Copa del Café (Coffee Cup), San José. Matches for this international event on the junior tennis tour are held at the Costa Rica Country Club. First week in January.
Fiesta de Palmares, Palmares. Perhaps the largest and best organized of the traditional fiestas, it includes bullfights, a horse parade (tope), and many concerts, carnival rides, and food booths. First 2 weeks in January.
Fiesta de Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. This religious celebration honors the Black Christ of Esquipulas (a famous Guatemalan statue), featuring folk dancing, marimba music, and bullfights. Mid-January.
Fiesta de los Diablitos, Rey Curré village near San Isidro de El General. Boruca Indians wearing wooden devil and bull masks perform dances representative of the Spanish conquest of Central America; there are fireworks displays and an Indian handicrafts market. Late January.
2nd Annual Mardi Gras Esterillos Oeste, Parade at Noon, and party all day, food, music, children’s games. Fun for ALL!!!. Schedule for Feb. 13th.
Día del Boyero (Oxcart Drivers’ Day), San Antonio de Escazú. Colorfully painted oxcarts parade through this suburb of San José, and local priests bless the oxen. Second Sunday in March.
National Orchid Show, San José. Orchid growers throughout the world gather to show their wares, trade tales and secrets, and admire the hundreds of species on display. Mid-March
Holy Week. Religious processions are held in cities and towns throughout the country. Week before Easter.
Juan Santamaría Day, Alajuela. Costa Rica’s national hero is honored with parades, concerts, and dances.
Carrera de San Juan. The country’s biggest marathon runs through the mountains, from the outskirts of Cartago to the outskirts of San José. May 17.
Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea, Puntarenas. A regatta of colorfully decorated boats carrying a statue of Puntarenas’s patron saint marks this festival. A similar event is held at Playa de Coco. Saturday closest to July 16.
Annexation of Guanacaste Day, Liberia. Tico-style bullfights, folk dancing, horseback parades, rodeos, concerts, and other events celebrate the day when this region became part of Costa Rica. July 25.
Fiesta of the Virgin of Los Angeles, Cartago. This is the annual pilgrimage day of the patron saint of Costa Rica. Many people walk from San José 24km (15 miles) to the basilica in Cartago. August 2.
Día de San Ramón, San Ramón. More than two dozen statues of saints from various towns are brought to San Ramón, where they are paraded through the streets. August 31.
Costa Rica’s Independence Day, celebrated all over the country. Most distinctive are the nighttime parades of children. September 15.
Fiesta del Maíz, Upala. At this celebration of corn, local beauty queens wear outfits made from corn plants. October 12.
Limón Carnival/Día de la Raza, Limón. A smaller version of Mardi Gras, complete with floats and dancing in the streets, commemorates Columbus’s discovery of Costa Rica. Week of October 12.
All Soul’s Day/Día de los Muertos, celebrated countrywide. Although it is not as elaborate or ritualized as in Mexico, most Costa Ricans take some time this day to remember the dead with flowers and trips to the cemeteries. November 2.
Día de la Pólvora, San Antonio de Belén and Jesús María de San Mateo. Fireworks honor Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. December 8.
Fiesta de los Negritos, Boruca. Boruca Indians celebrate the feast day of their patron saint, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, with costumed dances and traditional music. December 8.
Fiesta de la Yeguita, Nicoya. A statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe is paraded through the streets, accompanied by traditional music and dancing. December 12.
Las Posadas. Countrywide, children and carolers go door to door seeking lodging in a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay. Begins December 15.
El Tope and Carnival, San José. The streets of downtown belong to horses and their riders in a proud recognition of the country’s important agricultural heritage. The next day, those same streets are taken over by carnival floats, marching bands, and street dancers. December 26 and 27.
Festejos Populares, San José. Bullfights and a pretty respectable bunch of carnival rides, games of chance, and fast-food stands are set up at the fairgrounds in Zapote. Last week of December.
Official holidays in Costa Rica include: January 1 (New Year’s Day), March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day), Holy Thursday and Good Friday during Holy Week, April 11 (Juan Santamaría’s Day), May 1 (Labor Day), July 25 (annexation of the province of Guanacaste), August 2 (Virgin of Los Angeles’s Day), August 15 (Mother’s Day), September 15 (Independence Day), October 12 (Discovery of America/Encuentro de Culturas), December 8 (Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary), December 24 and 25 (Christmas), and December 31 (New Year’s Eve).