Festivals and Cultural Celebrations in Costa Rica


Costa Rica is a country located in Central America and, like many of the Latin countries, it presents several and important events or celebrations that reflect the culture and feelings of the Costa Rican people. Many of these celebrations also show the beliefs and ideologies of its populations, especially with the religious festivities.

Likewise, most of these festivals and festivities can portrait the different cultures that unite inside the country. Costa Rica like the rest of Latin America, presents many cultures, from native to foreign ones, with that mix you can enjoy many different celebrations around the country and during the year.

Most Important Festivals and Cultural Celebrations in Costa Rica

During the year people in Costa Rica celebrate presenting traditions like music, food with an array of dishes and ingredients, interesting and beautiful clothes, processions or parades where we can observe the mingling of cultures, and even how important is the faith for the population of this country.

With other celebration, it is normal to enjoy the use of mythical creatures for different costumes, or adults and children to use traditional and older clothes for a better representation of the identity of each town in the nation. Other festivals can show different games and activities to draw people, especially tourists, to a little piece of the tico culture. But these festivals and cultural celebrations are more than just an entertainment, these show the spirit, faith and patriotism of the Costa Rican people, no matter the social class, age, religion, gender or ethnicity of them.

Public Festival of Palmares (Fiesta de Palmares)

During the first two weeks of January you can find a whole celebration in Palmares. This is considered the largest and longest celebration in Costa Rica. There are tons of beer, a horseback riding parade, traditional bloodless bullfights, concerts, food booths, carnival rides and impressive fireworks.

Saint Days of Santa Cruz (Fiestas de Santa Cruz)

this is a religious celebration for the patron saint of Santa Cruz, “Santo Cristo de Esquipulas”. The main day of the celebration is on January 15th, within the Santa Cruz town you can find two main locations for the celebrations: The Plaza de los Mangos where bloodless bull riding takes place, and the Parque Bernabela Ramos where the other cultural activities can be found.

Coffee Cup

This is a tennis tournament that has gained popularity through the years, the most important aspect of this tournament is all the participant are under 18. It takes place in the Costa Rica Country Club in San Jose, during a week in mid-January.

Diablitos Party (Fiesta de los diablitos)

This party is celebrated during the first weekend of February, in the Rey Curre Village near San Isidro de El General. This is a native celebration, where the Boruca people around the region pays homage to ancestral spirits as it commemorates the tribe’s victory over Spanish conquistadors. This is one of the oldest celebrations in the nation. Boruca Men dress up as Diablitos with colorful hand-carved wooden masks, while other person is supposed to be the bull that represents the Spanish conquerors. The main drink is known as Chicha a fermented corn drink, people can visit the celebrations for free but it exits a fee to paid for taking pictures.

San Isidro Labrador Day (Día de San Isidro Labrador)

Another religious celebration, this one is to honor the patron saint of peasants, harvest and animals. On March 15th, there are many festivities around different towns in the nation, where you can find markets, food, drinks, parades and blessing by the local priests.

National Orchid Exhibition (La Exhibición Nacional de Orquídeas)

The date can change with every year, but it is an impressive show and competition to display more than 300 types of orchids around the world by the greatest growers.

The International festival of Arts (Festival Internacional de las Artes)

In the last two weeks of March, the Department of Culture & Youth of Costa Rica setup this program since 1992. The best artists and performances from the nation and around the world reunite in San Jose to exchange and share arts, the metropolitan Park “La Sabana” is the preferred place for the festival.

Virgin of The Sea Day (Fiesta del Virgen del Mar)

On July 16th the Virgin of Mt. Carmel is parade in the coastline with decorated fishing boats, to honor the Puntarenas patron saint. Music, dance, masses, food, fireworks and sporting activities take place during the celebration.

Guanacaste Day (Día de la anexación de Guanacaste a Costa Rica)

On July 25th in Liberia, Costa Rican celebrate the annexation of Guanacaste Province from Nicaragua en 1824. With this celebration there are the formal events from schools and public departments, after that you can find typical food, crafts and parades.

Virgin of Los Angeles Day (Dia de la Virgen de los Angeles)

On August 2nd Costa Rican celebrate and honor their holy patroness also known as “La Negrita”. Their honor her with an annual pilgrimage and processions from San Jose to Cartago, former capital city of Costa Rica, where the Virgin’s Basilica is located.

Independence Day (Día de la Independencia)

Actually, it is not just the Independence Day of Costa Rica, it is also Central America Independence Day. The celebration is in all countries from Central America, so a torch as a symbol of freedom will be brought from Nicaragua to Cartago by relay runners, in the afternoon at 6:15pm all the activities must be interrupted so Costa Ricans can sing the national anthem. During the Day will be parades and festivities around the country.

Festival of Lights (Festival de la Luz)

On the second Saturday of December, people take the streets of San Jose to officially start the holiday season. This is a lively festival with good music and food, and a major parade with cars decorated with lights to celebrate the Christmas season.

As you can see there are incredible and amazing festivals in Costa Rica, all of them a sight to behold. Of course, these are just a little bit of all the traditions and experience that you can enjoy in the latin country.

More to explorer

Talk to our travel expert

Our Managing Director, Alon, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.

Let's Talk!