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Picture this: rainforests as vibrant as Pride flags. Instagram-worthy beaches. And nightlife hotter than the tropical sun. From the streets of San José to national parks and beaches, our gay Costa Rica tour isn’t just a vacation – it’s an eco-friendly queer adventure. Read on to find out why we love this Central American destination.

An LGBTQ-welcoming paradise

From the moment you step off the plane, you’re greeted with smiles as bright as the buildings on Avenida Central. Whether you’re lost in the maze of San José’s streets, browsing the vibrant markets, or dining al fresco, this city is chock full of welcoming people. Why is everyone so friendly?? The history of LGBTQ+ rights in Costa Rica may be a factor.

Back in the day, this place was like a telenovela. Drama. Twists. And a fierce fight for equality. While early chapters were rocky for the LGBTQ+ community, same-sex relationships have been legal since 1971. This makes Costa Rica one of the earliest countries in Central America to recognize their legitimacy. Even better, in 2018, the Costa Rican Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriage, paving the way for marriage equality in 2020.

Even the capital’s annual Pride event has evolved into a technicolor dream filled with parades, dance parties, clacker fans and glitter explosions. In June 2019, Carlos Alvarado Quesada became the first Costa Rican President to march in the annual Pride parade. About 100,000 people were in attendance – a far cry from two decades prior when a handful of participants were jeered by spectators. Suffice to say, Costa Rican attitudes have shifted and today acceptance is widespread.

The Nightlife is Amazing

When the sun sets in San José, things light up. Sip cocktails amidst sexy locals on swanky rooftop bars, then shimmy on dance floors packed ‘til dawn (practice your hip swivels because they’re sure to come in handy).

A great starting point is Zona Rosa. It’s ostensibly a dive bar with unassuming folks and cheap drinks. Then it’s on to Club Venue, where multiple rooms allow guests to choose their vibe. The real craziness begins at the next stop, Puchos, where you’re sure to get an eye-full of libidinous dancers in (and out of) banana hammocks. But wait, there’s more! Finish the evening at La Casita De Oráculo, a self-described fetish bar where patrons can drop any remaining inhibitions.

Other Activities in San Jose

Nightlife isn’t the only thing that sparkles in this city. Make your way to the Gold Museum where the bling is so blinding you may need a pair of shades. After that, pop over to the Central Market for foodie delights that’ll make your taste buds merengue. Later, hit up the Mercado Municipal de Artesanias for insanely unique souvenirs and trinkets. Craving some live entertainment? Jaunt over to Teatro Nacional for a dose of artsy sophistication. Or check out living legends at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This city is a capital of culture!

A Mountain of Excitement Awaits You Beyond the City Limits

Arenal Volcano is one of the youngest volcanoes in Costa Rica at an estimated 7,000 years old. The mountain had a magmatic “oopsie” back in 1968, burying over 15 square kilometers (5.8 sq mi) to its west under rocks, lava and ash over several days. Arenal subsequently had a few minor rumblings in the late-90s but has been officially dormant since 2010.

Today, the lush rainforests surrounding Arenal are perfect for hikers, zip-liners, or aspiring wildlife photographers. After a busy day you can even dip into the hot springs – they’re nature’s day spa, complete with steamy pools and dreamy views.

Along with a Jungle…

Sustainable, all-inclusive forest bungalows (as well as the howler monkeys) welcome us to Bagaces! An included zip-line tour will have us harnessed up and whizzing through the verdant treetops for part of the day. Later, we can kick back in one of many natural pools, take an optional white water tubing ride, or explore the area around Rio Perdido hotel for ocelots and kinkajous.

And even a Beach…

Slather on that sunscreen and prepare your dramatic pose because the gem of Costa Rica’s coastline, Tamarindo Beach, is our final stop. Climb aboard our catamaran for an included excursion as we glide with the wind, hoping to see pods of dolphins, sea turtles, or even breaching whales. The ride can be quite romantic. Whether you’re sipping a fruity concoction, writing your name in the golden sand, or disco dancing after sunset, this beach is serving serious seaside realness that can’t be missed.

Keep It on the Down-Low

People know about Costa Rica. They’re just talking about it discreetly, if you catch my drift. So IYKYK, but this might be the best-kept gay secret of any travel destination. And with its year-round warm climate, thriving LGBTQ+ scene, and easy access from North America, Costa Rica won’t be on the down-low for long.

Our Costa Rica Gay Eco-Adventure departs every March – let us know if it sounds like your kind of adventure.

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