The village fairs are very popular in Costa Rica and are celebrated much like a carnival. They include
masquerades, popular musical groups, moonlight festivities, dances, typical food, parades on horseback,
bingo, the selection of a queen and the famous barrel races in which a hoop is thrown over a barrel by
galloping horseback riders. These festivals are an excellent introduction to life in our villages and an opportunity to see Costa Rican entertainment. Enjoy!!
Palmares Festival: first two weeks of January: food, carnival, parade, bingo, concerts & more!
Alajuela Festival: the week of January 15 in Alajuelita. Parades with oxcarts and a walk to the Alajuelita Cross are organized in honor of the Cristo Negro de Esquipulas.
Santa Cruz Festival: the week of January 15 in Guanacaste. Typical dances and marimba music are some of the activities organized in this celebration given in honor of the Cristo Negro de Esquipulas.
Guanacaste String Festival: late January, an eclectic mix of musical styles in Tamarindo, on the northern Pacific coast.
Puntarenas Carnival: the first two weeks on the month. Fun under the sun during the entire week!
Festival of the Sun: the last week of the month. This celebration promotes solar energy. There is an exhibit of solar energy articles, cooking with solar ovens and on February 25, there is a Fire Ceremony to celebrate the Mayan New Year.
Monteverde Music Festival: the best musicians in the country play in this remote cloud forest village. February-March.
Liberia Festival: the last week of the month. The best folklore of Guanacaste, concerts, parades, etc.
Open-Air Festival: the last week of the month. National Cultural Center offers free theater, concerts, and dance shows in San José.
Oxcart Day: the second Sunday, in San Antonio, Escazú. Colorful parade of oxcarts. The local priest blesses the animals and the crops.
Liberia Fiestas: the firts week of the month. Folk traditions, rides and concerts in Liberia.
Caribbean Music Festival: on Chiquita Beach in Limon. During March-April.
Peregrinación to Ujarras: in the middle of the month. Religious processions from the Cartago Ruins to the Ujarras Church.
Holy Week: in March or April. Religious processions of the crucifixation. All businesses close from Thursday to Sunday.
International Art Festival: from the 5-21 in San José. Theater, dances, concert, exhibits.
Juan Santamaría Day: April 11th. The national hero is remembered with parades, concerts and dances, especially in Alajuela, where Juan Santamaría was born.
Luz de Luna Festival: the third week of the month. Cultural events, folk traditions, dance, concerts, plays in Santa Ana, southwest of San José.
San Isidro Labor Day: May 15th. All of the villages that are named after San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers, celebrate with carnivals and parades. Animals and crops receive blessings.
Fathers Day: Third Sunday of June. The village fairs are very popular in Costa Rica and are celebrated much like a carnival. They include masquerades, popular musical groups, moonlight festivities, dances, typical food, parades on horseback, bingo, the selection of a queen and the famous barrel races in which a hoop is thrown over a barrel by galloping horseback riders. These festivals are an excellent introduction to life in our villages and an opportunity to see Costa Rican entertainment. Enjoy!!
The Virgin of the Sea: the Saturday closest to July 16th. Decorated fishing boats and yachts greet the patron saint of Puntarenas. Parades, dances, fireworks and more.
Annexation of Guanacaste: July25th. A celebration of the decision made in 1824 for the “Partido de Nicaya” to remain part of Costa Rica and not Nicaragua. Carnivals in Liberia, folkloric dances, parades, concerts, bull fights, etc.
The Virgin of Los Angeles: August 2th. The Patron Saint of Costa Rica is honored with a national peregrinacion to the Cartago Basilica. A celebration of the miracles of the “Negrita”.
Mothers Day: August 15th. National holiday.
Afro-Costa Rican Cultural Week: Conferences on Afro-Costa Rican culture, discussions and exhibits of black culture in Limón at the end of the month.
Independence Day: September 15th. Relay race throughout all of Central America. Students carry a freedom torch from Guatemala to Costa Rica. Children participate in parades with lanterns. School bands participate in parades also.
Limón Carnival: Second week of October in the city of Limón. A full week of dancing in the street, parades and Caribbean music.
San Isidro del General Festival: October 10th, celebrates the founding of this fastest growing city.
Culture Day: October 12th. The Spanish conquest is celebrated with indigenous protest marches.
Corn Festival: October 13th in Upala. Parades with outfits made out of corn.
All Saints Day: November 2nd. This is a day to celebrate the dead. Families visit cemeteries to remember their loved ones.
Oxcart Parade: last Sunday of the month. Oxcart drivers camp in La Sabana Park, and hold Campesino Song Festival with a parade along Paseo Colón, San José.
Festival of the Negritos: the week of December 8 in the indigenous village of Boruca. Indigenous rituals are combined with Catholicism and the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception is honored with costumes, drums, flute music and dances.
Christmas Choir Festival: 1st week of month. Choirs from around country perform at National Theater in San José.
Festival of Light: 2nd week of month. Parade of floats adorned with lights, concert and fireworks in San José.
Festival of the Yegüita: the week of December 12. The Virgin of Guadalupe is honored with processions, concerts, fireworks and typical food.
Christmas Celebrations: Nativity scenes are put up in homes and businesses. Children begin singing Christmas carols on December 15.
Popular Festivals: From December 25-31. In Zapote, in the south part of San José, an amusement park is set up with a bull corral, typical music, food and fireworks.
Parade: December 26th. In San José. A parade on horseback celebrates all of the horseback parades throughout the year.
Carnival: December 27th. In San José. A large carnival with colorful carrousels and music.
Festival of the Devils: December 31-January 2. The Boruca Indians of Rey Curré perform a fight/dance between the Indians (Devils) and the Spaniards (Bull) to the sounds of drums an flute music.