Annual Activities, Festivals & Events in Costa Rica

Here are a few activities that are happening throughout the year in Costa Rica.

January

Palmares Festival (first two weeks of January): Concerts, parades with folklore dancing, bingo and food.

Coffee Cup (first week of January): Popular tennis tournament at the CR Country Club in San Jose

Alajuela Festival (first week of January): Oxcart parades to the Alajuelita Cross to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Alajuela.

Santa Cruz Festival (week of January 15): Typical dances, music and bullfighting in honor of the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste.

Guanacaste String Festival (late January): Mixture of different musical styles in Tamarindo, Northern Pacific.

 

February

Calendar Pic DiabolitoSan Isidro del General Fiestas (first week of February): Agricultural fair in San Isidro and San Jose with flower shows, bullfighting and livestock competitions.

Mardi Gras in Esterillos (mid-February): Traditional carnival with music, dancing, food and parades

CENAC Summer Festival (February 13-16): The National Cultural Center in San Jose offers free storytelling, theater and movie entertainment.

Los Diablitos Games (late February): Fireworks, masks and traditional dancing in Rey Curre, Boruca to re-create the fight between the Spanish and the indigenous tribe.

 

Puntarenas Carnival (last week of February): One-week celebration with music, beer and traditional food in Puntarenas.

Festival of the Sun (last week of February): Celebration of the Mayan New Year with fire ceremony on February 25 and exhibition to promote solar power.

Monteverde Music Festival (February -March): The country´s best musicians come together to play in the cloud forest town.

Liberia Festival (last week of February): Guanacaste folklore and traditions festival with music and concerts in Liberia.

 

March

Calendar PicsBonanza Cattle Show (first week of March): Bullfights, rodeos and horse races to honor Costa Rica´s cowboys in San Jose.

Oxcart Day (second Sunday): Traditional Parades with painted oxcarts in Escazu, San Jose.

Liberia Fiestas (first week of the month): Folklore, rides and concerts in Liberia.

International Arts Festival (March 15-25): Central exhibition of art performance theater and dance in San Jose.

Fruit Festival (mid-March): Celebration and recipe tastings to honor Costa Rica´s great variety of fruits in Orotina, Alajuela.

National Orchid Show (mid-March): Display and awarding of more than 300 orchid species in San Jose.

San Jose Day (March 19): Celebrations troughout the country with street food, fairs and catholic masses to honor Saint Joseph.

Caribbean Music Festival (March –April): Held on Playa Chiquita, Limon.

Peregrinación to Ujarras (middle of March): Religious processions from the Cartago Ruins to the Ujarras Church.

International Food Fair (third weekend of March): Spread of national and international dishes at the food fair in Coronado, San Jose. Profits are donated for social projects.

 

April

Calendar Pic Holy WeekHoly Week (week preceding Easter): Religious parades and crucifixation. All businesses are closed from Thursday to Sunday.

International Art Festival (April 5-21): Theater, concerts and exhibitions in San Jose.

Juan Santamaría Day (April 11): Celebrations with parades and music to honor the nation´s hero Juan Santamaria, especially in his birthplace, Alajuela.

Luz de Luna Festival (third week of April): Traditional dances, cultural events and plays in Santa Ana, San Jose.

University Week (last week of April): Exhibits, live music and parades at the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

 

May

Labor Day (May 1): Presidential speech and processions throughout the country to celebrate a day off from work.

San Isidro Labor Day (May 15): Carnivals and parades in all towns named San Isidro to remember the patron saint of farmers and farm animals.

San Juan Day (May 17): Marathon from Cartago to San Jose over 14 miles.

Corpus Christi Day (May 29): Religious festival with a day off from work.

 

June

Fathers Day (Third Sunday of June): Village fairs with popular musical groups, the famous barrel races, traditional food and moonlight festivities.

Saints Peter and Paul Day (June 29): Religious celebrations to honor the Catholic saints Peter and Paul throughout the country.

 

July

Calendar Pic Guanacaste DayThe Virgin of the Sea (Saturday closest to July 16): Celebration of the patron saint in Puntarenas with decorated fishing boats, fireworks and parades.

Annexation of Guanacaste (July 25): Carnivals, folkloric dances and bull fights in Liberia, Guanacaste´s capital city to celebrate the province´s decision to remain part of Costa Rica and not Nicaragua in 1824.

Mango Fiestas (late July): Alajuela celebrates its heritage as the City of Mangoes with parades, music and refreshments.

 

August

The Virgin of Los Angeles (August 2): The country´s largest religious holiday with pilgrims march toward Cartago´s Los Angeles Basilica and celebration of the miracles of “La Negrita”.

Mothers Day (August 15): National holiday.

San Ramon Day (August 30): San Ramon honors its patron in Alajuela with dancing, music and 30 patron saints from neighbouring towns.

Afro-Costa Rican Cultural Week (end of the month): Discussions, exhibitions and conferences on black culture in Limon.

 

September

Calendar Pic San Jose DayIndependence Day (September 15): The country celebrates its independence from Spain with lantern parades and a freedom torch carried by students from Guatemala to Costa Rica.

International Beach Clean-Up Day (third week of September): Modern celebration to clean and appreciate Costa Rica´s beaches.

 

October

Calendar Pic Limon CarnivalSan Isidro Anniversary (October 9): Celebration to remember the agricultural town of San Isidro as the fastest growing city, San Jose.

Limón Carnival (weekend of October 12): A popular festival in Limon with Caribbean music, rum, dancing and parades.

Culture Day (October 12): Indigenous protest marches to remember the Spanish conquest.

Corn Festival (October 13): Traditional celebrations to honor the corn crop in Upala with corn-product costume parades.

 

November

All Saints Day (November 2): Day to pay respect to lost loved ones. Families visit cemeteries.

Coffee Picking Contest (mid-November): Contest in the Central Valley of Costa Rica with music and dancing.

Oxcart Parade (late November): Celebration that honors Costa Rica´s oxcart and agricultural traditions. Campesino Song Festival with parade along Paseo Colón, San Jose.

 

December

Calendar Pic Festival de la LuzFestival of the Negritos (week of December 8): Combinated celebration of traditional indigenous rituals and Catholic festivities to remember the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, Boruca. Traditionally celebrated with costumes, flute music and dancing.

Christmas Choir Festival (first week of month): Choirs from all over Costa Rica perform at National Theater in San Jose.

Festival of Light (second week of month): Fireworks, live concerts and parade of lighted boats.

Festival of the Yeguita (December 12): Processions, fireworks, food and more in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Christmas Celebrations (early December): Best time to begin making tamales and to put up nativity scene at home. Children sing Christmas carols on December 15.

Popular Festivals (December 25-31): Amusement park rides with a bull corral, traditional food, music and fireworks in the Zapote fairgrounds, San Jose.

El Tope Nacional (December 26): National horse parade at the center of San Jose.

Carnival (December 27): A huge carnival with live music, large floats and many carrousels.

Festival of the Devils (December 31- January 2): Reenactment of fight between the Indians (Devils) and the Spanish (Bull), with traditional masks and music.