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Gay San Jose

Beyond San José:

One quarter of Costa Rica is protected as wilderness reserves. If you like sand and surf, choose from the pristine beaches of Guanacaste, or the gay beach at Manuel Antonio, or to the east the very different feel of the Caribbean beaches along that coast. A trip to Isla Tortuga by sailboat can make for another pleasant day.

There's plenty to do, from the wild cloud forests, central plains plantations, northern savannas and mountains to the hot nightlife and international cuisine of the cities and resorts. Relax in hot springs or luxurious hotel pools or beneath wild waterfall cascades. Hike the paths to see peaceful Morpho butterflies or raucous monkeys or to the edges of placid pools or lava-spewing volcanoes. Whitewater rafting, surfing and horseback riding or sweeping through tree canopies on strung lines are a few of the many ways to experience Costa Rica.

Driving can be fun, too. Little beaches near Dominical invite a stop before starting south on the route 34 coastal road from Puntarenas to Manuel Antonio, offering spectacular views at every turn.
Cartago | Monte Azul:

A day trip from San Jose could include Cartago, the old capital 25 kilometers to the east, where two cathedrals draw tourists. One is a 500-year-old ruin, the victim of several earthquakes; the other, famous for an "appearance" of the Virgin, attracts pilgrims by the millions.

Monte Azul mountain retreat, in an old Cartago coffee plantation, has made each it's suites into a mini art gallery. Nearby the highest point in Costa Rica, Mt. Chirripo, rises to over 12,500 feet. A number of artists are in residence, and near perfect year-round temperatures encourage lush vegetation in a multitude of microclimates. Here, you'll enjoy the rainforest right outside your door, pamper yourself with a spa treatment, take fun workshops, go horseback riding, bird watch, or enjoy an original culinary experience at their restaurant. Monte Azul is 3 hours south of San José, by way of the Pan American Highway.
Copa De Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort:

A 70-acre luxury beachfront eco-resort set in a pristine rainforest reserve on the Osa Peninsula in Southern Pacific Costa Rica. Luxurious accommodations perfectly situated between Drake Bay and the Corcovado National Park in an area known as “Caletas” (small coves). Accessible only by boat, the area is one of the most remote and untouched places on the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica.

White-faced monkeys swing from the trees while toucans and scarlet macaws circle overhead. Endless small coves and beaches, fresh-water lagoons, and miles of hiking trails that wind through the rainforest make this the perfect spot to simply relax all day or embark on an eco-adventure experience second to none.

Services/amenities include: exceptional customer service & attention to detail, with 30-person staff to accommodate a maximum of 24 guests; beachfront 4-level infinity pool & Jacuzzi; beachfront open air bar and restaurant; private boat-only access location two miles west of Drake Bay and no car, motorcycle, or party noises from town; luxury air conditioned cabinas a stone’s throw from the beach. Daily rates include: lodging; three delicious meals per day, fresh juices, coffee, tea and purified water; a welcome cocktail; and the use of kayaks & stand up paddle boards. See their website for transportation, tours, and activities.
Hiking in Braulio Carrillo National Park:

Braulio Carrillo is located in the Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area, on the eastern edge of the central volcanic corridor north of San José in the direction of Puerto Limón, and accessible from the Limon Highway. Divided into three main sectors (Zurquí, Quebrada Gonzales, and Barva) the park contains notable geological features such as the Barva Volcano, the Hondura River, the Patria River, and the Súcio River along with dormant volcanoes (Cerro Chompipe, Cerro Cacho Negro and Cerros las Tres Marias).

Barva contains three crater lakes and large areas of primary cloud and rainforest flora and fauna. Unlike more popular parks such as Poás and Manuel Antonio, the area is relatively undisturbed, with fewer visitors. Quebrada Gonzales and Barva ranger stations provide sanitary facilities and drinking water for hikers. Significant for its biodiversity the area is home to 600 identified species of trees, over 530 bird species, and about 135 different kinds of mammals.The trail from Puesto Barva to the La Selva Protected Zone in the north can be long and difficult, taking about 4 days of walking during good weather conditions.
Juan Santamaría:

The airport at Costa Rica's capital city is named for a national hero, Juan Santamaría, nicknamed El Erizo (the porcupine) for his spiked hair. The young man who joined the army as a drummer boy, and died a martyr in 1856, is memorialized with an annual holiday each April 11th and his statue stands in front of the Congress in San Jose. According to lore, Santamaría died setting fire to the hostel where military forces of the Ameridan adventurer William Walker were holed up in a lethal firing position. Walker, who is known for attempting to turn Central America into his own personal slave-holding empire, was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.
Manuel Antonio | Villa Roca:

To the south of San Jose, on the Pacific Coast, Villa Roca is a gay owned and operated resort, exclusively for gay men, lesbians and their friends. Nestled on a hillside, ideally located between the village of Quepos and the National Park of Manuel Antonio, with stunning views of the rain forest and the Pacific Ocean. The setting is a wonderful garden of tropical plants and exotic wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas and rare birds, among others, in their natural habitat.

Their Jacuzzi is located below in the most private, tranquil section of the garden providing a perfect intimate setting. Other amenities include an infinity edge pool, and a poolside cocktail lounge. The bar is also open for visitors every Wednesday, 4-8 pm. Complimentary WiFi high speed Internet access is available in all guest rooms, and restaurants, bars, shopping and the beaches are all just a short walk from the resort.

Direct flights from San José´s international airport Juan Santamaria (SJO) are available to Quepos (XQP) in a scenic 20 minute flight over the mountains to this small town, world famous LGBT destination. If coming from San Jose, Villa Roca management offers: domestic flight reservations with SANSA; private car service with driver; private shuttle Sservice operated by Interbus with A/C; and rental car reservations.
Manuel Antonio National Park:

On the coast, 82 miles from San José in the coastal Central Pacific Conservation Area just south of Quepos, Puntarenas, this is the smallest national park in Costa Rica - just three square miles. Listed among the world's top dozen by Forbes Magazine, it has lush tropical mountain forrests, coves, coral reefs, white sand beaches, and hiking trails.

Beaches include: Manuel Antonio separated from Espadilla Sur by a "tombolo" of sand; plus Teloro, and Playita. A hike of one hour takes one from Espadilla to the top of Punta Catedral high ground. Both Manuel Antonio and Espadilla Sur beaches have tidal pools for snorkeling. There is a visitor center here, plus many more trails, waterfalls, rest areas, and scenic overlooks.

The wildlife includes monkeys, sloths, ignuanas, lizards, snakes, dolphins, whales, and bats, plus 184 types of birds (toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, Turkey Vultures, parakeets and hawks). Scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, and hiking are other popular activities that attract around 150,000 visitors each year.
Monumento Nacional Guayabo | Guayabo National Park:

Archeological site covering 540 acres, 10 miles north of the town of Turrialba, Cartago, in high plateau rain forest on the outskirts of the Turrialba volcano (in area known as Little Switzerland for it's scenery). The settlement is believed to have been occupied between 1000 BC and AD 1400, after which it was abandoned. The main water supply system still functions, and cobblestone roads (calzadas) that lead to a ceremonial center stretch several kilometers. Carved stone designs and drawings of animals can also be seen. The Costa Rican National Museum MNCR now maintains the site, and holds a number of the artifacts found here.

The beautiful forest location is inhabited by sloths, howler monkeys, hundreds of bird species including toucans, and plenty of other wildlife. Inexpensive and helpful guides may be hired for personal tours. From San Jose take Highway 2 (Pan American Hwy) East to Carago, then Hwy 10 to Turrialba, and Hwy 219/230 towards San Antonio and Santa Cruz beside the park. There are also buses - check local tour services.
Poás Volcano National Park:

Covering an area of about 1600 acres, with a summit of 8,900 feet, the volcano is located in the Central Volcanic Conservation Area of Alajuela Province near the Pacific coast. From the edge of the 950 foot-deep main crater you can see frequent small geyser and lava eruptions. The most recent major eruptions were in 1952-54.

Other attractions include the extinct Von Frantzuis and Botos craters - the latter a beautiful cold, green water lake with a 1,200 foot diameter, that last erupted about 7,500 years ago. The park frequently closes due to sulphuric gas emissions, and experts believe the volcano may be building towards a new eruption.

Wild plant and animal species include Magnolia trees, and the Bangs' Mountain Squirrel, plus 79 bird species, including Quetzal, and many varieties of hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers and toucans. Coyotes and marmots may also be seen.
Stay Right on the Beach! | Banana Azul:

On the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, at Playa Negra, near Puerto Viejo and Limon, Banana Azul is a place to rest and relax beside miles of unspoiled Caribbean beaches and tropical rain forests. Hosts Colin Brownlee (from Vancouver, BC) and Frédéric Spahr (from Québec City) welcome travelers to their hotel built of local hardwoods, with 14 beautiful guest rooms, all with private bath and free WiFi. Their 8-person cool water jacuzzi flows into a brand new swimming pool, and ranchos provide shade as you enjoy poolside bar service. Puerto Viejo offers a large selection of restaurants, craft shops, local tours, and nightlife entertainments.

Banana Azul's most popular excursion mixes wilderness exposure with invigorating excitement. The Pacuare River is famous for the pristine beauty of its gorge, flanked by steep, green walls. Waterfalls cascade into the river from both sides as colorful, tropical birds fly above virgin tropical rainforest. The white water of Costa Rica’s premier river trip is equally exciting, with many rapids on the descent --likely to be one of the most memorable river trips you'll ever experience. Email and see their website for more information.
The Northern Pacific Coast | Hotel Bula Bula:

A visit to Costa Rica would not be complete without visiting Hotel Bula Bula and beach communities of the Northern Pacific. The region offers ready access to volcanoes, rainforest canopy tours, waterfalls, hot springs, and any kind of beach and water sports you can imagine -including long board, short board, or boogie board surfing. You can fly directly into the province from many airports in North America.

Hotel Bula Bula is located on the Tamarindo estuary in Playa Grande, a five minute walk to a white sand beach boasting one of the most consistent surf breaks in Costa Rica, and incredible barrels. The nearly private beach is also a terrific place to unwind and collect seashells. Tamarindo, a town featured in the surfing movie Endless Summer II is just across the estuary.

Horseback riding, hiking in the cloud forests, and guided wildlife tours of the Tamarindo estuary can be arranged, or relax all day in a hammock by the pool doing nothing more adventurous than sipping a tropical martini.

The nightlife rivals the wildlife with a restaurant serving simple to sumptuous food, and a full bar, the Great Waltini’s. The mood is friendly and casually elegant. Tamarindo is just a water taxi ride away, offering local art, culture, shopping and entertainment options including discos, live music, and a variety of bars and restaurants.
The Southern Pacific Zone | Las Aguas:

Take an adventure in the jungle, then cool off in the falls! The Las Aguas tropical lodge is the only gay destination in the rugged mountains of Costa Rica's Southern Pacific Zone with the amenities of a resort hotel. Adjacent to the lodge are amazing twin 40-foot-high waterfalls, in a tropical forest preserve of rivers, cascades, swimming holes and a natural water slide. The main lodge has deluxe accommodations, a café/bar, nightly movies and Wi-Fi access. A pool, spa and 24-hour workout area are located in the gardens, and waterfall adventures, horseback tours, canopy zip lines, ocean kayaking/snorkelling, and white water rafting are all nearby.

The beach at Manuel Antonio is just one hour from Las Aguas by way of the newly paved Costanera Highway, so restaurants and nightlife are within easy driving distance. Las Aquas specialize in small group adventures with concierge service, from $299 per night for up to 10 guests in the main building. Additional guests pay $28 per night to a maximum of 22 guests. A 3-night minimum stay is recommended, but shorter stays and individual accommodations may be arranged on a last minute space available basis. Email for pricing and availability.