There are so many reasons why people fall in love with Costa Rica—the stunning beaches, the breathtaking mountain vistas, and the pura vida lifestyle. But another category ranking high on our list is that of the various festivals held throughout the year.
Don’t get us wrong—there are plenty of tourist attractions that should not be missed. But timing your visit around one of Costa Rica’s many festivals allows you to become immersed in the country’s vibrant and rich cultural history.
That’s why we decided to share with you 7 of our favorite Costa Rican festivals. There really is no better way to experience the magic of Costa Rican culture and we can’t wait to share our faves with you!
Tamarindo is the place to experience a bit of modern music culture in Costa Rica. The Ocaso Music Festival is a new addition to the CR music scene and offers a weekend packed with performances from local and international DJs. Ocaso is held from Jan 6 – Jan 9.
If you’re visiting later in the month, be sure to check out the BPM music festival which will be held from Jan 25 – Jan 29 in 2023. The event showcases some of the biggest names in electronic music.
Fiesta de Palmares
If you aren’t interested in the music scene, consider attending Fiesta de Palmares in the town of Palmares. This two-week festival is rich in tradition and includes rodeos, bullfights and parades. In 2023, the festival will take place from Jan 12 – Jan 23.
The Puntarenas Carnival is held just before lent and offers a more traditional festival experience. Known as the Queen of Carnival celebrations, you’ll enjoy dancing the nights away, spectacular fireworks displays and the opportunity to learn about traditional Costa Rican culture.
Festival de la Luz
The Festival de la Luz celebrates the winter solstice and offers plenty of unique food items, live music, incredible art installations, and culture. Held in downtown San Jose and beginning on the second Saturday in December, this festival officially kicks off the holiday season in Costa Rica.
If you’ve dreamed of attending Carnival in Brazil but are leery of the massive throng of attendees, Limón Carnival strikes the perfect balance of electric energy with smaller crowds (but make no mistake—there will still be thousands of people in attendance).
Held in Puerto Limón during October, the festival is touted as the largest street party in the country. Expect to enjoy plenty of delicious, traditional food offerings, live music and electric energy.
Fiestas de los Diablitos
Fiestas de los Diablitos translates to “festival of little devils” and, while the name may sound a little fearsome, the festival is really about honoring the spirits of deceased ancestors. There are two los Diablitos festivals each year—one is held Boruca at the end of December, and the other takes place in Rey Curre in early February.
Both festivals celebrate the victory of the indigenous Brunka people over Spanish conquistadors with traditional masks and costumes.
As you can see there is no shortage of festivals and celebrations here in Costa Rica. Be sure to research whether any are taking place when you plan your trip and make plans to attend. You’re sure to make memories you’ll never forget!