Discover Costa Rica through sports and adventure activities — from zip lining to surfing, volcano tours, and river rafting
Travel tips, blogs and photos from Costa Rica — one of Central America’s most LGBT-friendly destinations and one of the world’s most eco-friendly countries. A great destination for every type of tourist!
Costa Rica Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the coolest things to do and see in Costa Rica
The most developed and perhaps safest country in Central America, Costa Rica is known above all, for its incredibly biodiversity. But as well as being home to all kinds of weird and wonderful wildlife, this small country also has some amazing beaches, vibrant cities, friendly locals and good, cheap food, making it an ideal destination for a tropical vacation! Start here with my basic Costa Rica travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Costa Rica travel blogs.
When to Visit
Though there are roughly two seasons in Costa Rica (wet and dry), the elevation and fact that it is the narrowest point of land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans mean that the country’s weather is variable most of the time meaning you should come prepared!
November to April is typically dry and occasionally windy, while May to October is wetter with sunny mornings and afternoon rain, though this is typically when many hotels offer discounts.
Other things to keep in mind when planning a trip to Costa Rica are its many annual festivals. In February, it’s carnival season, with many towns around the country holding their own traditional carnival taking over the streets and filling hotel options fast.
The Fiesta de los Diablitos in Boruca takes place every December and the town is taken over by a frenzy as locals wear masks to represent ancestral spirits and dance to reenact a victory over the Spanish.
Top Things to Do
Find a hidden beach – With an extensive coastline facing both the Atlantic and the Pacific, there are unsurprisingly hundreds of beaches to visit in Costa Rica. One that is particularly recommended is located only 10 kilometers from Puntarenas, the small, hidden beach of Playa de Doña Ana with black sand and strong waves is a great stop for sunbathing and for swimming. It has an entry fee (like most of Costa Rica’s national parks) but some services are available, including parking, a restaurant and grills for your own use.
Eat all the best Costa Rican food – Costa Ricans take eating very seriously, and they often have a serious sweet tooth! Coffee is also a vital part of the local cuisine, and that even as sweet as the Ticos might be, they still like their fruits sour. There’s a lot of unique and unusual fruit and food combinations to try in Costa Rican cuisine, so don’t be scared – give it a try!
Explore San José, Costa Rica – Though it is often left out of many itineraries to Costa Rica, the capital city has a certain charm of its own and it’s worth exploring. The markets, theaters, museums, contemporary art galleries and green spaces are all pretty cool, and it’s also a great place to base yourself for daytrips to some of the natural wonders nearby in the center of the country.
Costa Rica Tours
Though it’s such a small country and you can easily drive across it from one ocean to the other in a couple of hours, it is so packed full of natural wonders, quaint historical towns and other fun things to see, it can still be worth taking a tour to save yourself time and hassle.
LGBTQ – Costa Rica Gay Travel Guide
Costa Rica is often recognized globally as a welcoming and inclusive destination for all types gay travelers. In fact, it’s probably the most gay-friendly destination in all of Central America. While it’s important to remember that experiences can vary depending on personal preferences and individual encounters, here are three reasons why Costa Rica is often seen as a great gay travel destination:
1. Legal Protections – In 2020, Costa Rica legalized same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in Central America to do so. This legal recognition is a significant step toward LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity, offering legal protections and rights to same-sex couples.
2. LGBTQ+ Friendly Atmosphere – Costa Ricans, known as “Ticos,” are generally open-minded and friendly, creating an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance for LGBTQ+ travelers. While there may still be some conservative attitudes in certain areas, the overall attitude towards LGBTQ+ individuals is positive.
3. Gay Friendly Destinations – Some areas in Costa Rica are particularly known for their LGBTQ+ friendliness. For example, the capital city, San Jose, and the nearby suburb of Escazú have a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene with gay bars, clubs, and events. Additionally, the Manuel Antonio National Park area on the Pacific coast is a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers, with beautiful beaches and LGBTQ+ welcoming accommodations.
It’s important to note that while Costa Rica is generally welcoming, individual experiences can vary, and it’s a good idea to exercise discretion and respect local customs and norms when traveling.
Because most people live in the capital, it’s no surprise that most of the gay life is to be found there. Here are some things you should know about in San José.
Best Gay Bars in San José in Costa Rica
La Avispa – A salsa club, which also offers queer salsa lessons for anyone interested in learning and having fun with it. Uniquely, it’s one of the only queer clubs in the city that is intended for both men and women, making for a dynamic and quite different crowd than the other places.
El Trece – One of our favorites, and probably the best place in the city for karaoke (even though it’s often done as a group activity here!) to a soundtrack of mostly Latin American music from the ’80s and ’90s, with a lot of lyrics about broken hearts and emotional disappointments!
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Costa Rica Travel Blogs
A first time visitors guide to Costa Rica including specific travel tips on when to go, what to do and tips for San José and Manuel Antonio
Taste the best local foods of Costa Rica – from the tropical fruits to typical Costa Rican meals like the casado and gallo pinto, the essential foods to try
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world thanks to its perfect Central American location and commitment to preserving its many natural resources
A city often skipped by tourists, San José is a dynamic and interesting Central American capital city – popular for its nightlife & Costa Rica culture
Since studying Spanish intermittently throughout my life, I’ve picked up enough basic phrases and words to get by in most Spanish-speaking countries. But when visiting Costa Rica this past winter in the heart of Central America, I suddenly found myself speechless. As I quickly learned, the Spanish they speak in Costa Rica is slightly different …