Just within the last decade, Costa Rica has blossomed into a tropical getaway for gays. The capital, San Jose, has welcomed their new visitors in tight shorts. Aside from a solid number of gay bars and clubs, the city also boasts saunas, an LGBT bookstore and community center as well as a handful of gay-owned B&B. There are also a couple of gay men-only resorts where clothing may be optional but meeting new friends is required.
The city, like most Catholic Central American places, is a bit on the conservative side – so discretion is advised–once you walk out of that safe gay place.
Where Ticos Come to Work and Party
San José has most of Costa Rica’s gay bars and saunas and is certainly the center of the gay scene. If you’re looking to go dancing or cruise in a bathhouse, you’ll want to plan to spend part of your Costa Rica vacation here.
The city itself isn’t the most exciting although it is undergoing some urban renewal which is improving things. Many Tico’s (Costa Ricans) will come into San José for nightlife or for work but actually live in one of the many surrounding communities of the Central Valley. You may find
therefore that some venues (especially the bathhouses) are busier earlier than you would expect as people go after work rather than come in from far away. The city can also feel a little empty a night in certain areas, including around some of the gay bars, so please exercise caution in these areas at night as muggers have been known to prey on solo travelers, especially one’s who are drunk. Take a taxi when leaving bars such as Puchos or La Avispa. Please see our Safety page for more info.
Many Ticos like foreign guys and they like to party and go out, especially on weekends, so have fun and enjoy the attention! For more info on cruising and picking up guys read our article Sex and the Single Tico.