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Costa Rica is a Catholic, conservative, macho country where public displays of same-sex affection are rare and considered somewhat shocking. Public figures, politicians, and religious leaders periodically denounce homosexuality. However, gay and lesbian tourism to Costa Rica is quite robust, and gay and lesbian travelers are generally treated with respect and should not experience any harassment.

For a general overview of the current situation, info on LGBT friendly hotels, bars, and tour agencies, and news of any special events or meetings, the website www.costaricagaymap.com is your best bet, especially for gay men, and to a much lesser extent for lesbian women. If you speak Spanish, you'll want to connect with the Comunidad Arco Iris (CARI; tel. 2221-1636; www.caricr.com), which serves as a meeting place and information clearinghouse for the entire LGBT community.

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 954/630-1637; www.iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry, and offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses and tour operators.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.