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. Mabye 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.
What to bring?
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. Oh, and there’s no need to pack gallons of North American water in your bag just in case there’s no fresh drinking water in Costa Rica… yes, we actually had someone do that, and yes you can drink tap water in Costa Rica.
We REALLY suggest just bringing your regular bank card from home and using the Costa Rican ATMs to get cash; in our experience it’s much cheaper than any currency exchange service in Costa Rica or even at home. 10,000 Costa Rican Colones is worth around $20 USD, so don’t freak out if your dinner bill costs 5,000 Colones. Chill out –that’s about 10 bucks.
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! For more specific information check out our Accommodation Page.
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.
Extending Your Trip
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 minimum of 4 travelers and up to 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!
A Little Bit About Modesty
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, lots 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.
Communicating with Home
Relax – we won’t keep you from updating your Facebook status the whole trip. There are internet cafes and WiFi all over the place. If you’re more the “E.T.” type and would just rather call home, feel free to pick up a calling card at a corner store and make use of the many local payphones.
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.