Santa Cruz Fiestas – Mid January
Kicking off around January 15th this series of shenanigans lasts for an entire week incorporating folk dancing, bullfighting in the local style where no bulls are injured for your entertainment. Also features some delicious native food and drink which are not be be missed. Santa Cruz, which lies about a 30 minute drive south of Liberia, has been named the country’s National Folklore City so is definitely worth a visit but catching it during the fiestas will make it even all the more memorable.
Fiesta of the Diablitos – Late February
Taking place in the Indian Village in Rey Curre south of San Isidro, this is a deeply traditional event which recreates the fight between the native Indians and the invading Spanish. Colourful wooden costumes and masks as well as music and dance, food and drink and a spectacular fireworks display combine to make this festival particularly memorable. Also an excellent place to pick up local art and crafts as numerous fairs take place throughout the town.
Independence Day – September 15
Along with all of Central America, Costa Rica celebrates its independence from Spain which was achieved in 1821. Huge patriotic parades and parties take place throughout every town and city and all the children have lantern parades with lanterns or faroles which they make during the preceding weeks. The festivities actually begin at 6pm the day before when the whole country comes to a standstill as the Independence torch is lit. As will all Costa Rican festivals, the celebrations are loud and colourful and well worth catching.
Limon Carnival – Mid October
Birthplace of the Calypso, the province of Limon is home to some of the most diverse of all Afro-Caribbean cultures and to one of the biggest festivals on the Costa Rican calendar. Taking place all day and night on the Saturday nearest to the middle of October, the event is an exotic display of Afro-Caribbean music and dance which gets everyone in the province involved. It’s pretty hard not to get caught up in the celebrations and with the hordes of tourists which attend each year it’s easy to see just how popular this particular carnival actually is.
Columbus Day – October 12th
Coinciding with the Limon Carnival but taking place throughout Costa Rica everything shuts down in honour of the day good old Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. Celebrated as Dia de la Raza or Race Day it also celebrates the ethnic diversity in the country as well as its discovery and as you all know any festival celebrated so many different races and cultures is bound to be a good one. Music and dance, food and drink and all that goes with it combine to make the event a memorable one.