4 min

Costa Rica: Sex and the single Tico

They’re not all looking for a sugar daddy and they’re not all hustlers

Sexy men at Al Depiste.  Credit: Photo courtesy Al Depiste

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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) and not generally as beefy as Cubans or Brazilians (since there’s little African blood), but damn cute. And, while the country is generally socially conservative, as is all of Latin America, it is more open to gay and lesbian travellers 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 is doing quite well, thank you) with chants of “putos” (fags). Mmmm, sounds pretty good to me: a team of athletic gay boys on a field wearing skimpy shorts.

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. 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, translated literally, means “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 blowjob. It also works well when you’re telling his mom later how great dinner is.

Ticos tend to be fiercely proud and rather possessive, too. You might hear “Te quiero” (I love you, sorta) 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 many 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 North America. Check your attitude about the developing world on the plane on the way there. 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 neighbours (50-plus years without an army will do that) and has a life expectancy longer than that of the United States (a public healthcare system and a much less stressful lifestyle will do that).

For such a small country, there are an amazing number of wonderful places to see in Costa Rica. But if you’re seeking sex, you’ll probably want to start with two: San Jose, the capital, and Manuel Antonio. San Jose has more than its share of gay bars and, for a change, of lesbian bars. It also has several gay bathhouses and several exclusively gay hotels. The bars run the gamut, from a video bar, 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, plus quite a few more. These three have been around for a while, but like everywhere, these things change rapidly, so check local listings. Several bathhouses await your pleasure as well. Parque Morazán and the park a few blocks east can be pretty cruisy, too, but be very careful, especially after dark.

The town of Quepos and the short stretch between there and Manuel Antonio National Park are the other gay meccas. There are a number of exclusively gay hotels and many gay-friendly ones, as well as a couple of gay bars. Pick up a copy of Circuito Playita for the latest listings and a map. But the real gem is the gay nude beach: La Playita. It’s a small beach but one of the most beautiful in the world. And it’s clothing optional; when the police drop by (not often), they’re not looking for nudity, but instead for drugs or petty crime. There are fun waves to play in (if you’re not a strong swimmer, be careful: there are riptides and people have drowned there) and lots of incredible shade trees overhanging the beach, so you can stay all day. And there are 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, and especially during the Costa Rican “summer” (the dry season) of December and January, when schools and universities close for the holiday. Behind the beach there is a little waterfall and some cruisy trails. And there are monkeys — if you’re not having any luck with the cruising, you can watch them leap from tree to tree instead.

Pura vida — and enjoy Costa Rica!

For the most up-to-date travel information on gay San Jose, see our City GuideListings GuideEvents Guide and Activities Guide.

For more information on Costa Rica, visit