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TRAVEL | FEATURE
lobster tail with a delicious citrus butter.
The city of San Jose is considered a less aesthetically pleasing
gateway to other more exotic Costa Rican locales, but since it
caters to a quarter of the country’s population, it has a burgeoning
restaurant scene. Experience fine Peruvian dining at the San Jose
Marriott’s La Isabela, where there’s a range of ceviches featuring
an evocatively named marinade, Leche de Tigre, or “tiger’s milk.”
Or to really treat her to some romantic ambience, try Restaurante
Grano de Oro. Set in a charming tropical-Victorian home with an
inner courtyard, it is a special-occasion destination for tourists and
locals alike. On the other end of the scale, hit up the 133-year-old
Mercado Central downtown. At this buzzing city market, you can try
some of the best-ever tamales and casados, (meat, rice, red peppers,
black beans, plantains).
For some bar fun, stop by El Gran Escape in Quepos, a gay-friendly
bar with cocktails made from the country’s most popular traditional
drink—Cacique Guaro, a sugar cane liquor of high purity.
ADVENTURE COSTA RICA
In contrast to its relatively new foodie scene, Costa Rica has a
decades-old reputation among adrenalin junkies and anyone looking
for shimmering beaches and natural diversity.
Top 5 Manuel Antonio activities
1. Take a charter fishing boat out of the
Marina Pez Vela for inshore or offshore
2. Take a guided tour through the
national park—the wildlife is varied and
the beaches fantastic.
3. Take the all-day tour of Los
Campesinos Reserve, where you’ll go
deep into primary jungle.
4. Spend the day at Playitas, the least
touristy beach in Manuel Antonio.
5. Ziplining through the jungle canopy
is thrilling. There are four companies
that offer ziplining tours close to
The best-kept local secret?
There are many waterfalls in close prox-
imity to Manuel Antonio, but the most
beautiful and least known is Nauyaca
Waterfalls—one of the most spectacular
in Costa Rica! Take a guided tour up to
the waterfalls and spend the day pick-
nicking and swimming in the waterfall
pool. Horseback tours are also available
up to the waterfalls.
Upcoming events for lesbians
Although not lesbian-specific, each
year there are two annual events worth
going to. Envision Festival, which is
held in late February, is just 40 minutes
south of Manuel Antonio. Envision is
an annual gathering that aims to bring
different cultures together, inspiring
everyone to co-create sustainable
community; practice yoga, spirituality,
art, music, and dance; and acknowl-
edge our fundamental connection
with nature. And Gay Pride in San Jose,
held in late June each year, is very well
attended and worth going to, with a
weekend-long party atmosphere in all
the gay venues.
Where the girls are
The best local gay bar in Manuel
Antonio is Karma Lounge. It is a mixed
crowd, not lesbian specific. Currently,
there is a lesbian night every second
Saturday of the month at Karma. La
Avispa in San Jose is a gay bar and
disco with a regular mixed crowd, a les-
bian and gay clientele. The last Friday
of every month is exclusive to lesbians.
Manuel Antonio is without a doubt
a most lesbian-friendly town. Locals
and expats have created an inclusive
culture, making everyone feel welcome.
There is no bias against LGBT travelers.
Many businesses are gay-owned or
gay-friendly. Sexual orientation is not a
divisive issue to those who live here.
This Manuel Antonio local left Washington, D.C., in January
2011, after a 20-year career in international development. Her
dream had long been to open a B&B catering to gays and
lesbians, preferably in a foreign country. Now, four years later,
she’s on the verge of making her dream a reality. Called Villa
Vini Vidi Vici, her B&B opens in Manuel Antonio in May 2015.
And as a bonus, she has a state-of-the-art fitness center, Pura
Vista Fitness. She chose Costa Rica for its laidback culture,
natural beauty, biodiversity, and inclusive society. Here are her
picks for visiting lesbians:
LOCAL LESBIAN—LAURA LYLE
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