Heading to Costa Rica on vacation? Well there are a few things you ought to know. First thing: Ticos (that’s how Costa Ricans refer to themselves, a helluva lot easier than saying Costariccenses) are damn guapo (cute). Somewhat more European looking than Mexicans since there’s little indigenous blood. Not generally quite as beefy as Cubans or Brazilians (since there’s little African blood as well) but damn hot.
And, while the country is generally socially conservative as is most of Latin America it is more open to gay and lesbian travelers than almost anywhere else in Latin America and has a reputation for this, even outside the gay community. Their rivals taunt the Tico national soccer team, which does quite well, thank you (as those watching their impressive performance at the World Cup in Brazil already know) with chants of “Putos” (fags). Mmmm, sounds pretty good to me: a team of athletic gay boys on a field wearing skimpy shorts.
Learning the local tongue
Of course, you also have to know a few choice words of the language. And if you’ve learned your street Spanish elsewhere, especially in Spain, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Of course the best way to learn is “on the job”.
I was playing with a guy in a park in Madrid one time and he said me estoy corriendo (which literally translates as “I’m running myself”). I was like, “Huh? What does that mean?” even though I knew all the words. He quickly demonstrated by shooting his leche (cum). But this phrase doesn’t work in Costa Rica. They go with a more direct translation from the English: me estoy viniendo.
The most useful phrase here is simply Que rico as in Que rico tu pinga (cock) or Que rico tu culo (butt). Mostly though, this is a great thing to moan, all on its own, like when you’re getting a great blow job. It also works great when you’re telling his mom later how great dinner is.
Check your attitude mae! (dude)
Ticos tend to be fiercely proud and rather possessive too. You might hear Te quiero (“I love you”, sorta although literally “I want you”) sooner than you expect. However, Te quiero is rather less strong than Te amo (I love you) so don’t fret too much.
But don’t be too manipulative either: if you’re here for a vacation fling and no more, then say so.
I will say that a greater number of young Ticos like somewhat older in shape gringos. But let me get this out of the way: they’re not all looking for a sugar daddy and they’re not all hustlers. Yes, like everywhere, this exists, but I don’t find it much more prevalent than back in the States. Check your attitude about the developing world on the plane on the way here. Yes, if you’re pushing 50 with a belly the size of Lake Erie and a cute Tico boy wants to suck your pinga then maybe he’s in it for something else. But this country is richer than its neighbors (50+ years without an army will do that) and has a life expectancy longer than the United States (a public health care system and a much less stressful lifestyle will do that).
Where the boys (and girls) are
The capitol San Jose has more than one would expect of its share of gay bars and, for a change, of lesbian bars. It also has several exclusively gay hotels. The bars run the gamut from a video bar that could be anywhere in the States, Bochinche, to a hustler and go-go boy bar, Puchos, to a dance club with lots of male-male and female-female salsa and meringue dancing, La Avispa. There’s quite a few more. These three have been around for a while but like everywhere these things change rapidly so check local listings.
Manuel Antonio and Quepos
The town of Quepos and the short stretch between there and the Manuel Antonio National Park are the other gay mecca. There is one exclusively gay hotel and many gay friendly ones and a couple of gay bars.
There is a gay beach too called Playita. Back in the day it was in a isolated cove, everyone was naked and pretty much anything and everything happened there. Nowadays a hotel has been built there so it’s not quite as special but the far end of the beach is still the gay spot to hang out and many people still go nude. But ask or follow the lead of others before you strip down, sometimes they’ve been known to crack down. There are fun waves to play in (if you’re not a strong swimmer, be careful as there are riptides and people have drowned there). Lots of incredible shade trees overhanging the beach so you can stay all day. And lots of cute guys—from all over the world.
The best time to meet Ticos is on weekends when the guys from San Jose come down to enjoy the beach for a few days. Especially during the Costa Rican “summer” (dry season) of December and January when schools and universities close for the annual holiday.
The Caribbean Coast
The Caribbean Coast is also becoming sort of a gay hot spot (a warm spot?) with many gay guys and some lesbians choosing to buy property there and start businesses.
There aren’t any gay bars as such but head to KOKi Beach Restaurant and Bar or ask at one of the gay owned businesses as there are often informal events where the locals get together and hang out with tourists or Tico boys from San José.
Pura vida and enjoy Costa Rica!