12 Days in Costa Rica
Leave your stress at home, because it's not welcome here!
Leave your stress at home, because it's not welcome here! Costa Rica is where the word paradise was meant for. It's one of the most biologically diverse places in the world with dense jungles full of monkeys, sloths, reptiles and other tropical life, reaching out onto stunning white sand beaches. Nature is perfectly paired with adventure in this tiny Central American country and gives its visitors an unlimited number of opportunities to get as active, or as relaxed as you like! Soak away an afternoon in a hidden hot springs waterfall oasis, zipline through the thick jungle on one of the world's longest ziplines, take a surfing lesson from a local Tico, hike onto the hardened lava flow of an active volcano, or surround yourself with wild spider monkeys, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are endless!
Costa Rica is also known as the most gay-friendly country in Central America, with a lively gay social scene in San Jose and Manuel Antonio, and some of the friendliest local Latin people you could ever meet! This is a true Latin experience from the people, to the Salsa dancing, to the Gallo Pinto for breakfast.
Our 12-day trip has been designed to maximize your experience here and have you begging to stay forever! Instead of rushing around in a panic trying to visit as many places as possible, we’ve specially chosen three locations, plus San Jose that we know you’ll fall in love with. How are we so sure? Well, we’ve tirelessly tested out beaches, bars, bungalows and bit of booze just to make sure we can bring you the cream of the crop. We genuinely love Costa Rica and can't wait to share this paradise with you!
Most travelers will arrive in San Jose on day one and head to our meeting spot for our 4pm meeting and start of our adventure together. This time in the capital city of San Jose is a great introduction to the incredible country of Costa Rica as well as our first chance to get to know our fellow travelers. In the evening we'll have an authentic Costa Rican dinner which will allow everyone to find which foods are their favorite right at the start! At night you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself into some authentic Latin nightlife, so brush up on your Salsa dancing skills!
On day 2 we travel north of San Jose to the area of Arenal, famous for its very active volcano, gorgeous scenery, and lots of opportunities to keep active with zip lines, hiking, canopy adventures, and more. Along the way we'll head up to the crater's edge of the very active Poas Volcano, if the weather permits. In the evening we'll even take you off the beaten path, away from the crowds, to a hot springs waterfall oasis hidden in the jungle... as long as you promise not to share the location with the world! Your three nights here are your opportunity to be as adventurous as you'd like, this area definitely won't limit you.
On day 5 we continue down the road to our own private villa for the next three nights. Both of our private luxury villas are nestled in the Costa Rican jungle offering our groups incredible opportunities for exploring hidden waterfalls or beaches, as well as lots of activities to choose from! Relaxing in the outdoor jacuzzi at the end of the day, under the stars, listening to the sounds of the jungle is a moment you'll want to hang on to forever.
Manuel Antonio is known as one of the most diverse areas for flora and fauna with all kinds of monkeys, reptiles, birds, sloths, and plant life of course. It's also known as the gay beach area of Costa Rica with a lively community of gay guys from all over the world! Spend your day at the beautiful white-sand beach, or checking out the incredibly abundant life in Manuel Antonio National Park, then spend the evening experiencing Manuel Antonio's social life. Included in the trip is a guided walk through Manuel Antonio National Park with Gama, a local wildlife expert who is an incredibly talented and knowledgeable wildlife spotter.
We travel back into San Jose for one more dinner together and poolside drinks before saying our adios for now's! If your flight time permits, maybe take a quick trip out to one of the volcanoes in the city! And if you've got an extra few days we'll set you on the right path to continue experiencing this Costa Rican paradise. All travelers are welcome to book their flights departing from Costa Rica at any time on the 12th day.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
SAN JOSE: Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel is centrally located in the heart of San Jose, providing walkable opportunities everywhere you turn. This hotel provides a delicious a la carte breakfast and a fantastic in-house restaurant. Situated on the corner of a busy pedestrian street, you'll find shops and restuarants minutes away.
ARENAL: Lomas Del Volcan
This property features the Arenal Volcano front and centre - there's a view of it from every room! A locally-owned and comfortable location accomodates travelers with a relaxing pool and jacuzzi. All of the rooms contain two queen-sized beds, so you're sure to have plenty of space for activities.
MANUEL ANTONIO: Vela Bar Hotel
Vela Bar Hotel is mere minutes from Espadilla Beach, providing a perfect opportunity to relax at the nearby the Pacific ocean or its accomodating swimming pool. Manuel Antonio is right next to the (appropriately named) Manuel Antoni National Park.
LAS AGUAS: Villa Los Aires
During our time in Las Aguas, we book a private villa exclusively for our group. This gay owned and operated property is set on 60 acres of jungle and has five waterfalls on the grounds. Features include an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, an exercise facility, a cafe with espresso bar, and a cinema.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
Don’t worry about getting chilly, at only 8 degrees from the equator Costa Rica has a tropical climate year-round. Temperatures here generally average highs of 27C/81F, and lows of 21C/70F, although it can get chilly when we hit high elevations so it's a good idea to bring a light jacket and a pair of pants. If it rains it’s usually in the afternoon, and these unlikely showers are a refreshing cool-down and make a great excuse to try out your favorite rain dance.
Costa Ricans are incredibly friendly, happy and easy going people! It's not difficult to make friends with the local Ticos while you're here. Maybe consider learning a few words of Spanish while you're here or have some locals teach you how to dance Salsa or Merengue! We recommend starting off with “Hola” (hello), “Gracias” (thank you), and of course “Donde esta la playa?” (where’s the beach?)
Costa Rica is home to some great Latin food! Their local cuisine tends to be a mix of food from all over the region from Gallo Pinto for breakfast, to Mondango (try it if you're brave) for dinner. Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off, then encourage you to explore all of the different restaurant options available to you for lunch and dinner. This way you can eat when you want, where you want, with whomever you want, and spend what you want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you'd like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Costa Rica is a relatively inexpensive country, meaning even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can just pick it up on the trip for cheaper than what it would have cost back home. We'll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 60 days prior to your trip.
Costa Rica uses a mix of their own currency (Costa Rican Colones) as well as US Dollars. In an effort to avoid bank fees, we suggest arriving to Costa Rica with some local currency (around 200,000 CRC) as well as your ATM and credit cards just to be completely prepared. 10,000 Costa Rican Colones is worth around $20 USD, so if your dinner bill costs 5,000 Colones that's only $10!
Tipping isn’t a native Costa Rican custom, however, it has become a part of what is expected from Westerners like us. We suggest tipping for services in a similar way as you would at home; that is, if your dinner bill is 5,000 colones then we encourage you toss 500 colones in on top of that. That extra dollar is extremely appreciated by the service staff.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach or other hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All of our trip leaders are gay, and all certified leaders must undergo a rigorous training routine that includes deep-fried cricket eating, and impromptu dancing tests. Apart from these vital skills, we require our leaders to know their stuff really, really well. Underneath their fun and quirky facades, our guides are experts and passionate about what they do. Don’t hesitate to ask them to teach you some Spanish or question them about a random statue you might see along the way. Their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Costa Rica for.
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Costa Rica will come from the sound of crashing waves, an bilingual parrot squawking, or perhaps even monkeys jumping onto the roof of your bungalow.
For many people, 12 days in Costa Rica just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a beach bum in Central America for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over the area, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete.
Our Costa Rica group trips are run with a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life!
As previously mentioned, Costa Rica is Central America's most gay friendly country and most people are welcoming of homosexuality. That said, the Costa Ricans are largely devout Roman Catholics, and public displays of affection (gay or straight) are generally frowned upon. In respect for their local culture we usually suggest keeping your excitement and affection for your partner to more private locations.
No problem! Don’t worry, overall, over 50% of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solos. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.
Costa Rica uses a "type A" and "type B" plug, the same as North America and several other places in the world. The voltage is 120V with 60 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range.
What's included? • All taxes • All land transportation within Costa Rica • Accommodations for your 12-day Detours experience • All full breakfasts • Manuel Antonio Park access and guided tour • La Fortuna waterfall access and hike • Hot springs visit in La Fortuna • Group travel within Costa Rica • San Jose city tour • Knowledgeable and fun Detours trip leader •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare • Optional gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $600 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1000 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Costa Rica with approximately 200,000 local Costa Rican Colones.
Our travelers love us, and you will too.
Lawrence T. - USA
August 28, 2017
I don't know where to begin but I want to thank you for accommodating me to the Costa Rica trip. It was a trip of my life I will never forget. How do you guys do it? It was flawless in every single way, I had 12 days of pure bliss with the new friends I have made in a country I've never been before. It was PERFECTION! The birthday cake surprise with a full crew singing happy birthday in spanish was an unexpected addition to the trip. I almost cried. Drama! Thank you!
James has been super amazing. I have never met such a beautiful soul. Actually, me and a few guys from the costa rica trip are planning on a mini reunion by joining one of his tours in Peru next year. Watch out!
Steve C. - USA
January 5, 2018
A great way to travel with 12-15 strangers who truly become close friends after 12 days of sharing amazing experiences together. You immediately connect with gay travelers (mostly men) who come from all parts of the world, both singles and couples in all age ranges. Provided are ground transportation, hotels, some tours, and a guide who is outgoing & locally knowledgeable. There is an outline itinerary, usually spending 2-3 days in each city, but activities are flexible and can be customized to your taste. Not super structured, allowing you to go with the flow. The group often breaks off to do separate activities that appeal one another. I've done Thailand and Costa Rica. Thailand a unique experience in culture, surroundings, night life. Costa Rica cool if you prefer outdoor adventure, waterfalls, beaches, etc. Regardless of your destination, you can't go wrong with Detours. Miles, James, Dan, & Shane all equally do a great job to make sure everyone is taken care of at all times during your the trip.
Eric S. - USA
January 28, 2018
Just finished a tour with Detours Travel to Costa Rica for 12 days over xmas and new year's. Had a wonderful time. I traveled by myself and paid the extra money to have my own room. It was well worth it. The group of guys (14 of us including James our outstanding tour guide) was an eclectic mix of gay men. I highly recommend Detours Travel for anyone who likes to travel and be a part of a really nice group of guys.
Scott B. - USA
February 3, 2017
Great Trip! Great travel service to do business with. If you are like me, a bit hesitant to book a tour from a company I found on the web - my advice is to go for it. Detours is easy to do business with, very responsive to any questions or concerns and I had a great trip! I couldn't ask for anything more. Our adventure leader, James, did a great job of making sure everyone in the group had a great trip and took care of any request that came up along the way. I look forward to booking another adventure with Detours in the near future.
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