Holidays & Festivals

Written by: Ryan Van Velzer

Last updated: Mar 08, 2021

Costa Rica’s love for a good celebration is infectious. Taste the food, make some buddies, find out the customs and get in the spirit with any variety of feasts, horse parade, and carnivals celebrated throughout the nation.

January

  • New Year’s Day Celebration: Fireworks light up the country on this national holiday while street celebrations tempt residents with music, dancing and food. In San Jose, festivities are centered around downtown and in the Zapote district. Country-wide. January 1.
  • Palmares Fiestas: Two weeks of concerts, bullfighting, folklore dancing and basic debauchery. Very first week of January.
  • Coffee Cup: A much-anticipated, week-long junior tennis competition hosted at the Costa Rica Country Club in San Jose. First week of January.
  • Alajuelita Fiestas: An oxcart parade and party to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas, Alajuela. First week of January.
  • Santa Cruz Fiestas: Typical music, folkloric dancing and bullfighting to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. Week of January 15.

February

  • San Isidro del General Fiestas: An agricultural reasonable with flower shows, bullfighting and traditional animals competitions total with rewards; kept in San Isidro del General, San Jose. Very first week of February.
  • Mardi Gras in Esterillos: A carnival with parades, street foods, music, kids’s games and dancing. Mid-February.
  • CENAC Summertime Celebration: Free storytelling, theater, films and other home entertainment at the National Cultural Center in San Jose. February 13-16.
  • Los Diablitos Games: A re-creation of the battle between the Boruca people and the Spanish kept in Rey Curre, Boruca. Fireworks, masks and traditional dancing aid to set the scene. The indigenous tribe is represented by the diablitos, or little devils, and the Spanish by a bull. Late February.
  • Puntarenas Carnaval: A dynamic, seven-day celebration with food, music and beer in Puntarenas. Last week of February.
  • Sun Celebration: An annual event of the Mayan New Year on February 25 that culminates in a fire event and an event to promote solar power. Last week of February.
  • Liberia Fiestas: Guanacaste folklore and traditions are celebrated with music, flights and shows throughout Liberia. Recently of February.

March

  • Treasure Trove Cattle Program: Bullfights, horse races, rodeos and other events tailored towards the nation’s cowboys; held in San Jose. First week of March.
  • Dia de los Boyeros: Otherwise referred to as the day of the oxcart motorist, this colorful event functions conventional parades and exceptionally painted oxcarts on screen in Escazu, San Jose. The second Sunday in March.
  • International Arts Festival: A main exhibit of first-class art efficiency theater and dance held in San Jose and surrounding areas. March 15-25 on even-numbered years.
  • Fruit Celebration: This festival honors the nation’s myriad of fruits and their accompanying recipes in Orotina, Alajuela. Taste lots of unique recipes. Mid-March.
  • National Orchid Show: More than 300 types of orchids are on display every year in San Jose; the best win a coveted top place ribbon. Mid-March.
  • San Jose Day: Fairs, Catholic masses, bullfights and lots of street food mark the banquet of Saint Joseph; celebrated throughout Costa Rica. March 19.
  • International Food Fair: A food reasonable held in Coronado, San Jose featuring a generous spread of nationwide and international meals whose profits benefits social causes. 3rd weekend of March.

April

  • Holy Week: Costa Ricans take their Holy Week seriously, however not constantly consistently– take a trip peaks during this week and even the most humble hotels can fill up months beforehand. The nation’s more traditional homeowners commemorate with spiritual parades through the streets and wide-scale praise. The week preceding Easter.
  • Easter: Events throughout the nation.
  • Juan Santamaria Day: Parades, music and dancing to honor the country’s hero, Juan Santamaria, who assisted Costa Rica defeat William Walker and the getting into Filibusters. Celebrations are held throughout the nation. April 11.
  • University Week: Displays, parades, live music and more held at the University of Costa Rica in San Jose. The recently of April.

May

  • Labor Day: Country-wide processions accompany a day off from work for most of the nation and a presidential speech honoring the day. May 1.
  • San Isidro Labor Day: Celebrated throughout the nation in towns named San Isidro, this day honors the patron saint of farmers and farm animal with true blessing of future crops and livestock. Fiestas and parades are common. May 15.
  • San Juan Day: A 14-mile marathon from Cartago to San Jose. May 17.
  • Corpus Christi Day: A religious festival that necessitates a day of rest from work held country-wide. May 29.

June

  • Saints Peter and Paul Day: Religious celebrations to honor the Catholic saints Paul and Peter held throughout the nation. June 29.

July

  • Virgin of the Sea Fiestas: Spiritual activities, food, music and parades mark the celebration of the tutelary saint in Puntarenas. The Saturday closest to July 16.
  • Annexation of Guanacaste Day: Costa Ricans celebrate the day that the Guanacaste province selected their country over neighboring Nicaragua in 1824. The most significant events– bullfighting, parades and a lot of drinking– are centered in Liberia, Guanacaste’s capital city, though you’ll discover celebrations throughout the county. July 25.
  • Mango Fiestas: Alajuela is called the City of Mangoes and every July the town celebrates its heritage with crafts, parades, music and lots of mango drinks. Late July.

August

  • Virgin of Los Angeles Day: Costa Rica’s biggest spiritual vacation– pilgrims progress foot or on their knees toward Cartago’s Los Angeles Basilica to pay honor to La Negrita and ask for a dream to be granted for them, Costa Rica’s black Virgin. August 2.
  • San Ramon Day Parades: Dancing and music aid celebrate the arrival of 30 patron saints from neighboring towns to honor San Ramon’s own tutelary saint in San Ramon, Alajuela. August 30.

September

  • Self-reliance Day: Celebrations and celebrations are held throughout the country commemorating Costa Rica’s independence from Spain. Taking a trip south from Guatemala, the flame of self-reliance shows up in Cartago on this day. September 15.
  • International Beach Clean-Up Day: A modern-day celebration, this day joins residents and visitors together to keep Costa Rica’s beaches clean and pristine. The third week of September.

October

  • San Isidro Anniversary: A celebration to honor the farming town of San Isidro, San Jose. October 9.
  • Puerto Viejo Carnaval: Seven days of Caribbean celebrations complete with dancers, parades and live music held in Puerto Viejo. The very first 2 weeks of October in Puerto Viejo.
  • Limon Carnaval: A popular celebration with Mardi Gras-style decadence celebrated with parades, loud Caribbean rhythms, rum and dancing. Limon. Weekend of October 12.
  • Dia de la Raza: A celebration of Columbus’ discovery of the New World and the numerous cultural impacts that helped form modern-day Latin America; held throughout the nation. October 12.
  • Virgin of Pilar Day: A day of costumes and dancing to honor the patron saint of Tres Rios, Cartago. October 12.
  • Corn Fiesta: Traditional celebrations honoring the corn crop kept in Upala, Alajuela that include a Corn Queen crowning and a corn-product costume parade. October 12.

November

  • Dia de los Inocentes: Costa Rica’s variation of Mexico’s famous Day of the Dead has people paying their aspects to lost liked ones. November 2.
  • Coffee Selecting Contest: Music and dancing accompany this contest held throughout the Central Valley. Mid-November.
  • Oxcart Parade: Similar to March’s Oxcart Driver Day, this event honors Costa Rica’s oxcart and farming traditions; held in San Jose. Late November.

December

  • Festival de las Luces: Fireworks display screens and live performances begin this month-long Christmas event of lights, lights and even more lights; held in San Jose. First week of December.
  • Christmas Celebrations: Designs have been up for months, but Costa Ricans actually begin to commemorate in early December. This is the best time to begin making tamales– each household has its own dish. The long preparation procedure produces distinctive deals with that are distributed as gifts to friends and next-door neighbors. Early December.
  • Los Negritos Fiestas: A festive combination of traditional native celebrations and Catholic routines, this day honors the Virgin of the Spotless Conception held in Boruca. Week of December 8.
  • Fireworks Day: Fireworks help to honor the Woman of the Spotless Conception in San Antonio de Belen, Heredia. December 8.
  • La Yeguita Carnival: A parade to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe accompanied by dancing, food and fireworks. Nicoya (Guanacaste). December 12.
  • Start of caroling season: Christmas carolers start to sing door-to-door; often to raise money for local charities held throughout the nation. December 15.
  • Christmas Eve: Typically, households attend a big mass on Christmas Eve and open their presents at midnight. December 24.
  • El Tope Nacional: A yearly national horse parade that strolls through the center of San Jose where the trained animals perform remarkable footwork. December 26.
  • San Jose Carnival: A substantial carnival with large floats, live music and a really happy atmosphere in San Jose. December 27.
  • Zapote Fiestas: The Zapote fairgrounds in San Jose change from relaxing farmers’ market to a free-for-all party, offering amusement park flights, fair and street food, inflatable megabars, bullfighting and a lot of libations. December 25 – January 6.
  • Los Diablitos Celebration: Fireside reenactment of Spanish-indigenous fights, using state of mind music and conventional masks; kept in Boruca. December 30-January 2.

Official Costa Rica Holidays:

  • January 1st: New Year’s Day
  • March/April: Easter Week
  • April 11: Juan Santamaria Day
  • May 1st: Labor Day
  • July 25: Annexation of Guanacaste Day
  • Aug 2: Tutelary Saint Day
  • Aug. 15: Mom’s Day
  • Sept. 15: Independence Day
  • Nov. 2: All Soul’s Day
  • Dec. 1: Armed Force Armed Forces Abolition Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day

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