Costa Rica - Age of Sexual Consent
[Cool Teen Sites]


Added 03-2002:
Please find the correctly translated text from Interpol enclosed.
Interpol lists no information on legal age, which I've added.

It's worth mentioning that prostitution is legal in Costa Rica only when the prostitute is over age. Prostitution of minors is illegal. Violators are prosecuted disregarding their nationality, unless their country of origin wishes to extradite for local prosecution (for example the US). Due to equality clauses stated in the constitution, it is illegal to discriminate any person based on their personal preferences. Therefore male/male or female/female relationships are allowed as long as they do not fall into the categories punished by the penal code.
=========================== Begin translated text =========================
I. Legal Age
Legal age is 18. Any person older than 18 is considered of age and has all rights permitted by law.

II. Rape
Penal code, article 156
"Whoever should have access of the flesh with a person of any sex under the following circumstances shall be penalized with five to ten years prison:
1. When the victim is under twelve years of age 2. When the offended person is impaired of reason or under incapacity to resist. 3. When corporal
violence or intimidation is used."

Article 157, "qualified rape", penal code:
"Prision time will be eight to fifteen years when the author of the crime is a blood relative, ascending or descending, brother [sister], or when death
of the victim occurs."

III. Other forms of sexual abuse

'Estupro', penal code article 159:
"Prision time of one to four years shall be applied to whoever should have access of the flesh with an honest woman, even with her consent, who is over
twelve and under fifteen years of age."

'Estupro agravado', Article 160 penal code:
"Prision time of four to eight years shall be applied when violation of article 159 occurs under any of the circumstanced stated in articles 157 and
158, or if death of the victim should occur."

'Dishonest abuse': penal code article 154:
"Prision of two to four years shall be applied to whoever should abuse dishonestly, without access of the flesh, of a person of either sex under
circumstances stated in article 156.  If additionally any of the circumstances stated in articles 157 and 158 should be applicable, prision time will be four to six years."

'Kidnapping'. Penal code article 164:
"Three to six months prision time shall be applied to whoever should seize an honest woman over twelve years and under fifteen years of age with her
consent, when the intentions of the seizure are of a sexual nature."

'Corruption'. Article 167 penal code:
"Three to eight years prision time shall be applied to whoever should promote the corruption of a person under sixteen years of age, by means of
sexual acts of a perverse, premature or excessive nature, even if the victim should consent to participation or witnessing. This act shall not be
punishable if the minor is corrupt."

'Sodomy'. Penal code article 173:
"Whoever should have access of the flesh with a minor under seventeen and over twelve years of age shall be punished with one to three years prision."

'Incest'. Penal code article 174:
"Whoever should have access of the flesh with an ascending or descending blood relative, while under the knowledge of the existing relationship,
shall receive two to six years prision, only if there is no possibility of rape or estupro, cases in which articles 157 and 160 respectively shall be

IV. Prostitution of minors
'Aggravated proxenetism'. Penal code 170
"The punishment shall be four to ten years prison in the following cases:
1. If the victim is under eighteen years of age 2. When deceipt, violence, abuse of authority or any type of intimidation or coersion is used; and 3.
If the author should be ascending or descending relative, brother, husband, tutor or legal guardian of the education, care or custody of the victim."

'White and minor treaty', Article 172 penal code:
"Whoever should promote or facilitate the entry or exit of women or minors of any sex to or from the territory so they may engage in prostitution will
be punished will five to ten years prision.

The punishment will be eight to ten years if any of the circumstances stated in article 170 should mediate."







Update 01-2001:


LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all.


Costa Rica  San José

I. Mayorias de edad
No tenemos alguna información a propósito de la mayoría de edad, la edad de consentimiento para
contraer matrimonio o para activita sexual.

II. Violación
Artículo 156 del Código Penal
" Será reprimido con prisión de cinco a diez años, el que tuviere acceso carnal con una persona
de uno u otro sexo en los siguientes casos :
1.Cuando la víctima fuere menor de doce años ;
2.Cuando la persona ofendida se hallare privada de razón o estuviere incapacitada para resistir ; y
3.Cuando se usare la violencia corporal o intimidation. "

Artículo 157 ‘Violación calififcada’ del Código Penal
" La prisión será de ocho a quince años cuando el autor fuere un ascendiente, descendiente
consanguíneo o hermano o se produje la muerte de la ofendida. "

III. Otras formas de abuso sexual de menores
Artículo 159 ‘Estupro’ del Código Penal
" Se impondrá prisión de uno a cuatro años, el que tuviere acceso carnal con mujer honesta aun
con su consentimiento, mayor de doce años y menor de quince. "

Artículo 160 ‘Estupro agravado’ del Código Penal
" Se impondrá prisión de cuatro a ocho años cuando en el caso del artículo anterior,mediare
alguna de la circunstancias expresadas en los artículos 157 y 158 ose produje la muerte de la
ofendida. "

Artículo 161 ‘Abuso deshonesto’ del Código Penal
" Será reprimido con prisión de dos a cuatro años, el que sin tener acceso carnal abusare
deshnestamente de una persona de uno u otro sexo, concurriendo algunas de las circunstancias
del Artículo 156.

Si además mediare alguna de las circunstancias previstas en los Artículos 157 y 158 la pena será
de cuatro a seis años. "

Artículo 164 ‘Rapto’ del Código Penal
" Será reprimido con prisión de seis meses a très años, el que raptare con fines libidinosos a una
mujer honesta mayor de doce años y menor de quince años, con su consentimiento. "

Artículo 167 ‘Corrupción’ del Código Penal
" Será reprimido con prisión de très a ocho años el que promoviere la corrupción de una persona
menor de dieciséis años, mediante actos sexuales perversos, prematuros o excesivos, aunque la
víctima consienta en participar en ellos o en verlos ejecutar .

El hecho no es punible si la persona menor es corrupta. "

[EDITOR:  machine translation:  The one will be repressed with prison of très to eight years that will promote the corruption of a smaller person of sixteen years, by means of perverse acts sexual, premature or excessive, although the victim allows in participating in them or seeing execute them.

Artículo 173 ‘Sodomía’ del Código Penal
" El que tuviere acceso carnal con un menor de diecisiete años y mayor de doce años, será
penado con prisión de uno a très años. "

Artículo 174 ‘Incesto’ del Código Penal
" Será sancionado con prisión de dos a seis años, quien conociendo las relaciones de familia que
lo ligan, tenga acceso carnal con una ascendienta o descendiente por consanguinidad o con un
hermano consanguíneo, siempre que no se trate de una violación o estupro en cuyos casos se
aplicarán respectivamente los artículos 157 y 160. "

IV. Prostitución infantil
Artículo 170 ‘Proxenetismo agravado’ del Código Penal
" La pena será de cuatro a diez años de prisión, en los siguientes casos :
1.Si la víctima fuere menor de dieciocho años ;
2.Cuando mediante engaño, violencia, abuso de autoridad o calquier medio de
intimidación o coerción ; y
3.Si el autor fuere ascendiente, descendiente, mairdo, hermano,tuotr o encargado de la
educación, guarda o custudia de la víctima. "

Artículo 172 ‘Trata de blancas y de menores’ del Código Penal
" El que promoviere o facilitare la entrada o salida al país, de mujeres o de menores de edad uno
u otro sexo para que ejerzan al prostitución, será reprimido con prisión de cinco a diez años.

La pena será de ocho a diez años si mediare alguna de las circunstancias enumeradas en el
Artículo 170. "


EDITOR NOTE:  None of us speak Spanish and we have not had any luck in finding someone with EXCELLENT translation skills.  We believe we have the law documented (and have used mechanical translators) but we are still not confident of the outcome.   We would like to find a bi-lingual (Spanish and English) person interested in finding the applicable laws and providing us with the SPANISH and ENGLISH -- paragraph by paragraph.  Thank you.

EDITOR NOTE:  Received 11/2/00:  We received this email:
"Just spoke to a savvy Costa Riqueno who told me that the AOC there was 18, not 15 as your site claims. After doing so, I found this:   "

Although we appreciate the information, this does NOT change our interpretation of the law.  From the text of the article:

"Legal age of consent is 18 years of age. Intercourse with a minor 15 or younger is statutory rape punished with
prision (Costa Rica prision). This is right out of Costa Rica´s Penal Code, so it´s as accurate as you can get."

FIRST - this article contradicts itself.  If the legal age of consent was 18, the intercourse with a minor 18 or younger would be statutory rape -- NOT 15 as it states.   This simply reinforces our statement that age of consent is 15.  Otherwise, what is the time from age 15 to 18 defined as?  SECOND - this writer offered no link to the Penal Code, indicating further that he or she does not have the actual statute.



EDITOR NOTE:  Received 1/10/2000
I'm Costa Rican and I have some updated info:  Homosexuality was made legal during the 1960's, don't have the exact year but I will look it up.  As far as I know, the age of consent is the same as in heterosexual relationships.   You have a great site!


Age of consent in Costa Rica : 15

For documentation, surf to :

It is a legal database for Costa Rica & Honduras in full cooperation with the Supreme Court.

Type whatever you want in the fields :

Nombre: name
Profesión: profession
Institución: institution
País de residencia: country
E-mail: ...

Then press "Ingresar" button.

Next, you can choose country on the left window.

In the right window, type the word "estupro" (which is rape) on the frase field.

Then press the "Buscar" (submit?? or search??) button.

[EDITOR NOTE:  12/6/99:  The following email was received]
I have talked to many guys on the IRC  on the Undernet , GayCostaRica channel and they all say it is not against the law being an active homosexual in Costa Rica. The laws seem to be changing there in the favor of human rights.

Email Received:
Date Fri, 2 Mar 2001 165317 -0800

The legal age of sexual consent for a female in COSTA RICA is 16 years old. The legal age for her to marry without her parents permission is 18 years old. This is straight out of the Legal Code. The recent sex offenders (child prostitution) expose in Costa Rica, dramatized recently on all the major networks, clearly reported that a minor was considered to be 15 years old or less. Hope this helps you. Your chart shows 15 as the age of consent and this is wrong.


Email Received 03-2001:

You ask that I provide you with substanciation that the age of sexual consent in Costa Rica is 16. I relay the following.  Upon request the following was received today from Juan Carlos Murillo, a Costa Rican Attorney

Replying to your e-mail please be advised that sex is not a crime with persons over 15, but they need their parents consent to marry up till 18. The following two articles are extracted from the Criminal Code (Law in Costa Rica). One refers to regular intercourse (including consenting intercourse), the second refers to remunerated intercourse (prostitution or where money is given to have sex with anyone younger than 18 years old). Though the code is not always clear these laws have been established through numerous court cases. Hope it helps.

Relaciones sexuales con personas menores de edad ARTÍCULO 159.- Quien, aprovechándose de la edad, se haga acceder otenga acceso carnal por vía oral, anal o vaginal, con una persona decualquier sexo, mayor de doce años y menor de quince, aun con su consentimiento, será sancionado con pena de prisión de dos a seis años.

Igual pena se impondrá si la acción consiste en introducir, por vía vaginal o anal uno o varios dedos u objetos. La pena será de cuatro a diez años de prisión cuando la víctima sea mayor de doce años y menor de dieciocho, y el agente tenga respecto de ella la condición de ascendiente, tío, tía, hermano o hermana consanguíneos o afines, tutor o guardador.

(Así reformado por el artículo 1º de la ley No.7899 de 3 de agosto de 1999)

Transulation Sexual relations with minors - ARTICLE 159. Anyone who, taking advantage of the age, has sexual access by oral, anal or vaginal channel, with a person of any sex, greater than twelve years old and less than fifteen (minor), even with his/her consent, will be subject to a prison sentence of two to six years. The same sentence will prevail if the action consists of introducing, by vaginal or anal channel one or several fingers or objects. The sentence may be four to ten years in prison when the victim is greater of twelve years and minor of eighteen, and the person committing the offense is the uncle, aunt, brother or sister, tutor or teacher, or guardian. (Thus reformed by the article 1º of the law No.7899 of 3 of August of 1999)

Relaciones sexuales remuneradas con personas menores de edad -ARTÍCULO 160.- Quien pague a una persona menor de edad de cualquier sexo o prometa pagarle o darle a cambio una ventaja económica o de otranaturaleza, para que ejecute actos sexuales o eróticos, será sancionado

1) Con pena de prisión de cuatro a diez años si la persona ofendidaes menor de doce años.

2) Con pena de prisión de tres a ocho años, si la persona ofendida es mayor de doce años, pero menor de quince.

3) Con pena de prisión de dos a seis años, si la persona ofendida es mayor de quince años, pero menor de dieciocho.

(Así reformado por el artículo 1º de la ley No.7899 de 3 de agosto de 1999)

TRANSULATION Sexual relations with minor people where there is renumeration - ARTICLE 160. - Whoever pays a minor person of any sex or promises to pay or to give him/her in return an economic favor of another nature, so that he/she executes sexual or erotic acts, will be sentenced 1) With prison sentence of four to ten years if the victim is less than twelve years old. 2) With prison sentence of three to eight years, if the victim is greater than twelve years old, but less than fifteen. 3) With prison sentence of two to six years, if the victim is fifteen years old to eighteen. (Thus reformed by the article 1º of the law No.7899 of 3 of August of 1999)


PS. Interpol Files state the following laws for age of consent in Costa Rica

" The prison sentence for sex with a minor will be six months to three years, for anyone that induces a woman of twelve years up to fifteen years old (minor) to have sex with their consent "  (This probably closer approximates actual court cases rather Penal Codes)

Hope all this helps, and that for the protection of all persons visiting Costa Rica, they make very sure how old a girl/boy is before getting sexually involved. Many girls often develop rapidly and can look older than their actual age.

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:   Copyright holders:  We are not trying to assert any rights to your article.  We operate as a repository with a virtually unlimited storage capacity.  We capture and store articles to prevent loss due to system crashes and the space limitations that most sites operate under.  We will remove your article if you wish.  This is a non-profit site. is a repository of both legal and commentary information on laws relating to sexual activity.  We do not, and can not offer any legal advice or provide any legal counsel.  Do not write to us requesting our advice or suggestions -- your email will be ignored.  This web site and its contents are in no way affiliated, funded, or regulated by any Local, State, Federal or International government agency or governing body.  Information contained on this site has been provided by readers and/or has been discovered through the research of volunteers.  Other than cursory review, no efforts have been made to independently verify the current status of the legal statutes contained in these page nor whether any cases used as examples are still precedent.   Do not rely on this information to make legal decisions.  You should contact a legal advisor in your area for a proper determination of law on any questions you might have.  Any emails and other user comments and opinions included on this site are the opinions of the creator of the message and are not necessarily those of this site, its editors, advertisers or other affiliated entities.