It is impossible to build a web site that claims to cover all of Costa Rica, and leave off the adult activities available here. First, it is estimated that between 15 and 25% of all visitors to Costa Rica have this as all or part of their motivation to visit the country. The biggest draws are our course prostitution and gambling.
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Prostitution is perfectly legal in Costa Rica. Theoretically, those individuals who have registered as prostitutes are regularly examined by a doctor and carry ID cards. Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) provides sex workers with a free exam every 15 days. Not all go. Many of the ladies (and gentlemen) do not register. Some that have do not get regularly examined, and quite frankly, it would make little difference as many of the more dangerous STD's (AIDS) may not show up for months on any test.
The bottom line? Be real careful. While prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, procuring the prostitute or acting in any way as a go-between (pimping) is not. Again, the reality is different. As you walk through some areas of San José, there are offers made, usually by persons on the street. There are also a number of hotels that while being perfectly legitimate with clean rooms and nice facilities, have bar areas or other areas where you can find anywhere from 10-100 ladies waiting to be of service depending on the time of day. One in particular has a really fine Sunday breakfast buffet. This is changing and there are now adult facilities in Jaco and on the eastern side of the country.
There are also a ton of web sites promoting sex vacations, adult vacations, adult tours, escorted tours, exotic vacation, special tour guides. These are simply businesses that hook up the prostitute and the client. The government does little to control this, probably as it is not a very visible form of pimping and few folks are offended. While the government decries adult travel, they certainly do not complain about the income it brings to Costa Rica Obviously there are also escorted tours that are not involved with prostitution. The content of the web site will be pretty much tell you right away if you are where you want to be.
Costa Rica Sex Health Facts August 2005
"In Costa Rica there are more or less 8.750 women who dedicate themselves to sex work", said Dr. Solón Chavarría Aguiar, who is the coordinator of the HIV program of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).
He also stated that 2.700 women are currently being treated for HIV at the Centro de prevención y control de infecciones de transmisión sexual I.T.S.
Drilling down on the statistics, studies by the Centro shows that out of every 100 women sex workers, 6 have Syphilis and 1 is HIV positive and of every 100 men sex workers, 6 have Syphilis and 7 are HIV positive.
Studies indicate that of every 100 female sex workers, 6 have Syphilis and 1 is HIV positive.
Of every 100 male sex workers, 6 have syphilis and 7 are HIV positive.
Ugh! Be careful out there!
One area of downtown San José is known as the Zona Roja or Red Zone. This is a truly nasty and very high risk area and your chances of being hurt are very great.
Here, at just about any time of the day or night, you will find prostitutes, drug dealers, and a variety of perhaps less than savory folks. Drugs are everywhere. If you travel here for an adult getaway, I would urge you to check out the hotels mentioned above as you will be far safer.
Sadly, it is not uncommon to be approached by girls and boys as young as twelve years. Do NOT even think about dealing with these children. (See Below) First, be aware that it makes absolutely no difference under Costa Rica law if an under age child approaches you or you approach them. It is your responsibility to make sure they are of legal age, 18. Mess with one of them, and your vacation here can be extended about 35 years in a Costa Rica prison. Hotels like those above a vigilant and never permit underage persons to even enter the building. Believing that a person is over age 18 is NOT a defense in Costa Rica. Regardless of how old they may appear, if they are underage, you have serious problems. Also, you can be almost 100% sure that any of these street people in the Red Zone are probably involved in using or distributing drugs and their health (STD's or otherwise) would certainly be highly questionable.
Second, and I repeat! The Red Zone is a dangerous place no matter how seasoned a traveler you are or where you come from. Avoid it. You will be a huge target there and your chances of being robbed, beaten, mugged, or worse, are very real.
Costa Rica has become a pretty popular place to come if you like to play poker, and more specifically, Texas Hold-em. There are some excellent international tournaments held here several times per year, and a nice selection of smaller tournaments every week. The larger tourneys draw a number of world class players.
Blackjack is popular, but be aware that that 21, blackjack, or rummy here are pretty different with really crummy odds that heavily favor the house even if you play a perfect game. However, many folks really don't care and play for the fun and camaraderie.
The government is currently active in passing new and really stupid laws that affect gambling here. More and more restrictions are being made or trying to be made. One recent law tried to limit casinos to just 8 hours per day and placed other restrictions as well. If this interests your, I wrote about it here.
A large number of the original sports books are no longer operating.
While I am not a big gambler, I really enjoy going to one downtown haunt for college football and on Sunday for pro football! The food is great (and priced right!) and with a good crowd of fans, it makes for a great time. The nice thing is that these places never bother you to bet or gamble, so it is fine entertainment. Of course I always manage to lose a few colones as I leave because I do stop for a few minutes of blackjack!
In most places in the world the term nightclub means a place where you can go for dinner, maybe a live show, dancing and so on. Well these nightclubs are different and the live show is not for the kids.
Nightclub here means nude strip clubs or private dance clubs... the live dancing tends to be of the "table dance" variety. Some do offer food and of course all offer drinks. Entry fees, cover charges, membership dues, all refer to the cost of entry. Prostitution at these locations is not unheard of. There are also a variety of clubs that are patronized by gay Costa Ricans.
Don't expect some large and very strong woman named Martha to give you a Swedish massage. These ladies will be a lot better looking, the appointments will not be for an hour, and your muscles will not get much treatment. These massage locations used to be a lot more common, but an effort to clean-up the San José area has reduced the availability. Still, they are around, and asking can get you an answer.
Interestingly, it you want a REAL massage (i.e. no sex), you can get one in many locations all over Costa Rica, and they are cheap and good. In fact, many masseuses will come to your house. My wife and I have one who comes to our home for 12,000 colones each and stays about two hours. That is about $11.00 each! I paid $60.00 for 45 minutes several years ago when I left Chicago and that was at their location! Hotels of all sorts offer massages, but you are going to get hosed on the price (though still way less then in the US).
Any kind of sale or distribution of drugs is a serious offense and will result in serious jail time if convicted.
Usage of drugs seems to be a different matter. Possession of marihuana, for example, seems to be no big deal in small quantities... like 1-2 joints... but that does not mean it is legal. It just means that you may not be arrested... or maybe you will!
Stronger drugs like crack or cocaine will cause you serious issues. I have read, but I cannot verify, the US agents of the DEA are here and may poe as tourists or vendors of drugs.
Perhaps it is just best not to make any drugs usage part of your visit to Costa Rica.
The age of consent in Costa Rica is 18 for both men and women and that includes gay or heterosexual interaction.
If anyone is thinking about coming to Costa Rica because they heard it was a good place to have relations with children, I would think again.
The government here does not tolerate it, nor do the people, and there is a very active enforcement effort to eradicate it. You will never know if the person you are talking to is undercover, and there are really good sting operations that net a lot of these people each year. Fool around with kids, and you may never go home.
Costa Rica uses an antiquated version of Napoleonic law. In Costa Rica, the law is not "innocent until proven guilty" as in the US and many other countries. Here, it is more like "innocent for now, but you are still going to jail, without bail, for a year or so while we prove you ARE guilty".
I am not joking here. Those accused (i.e. not convicted) of crimes are held in "preventative detention" (i.e. a nasty prison), for up to a year or longer, without bond, while the police and prosecutor build their case against them.
This covers ANY criminal activity in Costa Rica, regardless of how petty YOU may think it is.
Think twice before you do anything here that makes you eligible for extending your vacation in this manner.
No, the US Embassy will not be able to get you out.
I discuss gay travel elsewhere so I will just say that there are a goodly number of gay hotels and at least one hotel that caters to lesbians. I have visited 3 or 4 and these are very nice indeed. All those I visited had all the amenities of any good hotel in Costa Rica and were very clean. Rates are the same as for any other hotel. These hotels are very discreet and from driving by, you cannot know they are gay oriented. In fact, I have told Ticos (Costa Rica) they exist and unless they were gay, they never knew they even existed. Many will pick you up at the airport with nothing more than a sign with your name on it.
In some areas of San Jose, transvestites (also known as a shemale) are commonly seen on the streets st night. I will warn you that at times, they can be VERY difficult to distinguish from women. Sadly, there has now been an increase in attacks by these persons, so if this is your thing... use caution.
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