It’s the New Year, and that means it’s party time in Costa Rica! Kicking off with the Christmas holidays, the Costa Rica festivals season sashays into full swing in January and keeps you two-stepping to April.
Costa Ricans are known for their gregarious, fun-loving style; get bit by the bug when the country celebrates its many fiestas, festivals and horse parades in the first months of the year. Besides the main festivals, every town and community has its own “turno” (a country fair) to enjoy during the Costa Rican summer months.
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Costa Rica Festival Schedule 2016
Fiestas Santa Cruz (Jan. 5-17) — In Santa Cruz, Guanacaste: cowboy traditions with bull riding, rodeo, a horse parade, concerts, food & fireworks.
Fiestas Palmares (Jan. 14-25) — In Palmares near San Ramon: biggest fiesta in the country, huge horse parade, bull riding, rodeo, concerts, dancing, rides & games, arts & crafts, food & fireworks.
Puntarenas Carnival (Feb. 11-13) — In the Pacific port town of Puntarenas: street fair, parades, horse parade, concerts, dancing, food & sporting events.
Liberia Fiestas (Feb. 26 – Mar. 6) – In Liberia, Guanacaste: biggest Guanacaste fiestas, horse parade, bull riding, rodeo, concerts, dancing, food, rides & games, fireworks.
Envision Festival (Feb. 25-28) – In Uvita on the southern Pacific Coast: eco-themed festival of art, spirituality, yoga, music, dance & sustainability.
Monteverde Music Festival (February-March) – In Monteverde: top Costa Rican musicians and artists perform various concerts from the end of February to the end of March.
Oxcart Parade, San Antonio de Escazu (2nd Sunday of March) — In Escazu, San Jose: traditional parade of beautifully handmade, painted oxcarts with oxen teams & “drivers” in traditional costumes; food and dancing; blessing of the animals.
St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) — St. Joseph is the patron saint of the capital city, San José. Namesake towns celebrate with fiestas.
National Orchid Show (Mid-March) – In San Jose: celebration of the country’s national flower and 1,200 orchid species.
Fruit Festival (Mid-March) – In Orotina, Puntarenas: huge open-air fruit market and festival (on the way to the Pacific Coast from San Jose).
International Arts Festival (first 2 weeks of April or end of March depending on Easter) – Top international artists and national performers give performances in San Jose and other locations throughout the country (concerts, dance, theatre).
Juan Santamaría Day (April 11) — Commemorates Costa Rica’s national hero, Juan Santamaria, who died in the battle of Rivas in 1856. It is a national holiday; the majority of activities are held in Alajuela (parade, street fair, concerts).
Article by Shannon Farley