The best festivals in Costa Rica

photo by thombo2 on Flickr

Traveling to Costa Rica usually includes trips into the jungle, to nature reserves, around the magnificent volcanoes or the beautiful hidden beaches of the country. But no matter how beautiful Costa Rican nature is, it can’t take away all the attention from the villages, towns and cities brimming with history and culture. Old archaeological sites, interesting museums, beautiful old towns and other monuments make up a huge to-see list for any traveler interested in Costa Rican culture. But another great opportunity to get an insight into life in Costa Rica is to go to a festival. Without fail, Costa Rican festivals are eagerly awaited by everyone, tourists and locals. Here are some of the best festivals in Costa Rica that you will definitely enjoy attending.

Dia de San Jose

On March 19, people who live in villages, towns or cities called San Jose are in luck – it’s time for one of the most popular national holidays in Costa Rica. Starting with the capital of San Jose, every settlement named after the saint celebrates its nameday. There are parades, music and dancing, and of course, a lot of great food. Many people wear traditional costumes in red, blue and white, there are special masses at church, and interesting local fairs and markets.

Dia de Juan Santamaria

photo by thombo2 on Flickr

Juan Santamaria is a famous national hero in Costa Rica, a boy who died in the 1856 in the war against William Walker. There are several memorials and statues dedicated to Santamaria throughout the country, and April 11 is the national holiday when his sacrifice is remembered. The festival is a cheerful one, though, with the usual parades, concerts, beauty pageants and food stalls.

Dia de los Trabajadores

May 1 is the Dia de los Trabajadores , or Labor Day, celebrated in many parts of the world. Although this isn’t a uniquely Costa Rican festival, the city of Limon celebrates it in a special way. Travel to Limon on Dia de los Trabajadores and enjoy the cricket matches, lively parties, and generally a jolly carnivalesque atmosphere.

Fiesta de la Virgen del Mar

photo by LibreBus on Flickr

The last weekend before July 16 is the colorful Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea in Puntarenas, one of the best festivals in Costa Rica. The celebration is huge, with adorned boats carrying a statue of the Virgin to the Gulf of Nicoya, fireworks displays, parades and parties. Although there is a religious mass too, the focus of the festival is one the dancing, music and food stalls.

Carnaval

The second week of October in Puerto Limon is dedicated to a huge Caribbean Mardi Gras-style event completely with floats, revelry, dancing on street and lots of food. The carnival is a celebration of Caribbean culture, calypso and reggae music, and an occasion to set up street fairs and have some fun during the working week.

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