Fiestas & Events

In this section you will find not only a short description of the official holidays in Costa Rica but also interesting and typical events, for example the Toros a la tica or the bullfighting tico style, where the bull is not killed. To simplify the search we have ordered the festivities by months.

January – February – MarchAprilMayJune - July - AugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

January

New Year

1. January. Mostly in the surrounding of Zapote in San José there is a big fairground with the traditional bullfighting and food stands. There is also plenty of fireworks and music.

Copa del Café

Mid January. International tennis tournament at the Costa Rica Country Club.

Folkfestival in Palmares

Mid January. The second most visited folk festival after Zapote. Fairground with bullfighting, carnival, music and dancing.

Folkfestival in Alajuelita

Mid January. Ox cart procession and visit to the iron cross.

Folkfestival in Santa Cruz

Mid January. Dancing, Marimba and Bullfighting.

February

Folkfestival in San Isidro del General

First week in February. There is a cattle- agricultural and industry exhibition, as well as a flower fair and bullfighting.

Fiesta de los Diablitos

This unique feast takes place in the last week in February in the indigenous town of Boruca de Rey Curre South from San Isidro del General. It is a representation of the fight between the Spaniard (bull) and the Indians (dressed up like little devils). The performance is very colorful with dancing, fireworks, masks and wooden garments. You can buy typical handcraft.

Carnival in Puntarenas

This event takes place In the last week in February with lots of parades and festivities.

CENAC Festival

Mid February. This event takes place In the National Culture Center in San José and features theater, movies, and storytellers.

Folkfestival in Liberia

Late February. In Liberia the capital of Guanacaste you can enjoy this celebration with lots of music, concerts and mainly folcloric activities and traditions.

Monteverde Music Festival

Well known Music festival in the Cloud Forest.

March

Ox Cart Day

This traditional parade takes place the second Sunday in March in Escazú and there are over 150 Oxcarts partcipating.

National Orchid Exhibition

This colorful exhibition takes place in Mid March and there can be found over 500 local and foreign species.

San José Day

19 March. Religious Celebration in all the towns with this name.

Ujarras

MId March. There is a religious procession from Cartago to Ujarras, to the ruins of the first church in Costa Rica.

April

Easter Week (varies, for exact date click here)

The Costa Rican take the Easter Week very seriously but not necessarily in the religious sense. Many families spend their Easter Holidays outside San José. The more conservative population celebrates with religious processions.

Juan Santamaria Day

11 April. Juan Santamaria is the National Hero of Costa Rica, he sacrified his live while defending the country against the filibusters in 1856.

University Week

In the last week in April there are a lot of exhibitions, Live music and parades in the University of Costa Rica.

May

Labour Day

1. May. There are some parades in the streets and the President holds his traditional speech where he informs about the situation of the country.

Folkfestival in Limón

1. May. The fiestas in Limón offer cricket games, dancing, games and family picnics.

Handcraft exhibition

First week in May. A large Handcraft exhibition in San José where you can get local handcrafts for fair prices.

San Isidro Labrador Day

15. May. Folkfestival in all towns named after the holy patron of farmers. Blessings of animals and harvest as well as processions and celebrations take place.

San Juan Day

17. May. This day is celebrated with a half marathon from Cartago to San José.

Corpus Cristi

29. May . Religious Celebrations.

June

San Pedro y San Pablo

29. June. Religious Celebration to honour Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

July

Virgen del Mar Day

Mid July. The closest Saturday to the 16th of July in Puntarenas. The celebration consists mainly on a boat parade off the shore of Puntarenas. The boats are decorated with lots of colors. One of the boats transports the image of the holy patron saint of Puntarenas, the virgin of Monte Carmelo. There are also messes, concerts, dances and firework.

Annexation of Guanacaste

25. July. The Costa Ricans celebrate the day that Guanacaste province chose their nation over neighboring Nicaragua in 1824. The biggest celebrations are concentrated in Liberia, the capital of the province with bullfighting, parades and typical food.

Mango Festival

Mid July. Alajuela is called the Mango city and every July the town celebrates with parades, music and lots of mango refreshments.

August

Virgen de los Angeles Day

2. August. Costa Rica’s largest religious celebration. Pilgrims from all over the country and even from Nicaragua walk to Cartago’s Los Angeles Basilica to honour la Negrita, Costa Rica’s black virgin.

Mother’s Day

15. August. In Costa Rica Mothersday is celebrated on August 15.

San Ramón Day

30. August. Parades, music and dancing welcome the 30 saints of nearby towns, that come to honour San Ramon’s own patron saint.

September

Independence Day

15. September. The Independence torch arrives one day prior from Nicaragua and is brought by relay runners to Cartago where it arrives on September 15 at 6.00 p.m. At this time the whole country stands still to sing the National Anthem. On September 14 in the evening there are children lantern parades all around the country.

October

San Isidro Day

9. October. This celebration is to commemorate this important agricultural town.

Puerto Viejo Carnival

Early to Mid October. Seven days of Caribbean parties with live music, dancing, parades and a Mardi Gras style ambiance.

Culture Day (Christopher Columbus Day)

12. October. There is a big carnival in Limón with lots of dancing, parades and concerts.

Virgin of Pilar

12. October. Festivity to honor the virgin of Pilar, the patron saint of Tres Rios.

Corn Festival

12. October in Upala. A parade with customes made of corn as well as the crowning of the Corn Queen are part of this traditional celebration.

November

All Soul’s Day

2. November. The families visit their loved ones with flowers on the cemetery.

Coffee picking contest

Mid November. Central Valley. This event is celebrated with music and dancing.

Ox Cart Parade

Late November. San José. This parade takes place in San José and honours Costa Rica’s long Ox Cart and Agricultural tradition.

December

Christmas Festivities

Early December. Although Costa Ricans decorate their homes very early, the real Christmas Celebration starts in December. The tamales (a typical dish made of corn flour, meat and different vegetables, and then wrapped in banana leaves) are prepared after old family recipes. Each family gathers to prepare this dish and everyone helps, from the grandmother to the youngest child. Normally it is a big event. The tamales are exchange among the families. The nativity set should not lack in any house. Besides the figures of Maria, Joseph, the herdsmen, and so on you will also find planes, cars, elephants and anything found in the house. The imagination has no limits while making the nativity set. The Jesus Baby is put on his crib on December 24th.

Los Negritos

8 December. Boruca. A combination from traditional Indigenous festivity and Catholic Rituals. This day honours the virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

Immaculate Conception

8 December. This day is celebrated with lots of fireworks.

Fiesta de la Yeguita

12 December. Liberia. A parade to honour the virgin of Guadalupe is the main activity on this day. The traditional music, dancing and firework is not missing.

Christmas Eve / Christmas

24/25 December.

Traditionally the dinner on the 24th is held on midnight, to welcome Jesus. There is also a MIdnight Mess.

Tope

26 December. San José. This well-known horse parade leads through the center of San José and the well trained horses exhibit their amazing foot work.

Carnival

27 December. San José. A huge carnival with large floats, live music and a very happy atmosphere leads through the center of the city.

Zapote Fiestas

Late December. The Zapote fairgrounds transform from tranquil farmer’s market to a amusement park offering food, megabars, bullfighting and lots of distraction.

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