Prostitution / Gambling

From Costa Rica Travel Guide: Vacation and Travel tips

Jump to: navigation, search


Prostitution does NOT endorse or promote prostitution in any WAY, we merely report on what is true and relevant for YOU- the potential Costa Rican traveler.

The short answer is YES, prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. The law here allows men and women 18 and older to work as prostitutes and there are literally thousands of them in the country. No matter WHAT other websites try to tell you- The legal age of consent in Costa Rica is 18 for both sexes. But many places on the web will tell you the age of consent is 16 and sometimes even 15, usually for their own nefarious reasons. Theoretically, individuals who have registered as prostitutes are suppose to be regularly examined by a doctor and carry ID cards showing that they are indeed disease free.

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.

Sex and Strip Clubs in Costa Rica

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,
In Costa Rica Sex comes at a PRICE
In Costa Rica Sex comes at a PRICE
and you decide to go for it, you may become a long-time resident of Costa Rica to the tune of 35 years. (The Embassy can not get you out). As this area is sketchy, you can bet that most people 'working' in the Red Zone have their own issues with drugs and/or health issues, such as, STD's. It's also a pretty safe to say keeping their health card current, or even having one for that matter, is NOT a top priority.

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.
Gambling is ALIVE and well in Costa Rica.

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:

Costa Rica plays host to many international Texas Hold-em tournaments each year.
Costa Rica plays host to many international Texas Hold-em tournaments each year.
Cabo Velas Santa Cruz - Paradisus Playa Conchal & Jazz Casino Conchal

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