THE TIMING COULDN’T BE BETTER for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit Costa Rica. This verdant hot spot renowned for its eco-friendly policies is gearing up to become the first nation in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage.
This historic milestone — taking place in May — provides the latest example of Costa Rica’s evolution as an LGBTQ+-friendly destination according to Ernest Calderon, general manager, Gaycations Costa Rica, an LGBTQ+ tour and travel company. “My first visit to Costa Rica was back in 2002,” he recalled. “Back then, there were only a few LGBT establishments. Most were in San José and Manuel Antonio, [and] most LGBT travelers opted to visit only these two areas. Now, [more than] 15 years later, we are sending LGBT travelers to many different regions of the country. There are now many LGBT-owned lodges and restaurants in many different regions of the country. Over the years, the country has become much more open-minded, the LGBT pride festivals have exploded with attendance year after year, and this May 26 same-sex marriage will be recognized.”
Hotels are already gearing up to welcome more LGBTQ+ couples. Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, touts its appeal for LGBTQ+ elopements with a variety of eco-friendly wedding options.
Other hotels providing a warm welcome to LGBTQ+ travelers include Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton, opened in 2018 as a major revamp of the historic Gran Hotel. Travelers can explore the scenic Caribbean coast while checking into Banana Azul, a gay-owned beachfront hotel in Puerto Viejo, a laid-back town that hosted its first pride event in 2018.
Gaycations plans on a surge in LGBTQ+ couples. “We already have a huge amount of LGBT travelers that vacation here for anniversaries or honeymoons,” Calderon said. “We can only expect these numbers to grow significantly. We already know that Costa Rica is a huge destination for heterosexual weddings, so there’s no reason to think that the LGBT community will not take notice, as well. I, for one, will be tying the knot here with my partner of eight years on June 27, 2020.”
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