Festivals and Celebrations

Below are listings of festivals and celebrations that take place regularly in Costa Rica:

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

January

Full Moon Party

Call for dates and times

 

Típico food, crafts, sea sports, cultural activities.

 

Where: Cocalito Beach, Osa Peninsula
Phone: (506) 786-6534

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New Year's Day

January 1st

 

National Holiday

 

Where:
Phone:

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Palmares Fiestas

First two weeks of January

 

Food, carnival, rides, bingo, topes, concerts, more.


Where:
Phone:

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Alajuelita Fiestas

Week of January 15

 

Honor Black Christ of Esquipulas, Alajuelita's Patron Saint; oxcart parade, pilgrimage to huge iron cross on mountain.

 

Where:
Phone:

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Santa Cruz Fiestas

Week of January 15

 

Honor Black Christ of Esquipulas; folk dancing, marimbas and more.

Where: Guanacaste
Phone:

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Copa del Café

week-long

 

Week-long international youth tennis tournament at Costa Rica Community Club - participants under 18.

 

Where: Escazú
Phone:

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February

Cattle Exhibit

First week of Feburary

 

Livestock shows, agriculture/industrial fairs, bullfights, more.

 

Where: San Isidro de El General
Phone: (506) 771-0394

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Expo-Feria Pérez Zeledón

 

 

Cattle show and sale, cowboy demonstrations, rides, food, concerts.

 

Where:
Phone:

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CENAC Summer Festival

February 13-16

 

Dance, concerts theater shows, storytellers, movie shows for free at National Cultural Center.

 

Where: San José
Phone:

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Sun Festival

Last week of February

 

Annual gathering to promote use of solar energy, exhibit solar energy devices, food cooked in solar ovens; fire ceremony to celebrate Maya New Year, February 25.


Where:
Phone:

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Puntarenas Carnival

Last week of February

 

Week-long fun in the sun.

 

Where: Puntarenas
Phone:

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Monteverde Music Festival

February-March

 

Best Costa Rican musicians and artists perform in this remote cloud forest town.

 

Where: Monteverde
Phone:

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Liberia Fiestas

Last week of Feburary

 

Best Guancaste folklore, rides, concerts and much more.


Where: Liberia, Guanacaste

Phone:

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March

Día del Boyero (Oxcart Driver's Day)

Second Sunday of March

 

Colorful Oxcart Parade, local priests bless animals and crops.

 

Where: San Antonio de Escazú
Phone:

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Annual International Food Fair

Third weekend of March

 

Proceeds are for social benefits.


Where: at IICA, Coronado
Phone:

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Caribbean Music Festival

March-April

 

Music.


Where: Playa Chiquita, Limón
Phone:

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Fruit Festival

March 16-26

 

Exhibit/sale of fruits, vegetables, lectures, rides, concerts, food.

 

Where: Orotina
Phone:

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National Orchid Show

 

 

Over 1,500 local and foreign species, hybrids, on display.

 

Where: San José
Phone

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Pilgrimage to Ujarrás

Mid-March

 

Religious procession from Cartago to ruins of first church in Costa Rica.

 

Where: Ujarrás
Phone:

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St. Joseph's Day

March 19

 

Namesake neighborhoods celebrate with fairs, special masses.

 

Where: St. Joseph
Phone:

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April

Holy Week

March or April

 

Dramatic street processions depicting crucifixion. San José virtually shuts down Thursday-Sunday. City Ticos head to the beach.


Where: San José

Phone:

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International Arts Festival

April 5-21

 

International theater, dance, concerts, exhibits.

 

Where: San José
Phone:

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Juan Santamaría Day

April 11

 

Commemorates Costa Rica's national hero, barefoot soldier who died in battle against William Walker's troops in 1856. Week-long celebrations, parades, concerts, dances.

 

Where: concentrated in Alajuela
Phone:

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University Week

Last week of April

 

Concerts, exhibits, parades, craziness.

 

Where: University of Costa Rica
Phone:

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Artisan's Fair

Last week of April, first week of May

 

Huge craft fair.

 

Where: San José
Phone:

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May

Labor Day

May 1

 

Marches, President gives annual "State of the Nation" address, Congress elects new leaders; picnics, dances, dominoes.

 

Where: Limón
Phone:

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San Isidro Labrador's Day

May 15

 

All namesake towns honor this patron saint of farmers and farm animals with blessing of animals and crops; parades and fairs.

 

Where: San Isidro
Phone:

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Carrera de San Juan

May 17

 

Big cross-country race, tough 22.5-km course.

 

Where: San Juan
Phone:

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Corpus Christi Day

May 29

 

National holiday; religious celebration

Where: throughout Costa Rica.


Phone:

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June

Father's Day

Third Sunday of June

 

Give dad a tie.

 

Where:
Phone:

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St. Peter & St. Paul Day

June 29

 

Religious celebration; namesake towns have turnos.

 

Where:
Phone:

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July

Annual Catholic Fair

Two weeks in June

 

Concerts, seminars, conferences.

 

Where:
Phone:

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Virgin of the Sea

Saturday closest to July 16

 

Colorful regatta of decorated fishing boats, yachts in the Gulf of Nicoya salute Puntatenas' Patron Saint, Virgin of Mt. Carmel; masses, parades, dances, sports events, fireworks.

 

Where: Puntarenas
Phone:

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Annexation of Guanacaste

July 25

 

Celebrates Guanacaste's decision to be part of Costa Rica instead of Nicaragua in 1824; fiestas in Liberia, folk dances, parades, cattle shows, bullfights, concerts.


Where: Guanacaste
Phone:

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August

Virgin of Los Angeles

August 2

 

Honors Costa Rica's Patron Saint with nationwide pilgrimage to Basilica in Cartago to celebrate miracle-working black Virgin of Los Angeles' (La Negrita) appearance.

 

Where:
Phone:

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Mother's Day

August 15

 

National Holiday; flowers, candy and extra love for moms.

 

Where: nationwide
Phone:

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San Ramón's Day

August 30

 

Townspeople parade to San Ramón church bearing their districts' patron saints; San Ramón dances through the streets; parades and fun.

 

Where: San Ramón
Phone:

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Semana Cultural Afrocostarricense

 

 

Afro-Costa Rican lectures, discussions, displays of black culture.

 

Where:
Phone:

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September

Costa Rica's Independence Day

September 15

 

Gigantic relay race takes in entire Central American isthmus; student runners carry "Freedom Torch" from Guatamala to Costa Rica.

Torch arrives at Colonial capital of Cartago precisely at 6 p.m. on the 14th, when everyone, nationwide, sings National Anthem; kids have nocturnal homemade lantern parades; drum-beating, uniformed school children parade the next day.

 

Where:
Phone:

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October

San Isidro de El General

October 9

 

Celebration of the southern hub city's founding.

 

Where: San Isidro
Phone:

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Limón Carnival

 

 

Week-long street dances, parades, concerts - a Caribbean "Mardi Gras".

 

Where: Limón
Phone:

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Virgen del Pilar's Day

October 12

 

Fair in San José district of Tres Ríos celebrating Patron Saint.

 

Where: Tres Ríos district of San José
Phone:

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Fiesta del Maíz

October 12

 

Corn celebrated with parade, costumes made entirely of corn husks, grains, silks.

 

Where: Upala
Phone:

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Cultures Day

October 12

 

Commemorates Spanish conquest, frequent indigenous protest marches.


Where:
Phone:

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International Guitar Festival

 

 

Best classic guitar players perform.

 

Where:
Phone:

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National Artisan's Fair

Dates vary

 

Exhibits, sale of fine crafts.

 

Where:
Phone:

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November

All Soul's Day

November 2

 

"Day of the Dead" observed with family visits to cemeteries to remember loved ones.

 

Where:
Phone:

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December

Christmas Choir Festival

First week of December

 

Choirs around the country perform at National Theater.

 

Where:
Phone:

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Lights Festival

All month

 

Parades, concerts, fireworks at night, San José adorned with lights.

 

Where: San José
Phone:

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Fiesta de los Negritos

Week of the 8th

 

Ancient Indian rituals combined with Catholicism to honor Virgin of the Immaculate Conception with costumes, drums, flute music, dance.


Where: Indian village of Boruca
Phone:

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Fiesta de la Yeguita (Little Mare)

Week of December 12

 

Blends ancient Indian ritual in honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe with processions, concerts, fireworks, special foods.

 

Where: Nicoya
Phone:

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Christmas Celebrations

 

 

Homes and businesses set up Nativity scenes; competition for best scene runs through the 22nd. Las Posadas begin December 15 - carolers go house to house and are treated to refreshments. December 24, Catholic churches celebrate the Misa de Gallo (literally, Mass of the Rooster).

 

Where:
Phone:

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Festejos Populares (Year-end Festivals)

December 25-31

 

Amusement park with rides, food, bullfights, music, fireworks.

 

Where: South San José fairgrounds at Zapote.

Phone:

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International Dance Festival

First two weeks of December

 

Shows with acclaimed national/ international dancers; seminars.

 

Where:
Phone:

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Tope

December 26

 

Great horse parade.

 

Where: downtown San José
Phone:

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Carnival

December 27

 

Huge parade with colorful floats; music.

 

Where: downtown San José
Phone:

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Fiesta de los Diablitos

December 31 - January 2

 

Indians of the southern Boruca region enact a fight/dance between the Indians (diablitos) and Spaniards (bulls) amid flute and drum music; craft sale, fireworks.


Where:
Phone:

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