Costa Rica is quickly becoming a more tolerant country, it still remains fairly conservative when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Most citizens affiliate with the Catholic Church, but only half of the people practice the religion. Older people subscribe to the beliefs of machismo (overt masculine behavior) that creates a climate where homosexuality is seen as immoral, but is often tolerated as long as remains a private matter. For most Costa Ricans sex is an intimate personal topic and tend to live by a "don't ask, don't tell" way.

Age of consent Edit

Homosexual sexual conduct between non-commercial, consenting adults in private has not been a crime since 1971 - However "scandalous sodomy" is illegal since 1971 (possibly meaning public or commercial sodomy) is a crime punishable by up to 4 year prison. The age of consent, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender is 15.

Civil rights Edit

In 1990s the Costa Rica Human Rights Committee and the Costa Rica Supreme Court issued rulings that that protected the freedom of LGBT people to organize into gay rights associations and to establish gay bars and nightclubs. In light of these government changes, a number of low-key LGBT rights associations and nightclubs began to appear.

In 1992 the LGBT rights association called "Pink Triangle" (Triangulo Rosa) was created and it was followed by other organizations such as the "Good Water Association of Human Rights" that focus on human rights and health care issues impacting the LGBT community.[1] The organization operates with a handful of volunteers.

In the later 1990s the Costa Rica Catholic Church organized protest against LGBT tourism and sex tourism. Yet, Costa Rica still remains a popular designation for gay-friendly tourism packages.

In May 20, 1998 the General Law on HIV AIDS was passed. It contains an article regarding discrimination:

ARTICLE 48. – Discrimination
Who ever applies, arranges or practices discriminatory measures because of race, nationality, gender, age, political, religious or sexual option, social position, economic situation, marital status or by any suffering of health or disease, will be sanctioned with penalty of twenty to sixty days fines. The judge will be able to impose, in addition, the disqualifying penalty that corresponds, of fifteen to sixty days.

On March 27, 2008 the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, signed an executive order designating May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia, committing Costa Rica to join others around the world in working to eradicate bias against gays and lesbians.

Family law Edit

Costa Rica does not offer legal recognition to same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Recently a court challenge did not force the government to offer some level of recognition to same-sex couples, however the court commented there was a lack of recognition for this unions.

Political parties Edit

Most Costa Rica political parties prefer to ignore LGBT rights issues, with some exceptions. The Libertarian Movement Party generally supports a Libertarian perspectives on gay rights.

There is a political gay organization called Movimiento Diversidad.

Gay life Edit

A local NGO called CIPAC provides workshops, sexual education, resources, books, condoms, has a free 24 hour help call line and organizes festivals.

There is a vibrant nightlife scattered in San José consisting of discos, saunas, night clubs, cafes and bars for gay or gay friendly. Namely these include "Bochinche," "Club OH," "Al Despiste," "Punto G," "La Avispa," and "Puchos." On the Pacific coast the town of Manuel Antonio is very gay oriented-friendly and some hotels and bars are gay owned. There is a nude gay beach here called "la playita". The rest of the country lacks special places for gay people.

There are local magazines "Gente 10" for gay men, another one for the Manuel Antonio - Quepos area and one for lesbians. Several international magazines and books can be bought locally.

There are several local websites and chat sites for GLBT as Gaycostarica, ticosos (Costa Rican bears) and others.


  1. Gay and Lesbian Travelers, Costa Rica in English
Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at LGBT rights in Costa Rica. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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