Costa Rica Fiesta Season
When you organize your trip to Costa Rica, you’ll need to consider various aspects to plan the best trip. From proper accommodations to scheduling activities, it’s easy to book your trip itinerary quickly. One of the most important factors to consider when booking your Costa Rica vacation is the season you’ll be visiting.
When people think of seasons, they commonly think of the weather. While the weather is an integral part of your trip, so are the events going on in Costa Rica during your visit. The best time to visit Costa Rica and experience the culture and have fun is the fiesta season.
What Is Fiesta Season in Costa Rica?
If you’re looking for a fun event to experience while in Costa Rica, fiesta season is a fantastic time to travel to this beautiful country. Fiesta season is an event that’s similar to a fair or carnival in the United States. Fiesta translates to “party” in English, so fun and lively celebrations occur throughout the fiesta season in Costa Rica.
Fiesta season occurs during Costa Rica’s dry season or summertime, which is from December until April. This season is the better time of year in Costa Rica and offers plenty of sunshine and warmth. This is one of the most popular times for travelers to visit because of the favorable weather and the plentiful activities around the country. You can explore the luscious jungles and the wildlife that inhabits the rainforest, relax on beautiful sandy beaches along the coastline and explore the unique culture that Costa Rica encompasses through its fiestas and festivals during the summertime.
There are various types of fiestas in Costa Rica. The locals love to celebrate throughout the year, especially during the nice weather. With events that include dancing, bull riding and live music, you’ll get a unique experience during your trip to Costa Rica when you visit during fiesta season.
Fiestas are a part of every community in Costa Rica. From large, well-known fiestas to smaller celebrations, all locals gather during this time of year to have fun and celebrate various occasions. Many fiestas have events that are centered around the countries agricultural industry.
Sabaneros, similar to cowboys in the U.S., is a common occupation in Costa Rica because of its large ranching and farming industry that significantly supports the country’s economy. Many fiestas have events that center around Costa Rica’s agricultural workers and communities.
What Events Can I Expect?
What travelers can expect from fiestas depends on the type of fiesta they’re attending. Some fiestas are similar to a traditional fair, while others celebrate certain holidays in Costa Rica. One thing that all of the fiestas will have in common is that attendees will feel the lively atmosphere that these fiestas create.
While traditions and activities will vary between fiestas, there are a few standard events that you can expect at many of these celebrations.
Tico-Style Bull Riding
One of the most recognizable events during fiestas in Costa Rica is bull riding “a lo Tico” or Tico-style. This type of bull riding is a unique combination of traditional rodeo riding and something completely different. Not to be confused with Spanish bull riding, this bull riding is free of violence toward the bull. The Tico-style bull riding showcases the difference between man and animal and celebrates the bull’s strength and power.
This sport is similar to the American version of bull riding at rodeos. The rider will sit on the bull and see how long they can last during the ride. The Tico-style part comes in after the bull rider falls off the animal. The people sitting in the bull ring will jump in and taunt or distract the bull. They’ll run away from the bull, and the crowd will watch as every person escapes.
This tradition used to include men solely, but women have recently begun joining in on the activity. The bull will be rangled in and taken out of the ring, then another bull rider enters and the cycle continues during the fiesta.
Food and Shopping
Popular parts of fiestas are the diverse food options and shopping kiosks set up around the fiesta. Local vendors and large caravans of sellers will set up stands with traditional fair food, various goods and other items that attendees can browse through and enjoy during the fiesta.
You can find goods ranging anywhere from shoes and small knick-knacks. Travelers can find unique handmade goods from these fiestas and connect with vendors at the fiesta.
Food at the fiestas is a major aspect of the event’s activities. Costa Rica is a one-of-a-kind country with various combinations of cultures. This unique collection of cultures makes the food options vast at fiestas. With food inspired by Chinese cultures, like chop suey and fried rice, Argentinian pincho and steak, or Costa Rican staple pupusas, you’ll leave the fiesta with a full belly after trying all of the food options.
Like a traditional American fair, many fiestas in Costa Rica have carnival rides for attendees to experience during the celebration. With roller coasters and other traditional carnival rides, thrill-seekers can live it up at the various fiestas in Costa Rice that include rides at the event.
Kids and adults can enjoy the carnival rides at the fiestas. It’s a great activity for families to accomplish on their trips to Costa Rica.
Fun and Dancing
A big reason why people love the celebration of fiestas is the dancing, socializing and party atmosphere of the event. After watching bull riding, enjoying food and shopping around, you can enjoy the social aspect of fiestas.
People will dance and enjoy drinks all night. This is the ultimate time to party in Costa Rica and visitors will enjoy the variation of fiestas and their meaning to the community. You can let loose on your vacation and have fun during these unique events. It’s the perfect way to explore more about the country and interact with locals on your vacation.
Most Popular Fiestas in Costa Rica
Fiesta season in Cost Rica packs in numerous events that bring communities together and invite travelers to experience the beloved traditions and culture of Costa Rica. With Carnival rides, fireworks, food, dancing and music, you must attend these one-of-a-kind celebrations during your Costa Rican vacation.
Some of the most popular fiestas in Costa Rica have long-standing historical traditions that you can learn about and experience for yourself.
Fiesta de los Diablitos
The Fiesta de los Diablitos translates to Festival of Little Devils in English. A more accurate meaning of this festival is to celebrate ancestral spirits. The Fiesta de los Diablitos is held by two villages of the Brunka indigenous tribe, the Boruca and Rey Curre.
There are two different Fiesta de los Diablitos for each indigenous village. The Boruca village hosts its fiesta during December of January and it lasts for three days, and the Rey Curre Village hosts its fiesta the first week of February.
The Fiesta de los Diablitos honors the victory the Brunka tribe accomplished over the Spanish. The Brunka celebrate with costumes, masks and long-lasting traditions that have been passed down for generations. The Brunka tribe members will dress up as diablitos, also known as the ancestral spirits, and one member will dress up as the bull, which symbolizes the Spanish.
The Fiesta celebrates by dancing out the historical events of the victory with the Dance of the Diablitos. While the bull may appear to win in certain situations, the Brunka prevail in the end by claiming victory over the Spanish. Outsiders are welcome to watch the fiesta and enter the village, but only men of the Brunka tribe are allowed to be a part of the Dance of the Diablitos.
A staple of this fiesta is the colorful and bright hand-carved mask that the people of Boruca create for the Fiesta de los Diablitos. These masks represent animal spirits that the Brunka had to guide them through the fight.
Hosted in the county’s capital of San Jose, Fiestas Zapote is one of the largest celebrations in the country. This fiesta takes place near the end of December and lasts until the beginning of January. The Fiesta de Zapote is part parade, part carnival and part Costa Rican bullfighting. This celebration is a week-long festival full of fun and numerous activities for your entire traveling group.
The Fiesta de Zapote hosts the largest horse parade in the country. This tradition welcomes over 5,000 horse riders dressed in their nicest attire to show off themselves and their horse.
The horse parade is a big part of this fiesta, but the main attraction for many attendees is bullfighting or Toros a la Tica. This Costa Rican staple features local amateur and professional bullfighters who show off their incredible talents as they dodge these incredible animals. Costa Rican bullfighting is based on the traditional Spanish version, but with no harm to the bull. The participants dodge the bull as it runs around the arena. The Fiestas de Zapote has a permanent bull ring on it s farigrounds.
If you’re a fan of music, glitter and all-things hippie-related, check out the Envision Festival on your next Costa Rica trip. This festival is hosted in late February and is the ultimate Costa Rican festival for soul-seekers. This celebration attracts thousands of travelers every year to the town of Uvita. You’ll experience four days in this small town completing yoga, listening to live music and watching fire dancing.
The Fiestas Palmares is the perfect combination of a country fair with a tropical flair. This is a two-week festival in the middle of January that welcomes a large majority of the population of Costa Rica. The Fiesta Palmares is one of the largest festivals in the country that is hosted in the small town of Palmares, which is west of San Jose, the country’s capital.
Fiestas Palmares showcases bullfights, concerts, fun games, dancing and drinks for attendees to enjoy. This celebration is Costa Rica’s largest cowboy fiesta with a horse parade and plenty of carnival rides for adults and kids.
Santa Cruz Fiesta
The Santa Cruz festival is at the beginning of January and takes place in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. This is a religious festival that celebrates with bullfights, marimba music, and folk dancing. Santa Cruz festival also honors the ranching and agriculture culture of Costa Rica.
San Isidro del General Fiestas
The San Isidro del General Fiestas celebrate agriculture in Costa Rica with events like bullfighting, livestock competitions, flower shows and other competitions. Competitors compete for prizes and showcase the hard work of ranch workers across the country. This festival occurs in early February.
In late February, people in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica come together and celebrate the traditions and culture of the region. This area is known for its agriculture and deep-rooted history in ranching. The fiesta honors this celebration with dancing, rides, live concerts and music.
If you’re looking for the ultimate party and celebration in Costa Rica, stop by the Puntarenas Carnaval. This lively fiesta is hosted in the port town of Puntarenas. This is Costa Rica’s biggest celebration. You can join in late February for food, parade floats, a horse parade, concerts, a beauty pageant and other celebratory activities.
List of Festivals and Fiestas Outside of Fiesta Season
Most of Costa Rica’s fiestas take place during the fiesta season because of the beautiful summertime weather. While this is a wonderful time to plan your vacation to Costa Rica, there are other festivals and fiestas that take place throughout the entire year.
Travelers can always find something to do in Costa Rica that introduces them to the country’s culture and traditions. Some festivals and fiestas that happen during the wet season include:
- Virgin of the Seas Fiesta: This fiesta is a boat parade that celebrates the patron saint of the sea in mid-July.
- Independence Day: This day celebrates with parades throughout all of Costa Rica.
- Dia de Guanacaste: This celebration recognizes the freedom of the Guanacaste region with parades and dances.
- El Desfile de Faroles: This is the Parade of Lanterns, which includes school children parading through the streets with red, white and blue lanterns.
Stay at Villa Punto de Vista During Fiesta Season
Costa Rica has plenty of activities and events for travelers, especially during the fiesta season. You can plan an exciting vacation with the activity options available and see all aspects of Costa Rican culture.
Stay at the beautiful Villa Punto de Vista when you’re planning your upcoming Costa Rica trip. Our accommodations stand out with plenty of social space and private bedrooms for your entire group. Our staff can help you find events, like fiestas, to check out while on your vacation. Check out our availability and rates of Villa Punto de Vista today.