Tag Archives: Costa Rica festivals

Entertaining Family Festivals in Costa Rica

Fiesta de los NegritosHead to Costa Rica on vacation at any time of year, and you’ll be excused for thinking all Ticos do is celebrate one cultural event or another. Well, it’s true! This most eclectic, deeply religious and traditionalist culture celebrates innumerable festivals throughout the year. While many are small, subdued affairs, there are a few which are celebrated with gusto, and usually include an amazing array of parades, music, concerts, cultural events and food…lots and lots of delicious food!

So if the amazing wilderness, excellent adrenaline activities and endless stretches of pristine beaches are still not enough to entice you to Costa Rica…how about planning a trip to include one of the country’s best festivals?

Following are just a few of the country’s very best fiestas.

Limon Carnival, Limon, mid-October

Limon carnivalCosta Rica’s answer to Rio’s Carnival may be smaller than its Brazilian counterpart but it is by no means any less vibrant, proving that size really doesn’t matter at all. This two-week long amazing celebration of the country’s Afro-Caribbean culture is held in the Caribbean coastal town of Limon and includes outlandish parades, fantastic open-air concerts and plenty of music playing and dancing on the streets.

A mouth-watering array of great local food will be on offer from stands on every corner of the city, making it an ideal festival for foodie lovers too. Technically speaking, the festival is supposed to be a commemoration of Columbus’ landing on the pristine shores of the country, yet nowadays it is simply known as the best party of the year. When in Limon, take some time to visit the stunning Veragua Rainforest Park, home of fantastic zip-lining courses, adventure park and a revered wildlife research centre.

Fiestas Zapotes, San Jose – from December 25th

Fiestas ZapotesCosta Rica’s most famous ‘bullfighting’ spectacle is a fun-filled show of machismo, where the only ones who ever get hurt are the brave Ticos; those few foolish enough to get close to the bulls and slap them! But this cultural festival, often dubbed the ‘fiesta of the people’ is a lot more than just bull-teasing.

For two whole weeks, the San Jose suburb of Zapote comes alive with a plethora of carousels, parties, food markets, dancing and lots of kid’s fun rides. Tickets can be bought on the day for specific attractions held in the Zapote Stadium. As this coincides with the holiday season, it is one of the busiest and most popular festivals held in San Jose. Great for families during the daytime, and ideal for party lovers after dark. A simply brilliant way to celebrate the end of the year in Costa Rica!

Fiestas de Palmares, Palmares- January

Fiestas de PalmaresYou could consider this Palmares fiesta as a hybrid between the two, above mentioned festivals. Along with the simulated bullfights, you’ll also have fun admiring colorful parades through the streets of Palmares in the Alajuela Province of central Costa Rica.

A myriad of sporting events, nightly fireworks displays and daily concerts keep the city alive for two whole weeks in January. Copious amount of delectable food and icy cold beer also do a great job in keeping crowds happy and replenished. If you’re visiting Costa Rica after the New Year, and wish to get your new year off to a cracking start, then there’s no better place to visit than Palmares. The first few days of this fiesta overlap with the last few from Zapote’s epic party, so if you time it just right you can experience two of the country’s best festivals in one swift go.

Oxcart Parade, San Jose- November

Costa Rica ox cart paradeOne of the country’s longest running festivals, the oxcart parade pays homage to the most traditional Costa Rican mode of transport that has ever existed. These very unique carts are so embedded in the local culture, that UNESCO has included the Costa Rica oxcart in its Intangible World Heritage list.

The Spaniards were the first to introduce oxcarts to the country, yet Ticos made various adaptations over the centuries, which include the abundance of colorful decoration of the carts and the oxen themselves. Visit the capital on the second Sunday in November and you can be privy to an incredible exhibition: hundreds of decorated, ox pulled carts parading through the streets of the city, having arrived from all surrounding provinces. If you can’t make it to San Jose on this day, but are intrigued by Tico’s love of la carreta, then include a visit to the Alajuela provincial town of Sarchi,  a place renowned as the birthplace of the Costa Rican oxcart. Here you’ll find hundreds of workshops, factories and shops, all displaying the most beautiful carts you’ll ever see anywhere. The town is home to the world’s largest painted cart, which was specifically built to induct the town into the Guinness World Records book.


Costa Rica Festivals Bring a Melting Pot of People

Are you the kind of person who does not like to sit around his or her hotel room lounging at the pool, but would much rather drive the open road in search of festivals and other activities, then you should plan a trip to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica festivalsThis month alone Costa Rica is hosting seven festivals guaranteed to make you smile, try foods you did not know existed, attend a storytelling, and drink lots of beer.

To kick off celebrations, you have the San Isidro del General Fiestas which takes place during the first week of February. The fair features flower shows, bullfighting, livestock competitions, and more.

In mid-February Costa Rica hosts Mardi Gras in Esterillos which is a carnival with parades, street foods, music, children’s games and dancing.

The CENAC Summer Festival is the 2nd week of February featuring storytelling, theater, movies, and other entertainment at the National Cultural Center in San Jose.

Next up is the Los Diablitos Games which is a recreation of the fight between Boruca tribe and the Spanish (held in Rey Curre, Boruca).

The Puntarenas Carnaval takes place during the last week of February and is a seven day celebration with food, music and beer in Puntarenas.

Also during the last week of February is the Sun Festival which is an annual celebration of the Mayan New Year. It culminates in a fire ceremony and a gathering to promote solar power.

Lastly, the Liberia Fiestas has music, rides, and concerts throughout Liberia.