The lovely San Jose is not Costa Rica’s cultural capital for nothing. The multi-faceted the city is chock-full of museums, cutesy farmers markets, historic neighborhoods, and a vibrant nightlife. San Jose’s denizens, colloquially known as Ticos, are famously accepting and tolerant which has led to the city blossoming into a tropical getaway for the LGBTQ set. In the last decade, there has been a profusion of gay hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica to cater to the growing number of LGBTQ travelers to the city. What’s more, many of the smaller resorts, hotels, and B&Bs are gay-owned as well.
San Jose’s gay scene is centered around the Catedral District of the city, which also happens to be its cultural quarter. The neighboring Dolorosa and the southeastern corner of the Merced neighborhoods is perhaps home to some of the best gay bars and clubs in the city. Apart from these, San Jose also has a host of gay bathhouses, an LGBTQ community center, and even a bookstore. In fact, not just San Jose, but the entire country as a whole is making social progress regarding the LGBTQ community. As of May 2020, Costa Rica will become the first country in a largely conservative Central America to legalize same-sex marriage.
So naturally, San Jose is big on gay accommodation to suit a wide range of fancies and wallets. Here are the top 11 gay hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica for you to check out.
Colours Oasis Resort
Colours Oasis Resort is one of the only two adult-only, gay-only hotels in San Jose. Plus, the resort is also recognized by IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association). Although the address says San Jose, the resort lies on the outskirts of the city away from the hustle and bustle. For those looking for a laidback, chill vibe while being close enough to city attractions, Colours Oasis should do the trick.
23 rooms at Colours Oasis lie across a two-story structure and make for an intimate stay. Apart from the standard set of mod-cons, some rooms even have full kitchens which are great for indulging in a romantic cooking spree with your partner. Each room has a private patio with chairs perfect for sipping on a cuppa or enjoying a glass of wine. However, its the tranquil and lovely jacuzzi and pool which are the center of the action, or rather all the relaxation, at the resort. They’re great for a lounging-around day in San Jose. Kick the romance quotient up a notch by indulging in a couples massage at the spa on-site.
Colours Oasis enjoys excellent transport connections too. Pavas train station is a 15-minute walk, from where Dolorosa and the cultural quarter are a mere 20-minute train ride.
Delve into the gay scene of San Jose by staying at the stunningly pretty gay-friendly Casa 69. Housed in a lovely 1930s-built Costa Rican home, the award-winning B&B is one of the most enchanting gay hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica.
For those who love everything old-style, Casa 69 will win them over with its well-kept, fenced courtyard and a gorgeous rooftop sundeck. A lovely living-cum-dining area with stunning chandeliers is perfect for striking conversations with fellow LGBTQ travelers. A small, planted grotto garden patio is where a free, tropical, home-cooked breakfast is served every morning to perfection. It’s a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee or read a book in solitude. Also, the staff is more than happy to help with booking tours of nearby attractions. For the best taste of San Jose, we’d recommend this fantastic walking tour of San Jose which allows you to explore the city like a local.
The 17 spacious rooms at Casa 69 are done up in bright colors channeling the tropical theme and are dotted with beautiful local art. Floral fabrics, white walls, and cozy sitting areas lend the room a distinctly relaxed vibe. Plus, the rooms all have standard mod-cons and private baths.
Hotel Santo Tomas
Located just north of San Jose’s cultural and gay districts is the gay-friendly Hotel Santo Tomas. Cultural attractions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and Morazan Park are just down the street. Plus the gay scene at Dolorosa is a mere 15-minute walk. If you’re looking for a risque time, head to the sexy La Casita De Oraculo.
The 1908-built historic property boasts of ornate ceilings and floors, classic mahogany furniture, and watercolor paintings. There’s even a historic wing with vintage maps and clapboard walls. Even though it lies smack dab in the city center, quietude is rife at Hotel Tomas. A tucked-away terrace and courtyard garden make for tranquil lounging spaces. A balmy day is ideal for indulging in a heavenly swim in the plunge pool, complete with a waterslide and a hot tub. The sun loungers are great for enjoying a beer by the poolside, which is open 24/7 and lit up beautifully at night. Guests can choose between Ticoan and American breakfasts, with made-to-order egg dishes. Plus, the hotel has several social spaces for playing games, reading, and catching up with fellow guests. For those who like working out on vacations, the open-air fitness center is adequate.
The 30 rooms at Hotel Tomas are distributed across the 100-year-old original wing and the newer wing with spacious digs. The older rooms boast of patterned bedspreads, potted plants, tiled ceilings, and clapboard walls. For those who want to splurge, the deluxe rooms have patios with views of the pool and the city.
Capital Hostel de Ciudad
Nestled amidst leafy gardens in San Jose’s Sabana Sur neighborhood, the laid-back, gay friendly Capital Hostel is just what budget LGBTQ travelers need. The well-connected hostel is a 10-minute walk from Contraloría train station, from where the cultural and gay districts are a 10-minute ride. What’s more, La Sabana Park is right next door.
Great attention to detail has been given to the interiors of the hostel. It has the fun concept of pod beds in dorms, each with its own light, shelves, and a privacy curtain. For those who want privacy, there are options for rooms as well. However, its social events and spaces at the hostel that are its best feature. There’s a wonderful backyard with a barbeque for lively evenings and even a yoga space. A fun lounge with board games, instruments, and a pool table is ideal for striking conversations and meet-cutes. Bibliophiles will love the idea of the book exchange, while those looking to get work done have the comfort of a workspace too. Begin your day with a hearty included breakfast. It’s served just off the full kitchen, which is great for whipping up meals to satisfy any untimely hankerings.
If that wasn’t enough, the hostel even has free walking tours every day. It’s an amazing way to not only get your bearings but also meet fellow gay travelers.
Real Intercontinental Hotel & Resort
The gay-friendly Real Intercontinental Hotel & Resort is a great choice for an upscale frill-full hotel in San Jose. The hotel lies in the affluent Escazú neighborhood, which is a 20-minute drive from downtown San Jose.
‘Scale’ is the catchphrase at the Intercontinental, which houses a massive pool complex, five restaurants, and what is the largest urban spa in Central America. Local charm has been infused in the form of local art, vibrant furniture, and wood ceilings. Guests can choose to lounge at three outdoor swimming pools or work out at their comfort in the 24-hour fitness center. The most decadent amenity of them all, however, is the 16,000 square-foot spa. Choose from a plethora of treatments, relax in the sauna, and luxuriate in the extravagance.
Rooms at the Real Intercontinental are some of the most spacious in the city and are divided between two connected buildings. Apart from a slew of mod-cons, the suite and Club rooms feature separate soaking tubs, complimentary snacks, beverages, and drinks, terrycloth bathrobes, and even complimentary breakfast.
Finca Rosa Blanca
LGBTQ travelers to San Jose looking for exclusivity and luxury should look no further than Finca Rosa Blanca. The coffee plantation resort is easily one of the most luxurious gay hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is ensconced in the hills overlooking San Jose and is only half-an-hour away from downtown.
The eco-friendly resort possesses a rambling vibe, with sculptures and plants dotting the place. The main guesthouse has a sunken central atrium with a waterfall and a fireplace. The manicured grounds and gardens boast of coffee plants, mango trees, and lots of bird species that have made them their home. The place is peppered with benches all over and makes for the ultimate reflection and relaxation space with views of San Jose and beyond. The spa furthers the relaxed vibe and offers a range of treatments using local ingredients like chocolates. If that wasn’t enough, the heavenly waters of the spring-fed infinity pool and the hot tub are to die for.
What’s more, there is a range of interesting activities for the guests to do. The coffee plantation next door is akin to a forest and even arranges coffee tastings for guests. The library also features board games and there are salsa and yoga classes both offered in the hotel. Furthermore, intrepid adventurers can opt for the hotel-arranged excursions to the cloud forest and volcanoes.
Rooms at Finca Rosa Blanca aren’t cookie-cutter either. They’re spacious and decorated in a Bohemian way with art and couches. Wood is ubiquitous and is complemented with vibrant bathroom tiles and white stucco walls. If that wasn’t enough, the lovely patios have arrangements for brewing your own coffee. What more could one want?
Hotel La Amistad
LGBTQ travelers looking for budget hotels close to the cultural and gay district of San Jose will find that the Hotel La Amistad perfectly suits their needs. The gay-friendly hotel is within walking distance of some of San Jose’s top attractions including the National Theater and the famous La Calle street. It’s also just 10 minutes away from San Jose’s biggest gay club, Club Venue, as well as other gay bars. Plus, the fantastic gay sauna Club Hispalis is just four streets over.
The lovely La Amistad was once a mansion for coffee barons. A million-dollar renovation turned this 34-room private mansion into a modern luxury hotel, complete with a restaurant and a martini bar. Each room in this 1920’s era mansion boasts of a unique B&B feel. The rooms feature shades of red and a mix of old-world and modern luxuries. For those who want to splurge, there are six penthouses of which four offer dry saunas and Jacuzzis spas. The top-floor penthouse has a spacious patio with spectacular views of the city and the valley.
Even though its a budget establishment, La Amistad doesn’t skimp on the extras. A free, made-to-order breakfast is served in the upscale dining room of the restaurant. Moreover, the hotel offers a slew of fantastic tours for its guests, including ATV tours, city tours, beach tours, volcano tours, and even a catamaran cruise.
Hilton Garden Inn La Sabana
The gay-friendly Hilton Garden Inn sits right across from Costa Rica’s National Stadium and the verdant La Sabana gardens. The elegant hotel is an excellent choice for LGBTQ travelers looking for upscale accommodation in San Jose in an equally premier neighborhood.
Guests at Hilton Garden Inn can choose from deluxe rooms and suites, which are ultimate in space and luxury. Apart from super-comfy beds, they also have seating areas with ergonomic chairs, private modern bathrooms, and a slew of mod-cons. However, it’s the floor-to-ceiling windows that are its best feature, which boasts of sweeping vistas of San Jose and La Sabana gardens.
The hotel boasts of equally excellent amenities. Begin your day with a fantastic spread of a continental breakfast served to perfection in the hotel restaurant. Gym rats will appreciate the well-equipped, contemporary fitness center. However, its the sun-kissed outdoor swimming pool with loungers that will grab your attention the most. Last but not the least, the quaint and cozy lobby bar is an excellent place for enjoying an evening cocktail.
The gay friendly Casa Mandala is one of the best-located gay hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica. It lies in the stunning green neighborhood of Rohrmoser and has panoramic views of some of the most magnificent volcanoes in Costa Rica. At the same time, the upscale, commercial centers of San Jose like Escazu are within walking distance of Casa Mandala.
The gay-owned, gay-friendly B&B lends the distinct impression of being a home away from home. Rooms feature personal touches, sleep-inducing beds, and even sitting areas with loveseats. However, its the communal spaces of the B&B that have the utmost charm. The TV and reading space is great to curl up with a cuppa for some ‘me’ time. Dig into a delicious, home-cooked, and hearty breakfast on the inner patio every morning while enjoying the solitude. End your day with a glass of wine and your partner by your side on the lovely balcony. Apart from helping book day trips, the B&B also arranges for couples massages should the guests want them.
Who wouldn’t want to live in what is supposedly San Jose’s only hotel with a private garden? Welcome to the gay-friendly boutique Hotel Kekoldi located just north of the Catedral and Dolorosa districts of San Jose. It happens to be one of the first gay friendly hotels in San Jose. It’s also the best base for exploring the city’s historic sights on this marvelous 2.5-hour cultural and heritage walking tour of San Jose.
Rooms at Hotel Kekolid feature originally tiled floors, fresh flowers, and local art sprinkled all over. Guests can choose between standard, superior, and the larger queen rooms if they’re traveling in a group. Plus, the beds are super comfy and there’s even a desk with a sitting area for space.
The lovely Art-Deco hotel offers a certain degree of solitude in the midst of the busy neighborhood it lies in. The 1920s colonial structure boasts of a lovely sun deck, terrace, and garden where a full continental breakfast can be enjoyed every morning. For such a quaint hotel, there are a fantastic number of activities that LGBTQ guests can enjoy here. Intrepid adventurers can rent bikes and explore the neighborhood. Foodies can take cooking classes to know more about the local culture. Every day, one will see guests heading off on regular walking and biking tours. The hotel even arranges for outdoor activities like fishing, diving, and snorkeling for those guests who’re looking for them. What’s more, amazing evening entertainment in the form of live music, performances, and bar crawls are also offered.
Hotel Grano de Oro
The gay-friendly heritage hotel of Hotel Grano De Oro is the perfect base for LGBTQ travelers looking for characterful accommodation in San Jose.
The hotel boasts of is spread across three wooden buildings that date back to the early 20th century. A chic beige-taupe exterior with white trim makes for the perfect frame for the Victorian-style structure. White-and-black photographs of San Jose, fountains, and lush plants lend an innate Costa Rican charm to the hotel. Modern additions include a small outdoor terrace sprinkled with loungers and two hot-tubs. It is the ultimate relaxation spot on the property. While there’s a treatment room, guests can even opt for getting massages in their own room. Breakfast is served in a gorgeous central courtyard with upscale, fine-dining seating. Guests can choose between an à la carte breakfast with pancakes and huevos rancheros or a continental one. The hotel even makes breakfast boxes for guests heading out early, and complimentary coffee is made available in the lobby.
Rooms and suites at Grano De Oro are equally grand. Even though they feature plush fabrics and wood floors, they all give off a uniquely different historic feel. Those who revel in luxury can choose the deluxe rooms with private patios or the decadent Vista de Oro suite with sweeping views of San Jose and a hot tub.
Get Some Culture in San Jose:
- San Jose Pride: While San Jose Pride celebrated its 10th edition in 2019, the celebrations were doubly special. It was the first Pride Parade in the city post the court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry. The parade even saw President Alvarado, who is all for LGBTQ rights, proudly march with a sign that said ‘Never again will you walk alone’.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in San Jose:
- Club Venue: This is the biggest and best gay club in San Jose where you can dance and party till the wee hours of the morning.
- La Avispa: This probably San Jose’s longest-running gay bar and disco, having been around since 1979.
- Club El Teatro: This is a dance club with themed nights and drag shows.
- La Casita De Oraculo: A risqué gay fetish club with naked nights, gay darkroom, erotic naked shows, and strippers every night.
- Pucho’s: This is another racy gay bar with leather nights, erotic shows, strippers, and an ‘anything goes’ atmosphere.
Best Gay Saunas in San Jose:
- Club Hispalis: This gay sauna is the largest, cleanest, and busiest in San Jose.