuel Antonio!