In a country that is already considered to be relatively LGBT-friendly, Manuel Antonio is somewhat of a “gay-hotspot” in Costa Rica.
When we visited back in April 2018, we were very surprised by the number of gay-owned hotels and businesses in this small town. And so where better to stay whilst we explored “gay Manuel Antonio” than the beautiful, gay-owned Tico Tico Villas.
The Background of Tico Tico Villas
Tico Tico Villas is owned by gay couple Eugene and his partner Terry.
Eugene and Terry first visited the area 19 years ago, fell in love with Manuel Antonio (and the rest of Costa Rica) and continued to visited year on year.
Their visits became longer, however Eugene noticed that nowhere in Manuel Antonio catered for longer term stays. Seeing this gap in the market, in 2013, Eugene and Terry purchased and completely renovated Tico Tico Villas, creating a place where you could stay for a couple of nights, a week or even 6 months!
About the Hotel
Tico Tico is located in the heart of “gay Manuel Antonio”, on the same street as a number of gay-owned businesses, and is just a short bus ride up the hill from the nearby town of Quepos. You can jump on the bus for less than $1 to visit Quepos where you will find the beautiful, ‘Miami style’ marina, and an abundance of shops, bars and restaurants. Equally, you can jump on the bus in the opposite direction and be at the beach or the magnificent Manuel Antonio National Park within 30 minutes.
The entire place is a beautiful, jungle oasis. Stepping off the street and into the grounds, you are immediately surrounded by trees, exotic plants and the local wildlife. There is even a sloth that visits occasionally!
In the centre of the property is the pool and sunbathing area. Given that you are in a jungle environment you absolutely need a pool. We loved relaxing here to cool down during the day and to top up our tans!
Each room is unique and vibrantly decorated using local artwork which has been collected over the years. Given that the rooms cater for longer term stays, everything you could possibly need is included. We very easily could have lived here ourselves!
The whole place is very secure and very private. This is important for any vacation but particularly important for those staying for a long time
What makes Tico Tico Villas Gay Friendly?
You could say that Tico Tico Villas is inherently gay friendly being gay owned. However, there is more thought put into it than that.
Entering the pool area, you will see two rainbow pride flags proudly displayed. A small touch, but an encouraging nod to tell you to be yourself here.
There is also a level of preparation and thought put into the staff. They go beyond the normal level of help and here you can expect to get advice on using Grindr in the local area if you wish, and which gay clubs to go to.
They also have a focus on privacy which also ensures your comfort. This is definitely the experience and vibe we received on our stay.
Last, but not least, the location. Manuel Antonio has been a gay mecca in Costa Rica for a number of years. A very high proportion of businesses along the nearby street are all gay owned (just by coincidence). There are gay bars, clubs, cruises and Sunday afternoon pool sessions at Z Poolside. More information on these is also provided in the local gay magazine ‘Playita’, which is also distributed throughout the rooms.
What did we love about our stay?
- We had the chance to see all the rooms and each one is modern and stylishly designed.
- We loved the fact they all had the same level of décor quality, while still all being individual. For example, you have the Patio Room, the Garden Room, the Loft Room – all of which have their own unique features.
- We only stayed 3 nights, but this very quickly, and easily, felt like it could be home.
- Eugene and Terry have really thought about their guests needs and experience.
- They created a beautiful ‘Hookah Lounge’ where people can smoke.
- They created an Art Centre so people can get creative. Eugene plans for each guest to create art on a rock and then use all the rocks to make a display, thereby remembering the individual guests.
- There is a BBQ station for those who want to get outdoors and be social with their cooking.
- There is also a library so you can grab a book to relax by the pool with.
We can’t recommend Tico Tico Villas enough. Whether you are looking for a gay friendly hotel in Costa Rica or just an incredible place to stay, this is the kind of place we would go back to time and time again.
We highly recommend Costa Rica as a destination, we can’t say enough good things about it. Try out the trip planner below and see what it comes up with for you!
For more about Costa Rica, make sure you check out:
- Gay Guide to Costa Rica: San Jose, Manuel Antonio and Puerto Viejo
- The Ideal 10 Day Costa Rica Itinerary: Destination Costa Rica
- Gay Costa Rica: Local Gay Stories
- Costa Rica Packing List: Everything you will forget!
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