Festivals in Costa Rica

Santa Cruz fiestas

Like many Latin American countries, Costa Rica's festivals occur at regular intervals throughout the year. Whilst this often makes travelling difficult as transport slows down and things close, it also makes for a great party and an unforgettable opportunity to join in with Tico customs. Here's a break down of the most important Costa Rican festivals:


    The Santa Cruz Fiestas then take place in Guanacaste on the week of January 15th and involve a lot of traditional folk music and dancing, marimba and fun.


Puntarenas Carnival
    The very aptly named Puntarenas Carnival takes place in the last week of February in Puntarenas. It is definitely worth scheduling your trip around this week long fiesta of sun, fun and merrymaking.

March/ April

    In March/April there is a lively Caribbean Music Festival in Playa Chiquita, Limón, the home of Caribbean music in Costa Rica.
  • Batalla de Rivas; Juan Santamaría Day conmemorates the death of Costa Rica's national hero, Juan Santamaría, who died in battle against William Walker and his army of Nicaraguan slaves. It takes place on the week of April 11th and involves parades, music, concerts and a lot of noise! The main celebrations are held in the Alajuela Province, Santamaría's birthplace.
  • Semana Santa (Easter week) is probably the biggest celebration of the year and is celebrated throughout the country. The largest street processions are to be seen in San José city, whilst many city dwellers head to the beach for a break and a party.


    May 29th is the Corpus Christi festival - a national religious holiday throughout Costa Rica.


  • On the Saturday which falls closest to July 16th the Fiesta de la Virgen del Mar is celebrated in the Playa del Coco (Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste) and Puntarenas. This is a fun packed, colourful Costa Rican festival with fireworks, parades and beautifully adorned fishing boats paying homage to the Virgin of Mount Carmel, the Patron Saint of Puntarenas.
  • The 25th July is the Día del Guanacaste fesitval, which celebrates the 1824 annexation of Guancaste from Nicaragua. The city of Liberia sees the most action with concerts, traditional music, dancing and even bullfights.


    The Virgen de los Ángeles is a nationwide pilgrimage from San José to Cartago to celebrate the appearance of 'La Negrita', Costa Rica's patron saint.


Independence Day Costa Rica
    Independence Day is celebrated on September 15. This nationwide festival has parades and floats to mark Costa Rica's independence from Spain in 1821.


    The week preceding October 12th is the Día de la Raza in which the province of Limón bursts into action for a week long carnival in memory of Columbus' arrival to the island of Uvita.


    The Día de los muertos (or All Souls Day) festival takes place on November 2nd when families visit the graves of loved ones.


    The 8th is La Inmaculada Concepción (the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary) and is an important celebration on the religious calendar.
    Ticos really go to town at Christmas time and most take a holiday for the whole week between Christmas and New Year to enjoy the Fiestas de Zapote (25th Dec-1st Jan). This festival is nationwide and involves rodeos, dancing, traditional Costa Rican food and drink and general fun!