Legal Ages in Costa Rica

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November 24th 2008
Published: November 24th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Many people, especially younger visitors to Costa Rica wonder what the legal age is for drinking alcohol, buying cigarettes, etc.

Here's a short list of the "Legal Ages" here in Costa Rica:

* Legal age to rent a car = 25
* Legal age to vote = 18
* Legal age to purchase or consume alcohol = 18
* Legal age to purchase or consume cigarettes = 18
* Legal age to obtain a drivers license & drive = 18
o maturing past 18 is not required, adolescent driving is the norm in Costa Rica ;o)
* Legal age of consent with another adult = 18
* Legal age to join the military = none
o Costa Rica has no military!
* Legal age to enter into a legal contract = 18
* Legal age to view Rated "R" movie = 18
* Legal age to obtain credit (ie: consumer purchase on credit) = 16
* Legal age to scan groceries = 16
o Must be 18 to scan a customer's purchase of alcohol
* Legal age to give blood = 16
* Legal age to marry without permission = 16
* Legal age to marry with parental permission = 15
* Legal age to view Rated "PG-13" movie =15
* Legal age for employment = 15 (restrictions on types, hours per day/week, etc.)
* Compulsory age of education = 15
* Legal age of consent between minors = 15
* Legal age to be dispensed birth control pills = 14
* Legal age to view Rated "PG" movie = 12
* Legal age to view nudity & "X" rated television = no minimum age
* Legal age to view Rated "G" movie = no minimum age
* Legal age to pick coffee = no minimum age (not verified)

This may seem silly, but as the father of a 10 year old boy the most frustrating part about the above list is our inability to go see movies together. In the U.S. we really enjoyed going to the movies and I as his father could determine which movies were appropriate - regardless of the movie rating 'recommendation'. In Costa Rica the movie rating system strictly prohibits viewing based on age. The fact that my son is small for his age doesn't help.

Unfortunately most comedies and action movies my son and I enjoy restrict minors below the age of 15 - this despite nudity and "X" rated programming being a regular part of Costa Rica basic cable. I have tried multiple times to get my son into movies I felt were more than adequate for his maturity level like an Adam Sandler film - without much success. The exception being that last Batman movie ... I refused to take "no" for an answer and the 18 year old looking multiplex movie manager finally put my son in the theater before I went completely 'Joker' on his a$$.

There I vented. I feel so much better! ;o)

¡Pura Película!


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