Pride is everywhere these days, especially down south. Same-sex marriage in Mexico and Argentina, civil unions in Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay that's just the beginning of what makes Central and South America an exciting hot bed of gay activity. Now comes Costa Rica. While rights are still in flux, a group of entrepenurs and lodging owners are making sure to get the party started ahead of time with a four-day dance party in Quepos/Manuel Antonio from July 21 to 25.
Sponsored by Hacienda Matapalo (a gay-friendly resort community on the southern Pacific Coast), the long weekend kicks off with a Welcome Dinner Party at Raphaels Terrazas on Thursday, July 21 and concludes with a Sunset Tea Dance at Barba Roja on Sunday, July 24. Other parties include a Friday night dance party at a popular Manuel Antonio club on July 22, an afternoon floating dance party leaving from Quepos harbor on Saturday, July 23, and the big Jungle Heat Dance Party at Rancho Alegria on Saturday night, July 23.
Best of all, the parties coincide with the the Quepos/Manuel Antonio's first Pride event, Festival de la Diversidad, so everything is priced to be accessible to locals: about $20 max.
Josh Flagg, best-selling author and out star of Bravo's TV hit Millon Dollar Listing, hosts the whole shebang, offering a primo intro to the area's attractions, and who knows, maybe selling some condos in the process. (We do like to see him in the groove!) Additionally, organizers will be building off the country's reputation as an eco paradise and stable, well-developed tourist infrastructure, by partnering with a local adventure tour company that caters to gay travelers. Expect treetop canopy zip-lines, whitewater rafting, rainforest horseback riding, an afternoon dance cruise, Manuel Antonio National Park tours and more, all in the $35 to $85 per person range.
If you're not ready to plunk down a cool mill on an ocean-view penthouse, check into the following gay-friendly hotels instead. Discounted rates forthcoming:
- Hotel Gaia (www.gaiaHR.com) High end with an incredible spa, from about $300 per night.
- La Mansion Inn (www.LaMansionInn.com) Seven deluxe rooms available at $175 per night.
- Hotel Villa Roca (www.VillaRoca.com) or Hotel Casa Blanca (HotelCasaBlanca.com) Both exclusively gay, with moderate pricing and rooms from about $65 per night. Villa Roca offers great ocean views.
- Coyaba Tropical Bed & Breakfast (www.CoyobaTropical.com) Jungle Heat guests staying four nights or more receive a 25 percent discount on green season rates;' $65-85 per night, gay-owned
- Hotel Mandarina (www.HotelMandarina.com) Rainforest views with rooms from $70.