Home / Immigration  / Love is Love in the Land of Pura Vida

Love is Love in the Land of Pura Vida

A Catholic Latin country isn't the first place you would think of as a retirement or vacation destination for the LGBQT+ community - but Costa Rica isn't like most other Central American countries. It is

A Catholic Latin country isn’t the first place you would think of as a retirement or vacation destination for the LGBQT+ community – but Costa Rica isn’t like most other Central American countries. It is consistently one of the top countries for retirement with expats. A healthy outdoor lifestyle, various climates to choose from and lower cost of living than in the United States or Canada are all factors for choosing the Pura Vida path.

Costa Rica is one of the most progressive countries in Central America and was the first country in the region to deem same-sex marriage legal on May 26, 2020. This also included national legislation that offers partners benefits and allows them to be added as dependants in the health care system and pensions. It is also possible to apply for temporary residency as a same-sex couple here in Costa Rica when one of the partners in marriage is a national citizen and it has been legal to adopt children since May 2020.

Many LGBQT+ publications such as the Advocate, have been promoting Costa Rica as a gay-friendly travel destination or a great place to settle down in retirement. Gay travel grows at a rate of 3x faster than other travel groups. The majority of couples have no children and double-income households. Many resorts and hotels have LGBQT+ packages and events throughout the year. There are several travel groups and companies both in Costa Rica and around the world that specialize in creating dream vacations and excursions for your time here. 

You can find wedding packages tailored to your wishes – small or extravagant.  Destination weddings are very popular and Costa Rica is no exemption.   You can choose to have a ceremony with your toes in the sand, standing near a volcano, or a small civil ceremony. Endless possibilities for a  day to remember. If you would like more information on the legal requirements and steps for getting married in Costa Rica you can contact us here at Outlier Legal Services. We perform civil marriage ceremonies at our offices in San Jose and Liberia, or at the location of your choice throughout the country.

Every year (pre-covid) in San Jose the nation’s capital,  tens of thousands of people celebrate the LGBQT+ community with the Marcha de Diversidad (Pride Parade).  There is a booming nightlife scene in San Jose and other towns such as Manuel Antonio, and Puerto Viejo.  Despite being a country with conservative values, Costa Rica has been a favorite vacation and retirement area for the gay community for decades.  Manuel Antonio is said to be the “hot spot” for retiring/vacationing LGBQT+ community members.

It is also noted, that although there is acceptance and support in the above-noted communities and towns, this may not be the case in the smaller towns or more rural parts of the country. It is recommended that you always keep your own safety in mind and decide for yourself how to adjust your behavior or trip itinerary. If travelers do experience unwanted attention, be sure to move to a more safe place and report to authorities if it is deemed appropriate. Like anywhere else in the world, using common sense and being aware of your surroundings will negate the most difficult situations.

Additional information at sites such as www.gaycostarica.com and www.iglta.org – these are great sources of information and are working to promote safety and equality in the LGBQT+ community worldwide.  You can also find more resources here.



She has worked as an Immigration and Customs officer for 8 years in Canada as well as over 10 years of experience in Social Services in both Canada and the United States. She is also a photographer, animal lover and yoga teacher

Review overview