Oxymoronic Costa Rican Laws
Costa Rica News - The definition of an oxymoron is: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms are combined. Well, this definitely fits many of the laws found in Costa Rica.
Nude bathing is not allowed on any beach in the country (I know there are some private clubs that get around this law by having private beach areas, etc.), but women can dress anyway they want while walking the streets in their skimpiest outfits to show off their accessories.
This country allows brothels and prostitution, however, if you want to get into the pimping business – hands off! This law seems to be rarely enforced because there is pimping going on all over the place. Taxis will easily go and get one of their prostitute friends to take to your place and take a piece of the action.
You must be over the age of 18 and supposedly carry a health record card proving you are a registered and clean hooker, but that does not seem to be a law anymore or doesn’t seem to be enforced. I haven’t seen any potential ‘customer’ ever ask, or have it voluntarily showed to them. Do not be a sicko and have sex with an underage girl and if you do you deserve to get caught and spend your life in prison.
The Costa Rica government has now made it illegal to promote sex tourism in the country. But they have not really set standards for this to be enforced. There are various people saying that this means not promoting or talking about prostitution in anyway to being sex tourists to the country. I guess wikipedia saying that prostitution is legal in the country should be sued…….or perhaps instead of trying to tell people not to talk about it, if the government does not like it they should make it illegal. Address the problem if you want it to change instead of trying to hide it.
Let’s talk about this Catholic country where 70% of the people identify with this religion. The religion teaches to not have premarital sex, instead, get married, and then have babies. While this isn’t exactly a law, it is a prominent religious doctrine that is taught and has an expectation of doing what the Catholic Church says, especially with such a high ranking number of people identifying themselves in this religion.
Now let’s talk about the reality. Girls 14-19 years old are having babies out of wedlock at about 15,000 a year, and the Director of Adolescents of Public Education indirectly blames the sexualizing in music, some television programs etc…so this must have nothing to do with the culture of the country allowing legalized prostitution or that fact that sexual education is not taught in schools?
Marijuana is labeled ‘illegal’ but is rarely enforced and it is one of the most frequently used drugs in the country. All the drugs are considered illegal, however, there are websites that I have found that tell you exactly where to buy anything, how much it costs, and they all say that the law is not really enforced when it comes to drug use; just don’t be totally blatant with it. Until recently pot brownies were sold at a weekly farmer’ market in Manuel Antonio……I guess more than a few months was too long for them to sell these in public with a sign that said “Pot Brownies.”
Alcohol is about the same. The age is 18 to buy alcohol, but once again, there is not a lot of ‘carding’ for alcoholic purchases going on and if you look old enough, you will be able to purchase alcohol. Most bars enforce this law by checking IDs but I know a bunch of locals that have fake IDs from other people with pics that are not even close. These IDs work in most bars. Also, you are allowed to drink while you are driving, you just can’t drive drunk.
The rules in Costa Rica are hard to understand and most do not make any sense, but it is best to follow them as much as you can. The rule in Costa Rica is pretty much it is not breaking the law if you do not get caught, but we do not recommend breaking any of the above laws.
The last thing you want to have happen is to be rude swimming in the ocean and get placed in a Costa Rican jail without your clothes on or end up with an underage girl and spend the rest of your life in a Costa Rican prison.
By Stacey Dunahay