While Costa Rica’s biodiverse terrain and year-round warm climate are key elements attracting visitors from around the world, it is also a rich cultural haven where visitors can find a myriad of unforgettable holiday celebrations taking place throughout December and January. During the most wonderful time of the year, Costa Rica comes to life with month-long celebrations.
December is for festivals. Festival de la Luz kicks off Christmas with lights, lights and even more lights. During the month of December, the entire city of San Jose lights up just in time for Christmas. Throughout the capital, all buildings can be found adorned with glorious lighting displays and fun holiday decorations. On the third Saturday of December (Dec 16), the main event takes place and includes concerts, dances, an evening parade of beautifully-lit floats, local marching bands and a fireworks show. For more information, visit http://www.festivaldelaluz.cr/.
For families interested in learning about traditional indigenous celebrations that honor Costa Rica’s rich native history there is Fiesta de los Diablitos (Dec 30-Jan 2), which takes place on the Boruca Indian Reservation in Puntarenas. This four-day celebration honors Ticos’ original roots with battle reenactments, a traditional dance and typical foods.
Traditionally, Costa Rican families attend a large Mass on Christmas Eve and open their gifts at midnight on December 24.
Ring in the New Year Like a Tico. Following Christmas Eve, public country-wide year-end celebrations take place all throughout the last week of December (Dec 25 – Jan 1). New Year’s Eve is celebrated with family and New Year’s Day is a national holiday where most Ticos observe the day resting at home.
Starting on Christmas Day, the Festejos de Fin Y Principio de Año kickoff, which is a week of celebrations throughout San Jose that lead up to the New Year. Visitors will be delighted to find fireworks lighting up the Costa Rican sky, while street parties everywhere celebrate with music, dancing and food. In San Jose, New Year’s Eve festivities are centered around the downtown area and in the Zapote district.
Zapote Fiestas—on the Zapote fairgrounds, offer carnival rides, fair and street food, bullfighting and plenty of typical drinks from Dec 25- Jan 1. El Tope Nacional, on December 26, is an annual national horse parade where thousands of Ticos from all over the country proudly display their equine traditions by showing off their beautiful breeds, riding skills and fancy footwork, during a procession through downtown San Jose.
From January 18 – 22, the Palmares Fiestas take place—a week of concerts, bullfighting, folklore dancing and family-friendly fun. Another popular event is el Dia de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas (Jan 15), where visitors will get to see an oxcart procession to the iron cross, which is situated on the mountain above Alajuelita—where a blessing is given.
With plenty to do and see—in a wonderful tropical setting, nothing beats celebrating the holidays with the family in Costa Rica. Experiencing a rich and beautiful culture through different holiday traditions is a memorable experience the whole family can enjoy and creates cherished memories, as a result. The warm tempered climate is an added bonus.
For more information on Costa Rica, visit www.visitcostarica.com
About Costa Rica
Nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica offers visitors an abundance of unique wildlife, landscapes and climates — meaning a trip to this Central American country is anything but run-of-the-mill. The country proudly shelters approximately five percent of the known biodiversity in the world and has become a global leader in sustainable practices. Visitors to Costa Rica enjoy a highly organized tourism infrastructure offering a broad terrain of activities and accommodations.
About Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT)
Established in 1955, the Costa Rica Tourism Board (the ICT), alongside its partners in the private sector, spearheads the vital task of regulating and promoting Costa Rica’s extensive tourism offerings.
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SOURCE Costa Rica Tourism Board
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