2023: 11 Days in Costa Rica
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 people you could ever meet! This is a true Costa Rican experience from the diverse landscape, to the exotic animals, to the Gallo Pinto for breakfast.
Our 11-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. We genuinely love Costa Rica and can't wait to share this paradise with you!
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Our trip officially begins together at our group hotel at 4:00pm on this first day. This is where we'll all gather to begin 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 you'll be treated to 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 local nightlife before heading out of the "big city" the next morning.
Manuel Antonio is just a 3 hour drive from San Jose, but it's 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 long beach, or checking out the incredibly abundant life in Manuel Antonio National Park, then spend the evening experiencing Manuel Antonio's social life.
Our accommodation here is at the well known LGBT-only Villa Roca hotel, perched on the cliff with stunning views over the Pacific Ocean. The infinity pool (and Jacuzzi) is a great place to connect with your group and other travelers after a day of adventure.
Included: Manuel Antonio National Park entrance and 2 hour guided walk with an expert local wildlife spotter.
Optional: ATV tours, ziplining, parasailing, snorkelling, horseback riding, etc.
On day 5 we continue about 4 hours drive north, way up into the mountains to the town of Monteverde. Known as a "cloud forest", this area is known for its lush green forests, waterfalls, hiking trails, and biodiversity. The sunsets over the valley below are stunning, the ziplining is the best in the country, oh, and the local microbrewery is delicious.
We're here in Monteverde for two nights, at a beautiful eco-lodge, just a couple minutes walk into town. It's a great place to soak in the surrounding nature, enjoy a hike or a coffee tour and, if you're up for it, take a ride on Costa Rica's longest and highest zipline too.
Included: Hiking in Monteverde National Park OR a coffee/chocolate tour, your choice
Optional: Hanging bridge tour, zipline/swing (Costa Rica's longest), bungee jump, nature walks.
From Monteverde, we'll take a private 3-hour bus/boat/bus transfer down the mountain and across Lake Arenal, to our next stop located at the base of the imposing Arenal volcano. It's the iconic, perfectly symetrical volcano that's found on the front of most postcards from Costa Rica, and it's right at our doorstep for 3 nights. Our hotel pool here is fed by natural hot springs, but we'll also 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. Fantastic white-water rafting opportunities, along with white-water tubing, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, and many more unique activities to choose from here.
Included: Visit to the natural hot springs river. Evening transfers in/out of La Fortuna town.
Optional: White-water rafting, hiking, kayaking, zorbing, and many more...
We take the "scenic route" through the mountains and past impressive waterfalls as we travel back into San Jose for one more dinner together before saying our adios for now's! If your flight time permits, maybe take a quick trip out to one of the volcanoes that surround 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 11th day.
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica feels like a whole different world away from the Pacific coast and interior parts of the country and, if you've got some extra time to spare, a visit is well worth it! While your 11-day group trip focuses on the western half of the country, you'll love the unique landscapes and Caribbean culture of the eastern coast.
Our 3-night extension package includes your roundtrip transfers from San Jose to the beautiful Puerto Viejo, including the option of a shuttle transfer OR an "adventure transfer" which includes white water rafting a section of the route! On top of that, we'll set up your 3 nights of accommodation at the beachfront Banana Azul Hotel, a visit to the Jaguar Wildlife Centre, and a trip to the nearby Bri Bri Waterfall. If you'd like us to set up more activities, just ask. This unguided extension package can be added to any Costa Rica trip by request.
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: Presidente Hotel
The Presidente 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 rooftop restaurant/bar. Situated steps from San Jose's main pedestrian street, you'll find shops and restuarants minutes away.
MANUEL ANTONIO: Villa Roca
Manuel Antonio's well-known LGBT-only hotel is the perfect base for enjoying Manuel Antonio. With a fantastic swimming pool and jacuzzi perched on the cliff over the Pacific Ocean, a great daily happy hour, and only minutes to the beautiful Manuel Antonio beach, you're going to love staying at Villa Roca.
MONTEVERDE: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
This property is a natural oasis of flora and fauna, just a 3 minute walk from the main town of Monteverde. Each upscale, cabin-style room offers beautiful forest views, where you'll wake up to the sound of birds chirping (the nice birds, not roosters - promise). The hotel also has a fantastic restaurant will a wood-burning fireplace and can even offer on-site massages in your room too. Paradise.
LA FORTUNA: Arenal Manoa
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 natural hot springs-fed pool. The ground of this property are beautiful, the views are unforgettable, and the mood is oh so relaxing.
*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 after the heat of the day. Our trips are scheduled in the best-weather times of the year and avoid the July-to-September rainy season.
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 with something like DuoLingo before you arrive! We recommend starting off with “Hola” (hello), “Gracias” (thank you), and of course “Donde esta la playa?” (where’s the beach?).
LGBTQ rights in Costa Rica are impressive, given the influence of conservative religions in this part of the world. Same-sex marriage and adoptions have been legal since 2020, transgender people are able to change their legal gender and the country is recognized as a leader in human rights in Latin America.
Local Costa Rican 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. Rice and beans are staples here too. 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 $16 USD, so if your dinner bill costs 5,000 Colones that's only $8 :)
Tipping isn’t a native Costa Rican custom, however, it has become an expected part of the tourism industry, similar to most other places in the world. 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 at least 500 colones in on top of that. That extra bit is very 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! Click on the "accommodations" tab to get a better idea of what accommodation we use on this trip.
All Detours trips are led by one of our own Detours trip leaders. They're there with you every day and 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. Consider them like a friendly concierge that's traveling along with you. All of our trip leaders are gay and all are well-traveled and experienced in the destination they're leading in, so they'll be a great part of your experience!
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, 11 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 offer advice to extend your trip. 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, 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 acceptable range.
What's included? • All taxes • All land transportation within Costa Rica • Accommodations for your 11-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 • 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 $700 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 in cash.
Andy F. - USA
February 6, 2022
This was my first Detours experience, and I still can’t believe how life-changing it was. I gifted myself the trip for a milestone birthday, and I thought it would be interesting to say the least. I did not expect to come home with such a dramatic shift in perspective on so many aspects of my life, as well as some amazing new friends!
I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of preparation the Detours team puts into their trips. Brandon, our trip leader, was phenomenal. He tirelessly kept our group engaged and made sure we each got the most of our time in Costa Rica. He handled every detail, from the mundane to minor medical emergencies, with complete professionalism. He also knows how to have fun!
I cannot overstate how much I appreciate work the Detours team takes in curating the details of their trips. The accommodations were wonderful, with breathtaking views along the way. There are more activities offered than you will be able to complete in one trip. I took advantage of every activity and opportunity presented, and I don’t regret a thing! A couple minor scrapes and bruises are sweet reminders of having been on an adventure. If you have mobility concerns you can always opt out, but I hope you can enjoy as much as possible.
I absolutely hope to join Detours for another trip someday. If you are thinking of going on a trip with Detours, bring an open heart and mind, and a sense of wonder – Detours will take care of the rest!
Brady B. - USA
November 8, 2020
On March 20, 2020 we embarked on a vacation to Costa Rica with Detours Gay Adventure Travel! This trip became a life changing event for all of us. At the very start of the pandemic, we arrived and met 7 wonderful people. This was literally right before knew how crazy Covid-19 would get. From there we all faced daily anxiety related to the Covid-19 virus. And we all made decision to make the best of it as safely as possible. As many of you will recall things were changing in the World minute by minute. Thankfully we booked with Detours and they helped us find solace in the vast Costa Rican jungles, in the breathtaking nature, in the gorgeous beaches, in the waterfalls, the raging rivers, at the coffee plantation, throughout the city, with the people, in the delicious food, peering out at the massive Volcano in La Fortuna , sitting in the hot springs, listening to music, hiking the waterfalls at the Villa, sharing each other’s stories and basically creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Owner Miles and tour guide Brandon took care of us beyond expectation. Try to imagine owner Miles watching one tour after another shut down across the World. He kept calm and continued to be a delightful host the entire trip... Miles and Brandon never missed a beat for our 13 day adventure!!! With each change, Miles and Brandon kept us informed and ensured that our trip carried on, so long as it was still safe to do so. Thank you for being the best thing that happened to us in 2020, aside from Trump losing the Presidency. ❤️🏳️🌈
Thomas H. - UK
May 19, 2020
I have been on two trips with Detours to Greece and Costa Rica. Both trips have been superb. Lots of fun in a group of guys who you meet at the start, with whom you become close knit by the end. Plenty of absolutely great activities and exploring to do. Thoroughly recommended for Gay and Bi travellers!
Spencer S. - USA
March 31, 2020
I am VERY impressed and would DEFINATELY use Detours again and again and again! Can't wait for another adventure. Thanks Miles and Brandon... Coo-coo!