Prostitution / Gambling
From Costa Rica Travel Guide: Vacation and Travel tips
The CAJA COSTARRICENSE DE SEGURO SOCIAL will even provide ‘working girls’ (and men) a free exam every 15 days. Unfortunately many don’t go and many women (and men) do not register. And still others that have registered don’t get regularly examined. Bottom line, you enter into casual sex in Costa Rica at your own RISK.
It is worth noting that while prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, procuring the prostitute or acting as a ‘pimp,’ or go between is not. That said,there are a ton of web sites promoting sex vacations, adult vacations, adult tours, escorted tours, exotic vacation, special tour guides. These are simply businesses that hook up the prostitute and the client. The government does little to control this, probably as it is not a very visible form of pimping and few folks are offended.
Many towns have brothels and San Jose has an abundance of them. San Jose is the epicenter of all female and male prostitution and escort services in Costa Rica. Many luxury hotels, bars, and casinos actually cater to sex tourists with what seems to be a 10-1 ratio of prostitutes to patrons. You need to know, that if you enter this world, there can be a number of risks involved- personal injury, theft, humiliation, possible jail time etc.
Many other nations have a bigger problem with sexually transmitted diseases and the AIDS virus than Costa Rica, but as everywhere else in the world, HIV/AIDS and other STDs are common in Costa Rica. I could list facts and figures, but again, play smart, take responsibility for your sexcapades (condom) and a Hepatitis vaccine is also highly recommended for anyone who anticipates sexual contact with the local inhabitants.
San Jose's RED ZONE
San Jose has an area aptly called the Zona Roja or Red Zone (for you gringos). This place puts the 'sketch' in 'sketchy. This is the place where you find the prostitutes, drug dealers, and the riff-raff of Costa Rica, at just about anytime of the day or night. It's dangerous here, and you enter the Red Zone at your own risk. You have a very good chance of being hurt here.The probability of being approached by underage girls and boys is very high, and some can be as young as twelve years old. Keep in mind Costa Rica law does not care how old the 'child' looks, or whether they approach you - or you approach them, if they're under 18,
The Red Zone is not a tourist destination where you would go just to say you were there - the threat of being robbed, beaten or mugged is very HIGH regardless of how worldly you think you are or where you come from. This is not your turf. Avoid it.
Sex with a Minor
It was reported by ABC’s 20/20 show in 2000 that Costa Rica was second only to Thailand in underage sex tourism. Fortunately, the Costa Rican government is starting to crack down on offenders. There are serious penalties for anyone convicted of buying sex from a minor, including hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. The tourism board of Costa Rica (ICT) started a highly visible campaign to discourage and warn tourists from engaging in the underage sex trade; the campaign consists of leaflets, billboards and signs posted in airports and along the major freeways and roads warning of the risks.
So, if anyone is thinking about coming to Costa Rica because they heard it was a good place to have inappropriate relations with children...ummmmmm, think again.
The government and the people now have a very low tolerance for this behavior, and there is a very active enforcement effort to eradicate it. You will never know if the person you are talking to is undercover, and there are really good sting operations that net a lot of these people each year.
Fool around with kids, and you may never go home.
Gambling is alive and well in Costa Rica, although not on quite the scale it is in many other countries. Besides the plethra of casinos in San Jose, with the low taxes and little government involvement, small casinos have popped up throughout the country, even in remote areas. Don't be surprised if you stumble upon a little make shift casino operating under a thatch roof or in some back-room with only a few machines. Fortunately, taxi drivers usually know where these places are located. Use your head; these places often make their own rules.
Texas Hold-em which has become quite popular in recent years, is popular here as well. Costa Rica is even home to one of the premier Texas Hold-em players, Humberto Brenes, aka ‘The Godfather of Costa Rican Poker Players’. So be assured, poker is alive and well here. There are international tournaments held here several times a year, and there’s always the smaller tournaments held every week.
Here, blackjack isn’t blackjack per se, it’s blackjack with a ‘rummy’ twist. Confused? The rules are almost identical, except that the house doesn’t pay 1 ½ times on blackjacks- but it pays double on any three of a kind or three-card straight flush. It works like this: if your first three cards are the same, three of a kind, or a straight (6, 7, & 8 of the same suit), you have a ‘rummy’ and you are paid double. And if your three of a kind happens to be three sevens (which is 21), you get an even higher bonus. If you get 21 with two cards or get five cards without breaking 21, there’s no double bonus as you get in many other international casinos. Splitting pairs is allowed as is doubling down. In some, You may find yourself losing with a push with the dealer. Even if you're a skilled blackjack player, the odds heavily favor the house, but hey, you gamble for the social aspect of it all- right?
You’ll find a ‘very’ different version of five-card-draw poker (which I quite enjoy), but the rules are a little complex to explain them here, so I would recommend sitting down and watching-asking questions, before getting in a game. And what casino would be complete without slot machines- they’re here as well, and you’ll be able to play electronic slots and poker games and have the worse odds imaginable just like anywhere else in the world. Most of the bigger facilities, especially in San Jose, will also have Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Craps, Mini-Baccarat, and Pai Gow Poker.
Most casinos here are fairly casual in regards to dress, but in some of the more fancier hotels you may want to dress-up a bit.
Here's a list of some of the bigger casinos:
Cariari - Melia Cariari Hotel & Country Club
Ciudad Quesada - Luky San Carlos Casino
El Roble - Caribbean Village Fiesta
El Robledal Uruca - Barceló San José Palacio Spa & Casino
Goicoechea - Radisson Hotel & Casino Europa
Golfito - Hotel Sierra and Casino
Guanacaste - Hotel Flamingo Beach Resort & Jazz Casino
La Uruca - Irazù Hotel Best Western & Casino Concorde
Perez Zeledon - Hotel & Country Club del Sur & Casino del Sur
Playa de Jaco - Barceló Amapola & Jazz Casino
Playa de Tamarindo - Hotel Tamarindo Diriá & Jazz Casino Tamarindo
Playa Herradura - Los Suenos Marriot Golf Resort & Stellaris Casino
Playa Jaco - Hotel Cocal & Casino
Playa Panama - Premier Fiesta Resort & Spa
Playas del Coco - Flor De Itabo Hotel & Casino Hotel Casino Coco Bay
Puntarenas - Hotel Yadran & Casino Adriatico
Quepos - Kamuk Hotel & Gallo Casino
San Jose - Club Colonial Casino Bar & Restaurant, Del Rey Hotel & Casino del Rey, Fiesta Casino Fiesta Casino Costa Rica at the Garden Court Hotel Horseshoe Casino Hotel, Hotel Presidenta, Herrudura Resort & Casino Krystal, Quality Hotel Centro Colon & Casino Costa Rica, Royal Dutch Hotel & Casino