Is Costa Rica gay friendly? Yes. Here’s my take.
Recently, on a whim, I decided to spend a few weeks in Costa Rica. I had never been to Central America before, but my best friend Nadia has been living in the jungle for about a year, so I figured it was about time I went down for a visit. I wondered though, is Costa Rica gay friendly? I’m hardly closeted by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.
I should start by saying I had no idea what to expect from Costa Rica. Also, fun fact, it isn’t an island. I always thought Costa Rica was an island in the Caribbean, but apparently it’s landlocked, just below Nicaragua, above Panama. Being an ignorant American, I thought that there would be Costa Ricans waiting for me at the airport to bash my head in with a rock and try and ransom me back to my poor American family, but I was surprised in the best possible way. Not only is Costa Rica tolerant of all kinds of people, but I would even say it’s gay friendly.
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I should start by saying my friend Nadia is trans, and she lives there with her awesome boyfriend Noam. They are building a gay-friendly restaurant in the jungle called Hir Fine Dining, so I got a true taste of what jungle life is like, and really integrated myself into the community there (as much as I could without speaking a lick of Spanish). Here are several of my experiences to back up my claim that Costa Rica is gay friendly.
Most people in Costa Rica are laid back. They live by a rule called pura vida, which basically means pure life. When you go there you see how people just keep to themselves, and are totally happy with what they have in front of them (food, shelter, and family). The people there don’t judge you (which I know because I was wearing some super gay clothes). At one point our car broke down and some random Costa Rican guy stopped to help. He didn’t make me feel bad for just standing there and posing like a GAYCPenney mannequin.
Gay marriage is nearly legal. Although it’s been a tricky few decades for same sex marriage in Costa Rica, in January 2018, the Costa Rican government announced it will allow gays to marry based on international law. There are lawsuits currently pending to allow for gay marriage, so its only a matter of time before it is fully legalized in Costa Rica and jungle homo destination weddings become a thing. So to answer the question of “Is Costa Rica gay friendly?” this is an important insight.
Gays can donate blood. One of the most infuriating things about being gay in America is that we cannot donate blood. This is especially troubling for me, since my mom died of leukemia, but donated blood was the only thing that kept her alive in the last year of her life. In 2007, a ban on homos donating blood was lifted in Costa Rica, proving that the United States has a long way to go in terms of equality, even when it comes to preserving human life.
LGBT people can adopt children, although same-sex couples cannot. While this is a little bittersweet, it does prove that Costa Rica is headed in the right direction when it comes to the hundreds of thousands of children out there that need good homes.
Gay people seem to be a non-issue. I know its definitely different depending on where you go in Costa Rica, but the Northern part where I was (the Guanacaste Province), seemed to be a magical enclave where you could just be yourself and live your best jungle life. My trans friend and I went all over the place and nobody even batted an eyelash at us. Everyone was kind, and patient, and didn’t even mind that I didn’t speak their language.
Overall, if you are thinking of a tropical adventure, Costa Rica needs to be at the top of your list. The natural beauty of the country is something every LGBTQ person needs in their life, and the laid-back acceptance of the people will give you hope that not every country is filled with backwoods, racist, redneck homo-haters that are more willing to follow the human equivalent of a nuclear orange dumpster fire than acknowledge that racism is still very alive and well in the United States. Is Costa Rica gay friendly? I say yes.
Costa Rica changed my gay little life. It is a bucket list place for every LGBTQ person looking for a little Eat, Pray, Love (minus the eat of course, if you’re still hoping to trim down your dad bod before summer’s end).
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