Visiting the Festivals in Costa Rica – What and When

Costa Rica is a country known for its laidback attitude and friendly locals. ‘Pura vida’ is the unofficial motto of this country, and it’s why they’ll take any opportunity to celebrate. During your stay, you might want to visit some of the festivals in Costa Rica. Here’s a brief insight into a number of major and minor festivals and celebrations.

National Festivals

Costa Rica is mainly a Christian country. At Christmas, you’ll see lots of celebrations, which is why a lot of visitors from Europe choose to travel at this time of year to get away from cold winters. Semana Santa during Easter Holy Week around San Jose involves many different events, mainly with religious undertones.

Costa Rica celebrates the patron saints. Each town and city has its own saint. The main saint’s day is for the patron saint of the country on March 19. This is known as Virgin of Los Angeles Day. Other days in celebration of specific figures include Juan Santa Maria’s Day on August 2 and Columbus Day on October 12.

Unique Events

Costa Rica has its fair share of unconventional events. There’s a tennis tournament called the Copa del Café which draws amateur teenagers from across the globe to compete in a week of tennis.

There’s the Carrera de la Paz footrace held in March. Thousands of runners start at the National Gymnasium in San Jose and race to the University for Peace campus.

For visitors interested in nature, they should visit the National Orchid Show in the Colegio de Medicos y Cirujanos in March. It’s the only festival in Costa Rica which showcases over 500 rare orchids.

Going on an Adventure

March is the main month for festivals all over Costa Rica. You can usually find events even if you aren’t situated close to the capital of San Jose.

On the second Sunday or March, San Antonio de Escazu celebrates National Oxcart Day. This unique event features 500 different types of oxcart driver and cart. The cattlemen from around the country descend upon the Bonanza Fairgrounds for the Bonanza Cattle Show just after this event. You’ll find horse races, bullfights, prize bulls, and mechanical bull machines (good luck with that!).

In April you should visit the Plaza de la Democracia in San Jose. In this plaza is the annual Festival of Native American Handicrafts. It lasts for three days and gives you ample opportunity to pick up an elegant souvenir.

Animal Events

Costa Rica is a country known for its animals. The Zapote Bullfights, or Toros a la Tica, is the most prominent animal event in the country. It’s where amateurs without professional assistance become matadors for the day. They compete with the bulls in the same way as a Spanish bullfight. The difference is they’re never hurt or killed.

Local Events

These are the main events you’ll find around Costa Rica. Many towns and villages also hold their own unofficial events. Ask around or speak to a tour guide to see if there are any events in your area.

Contact us if you would like to time your trip to Costa Rica to match a particular festival.