Costa Rica holidays are often based around non-secular activities, as most Costa Ricans are devoted Catholics.
Banks, public offices and most stores and businesses are closed during the most important holidays such as the week of Easter and Christmas. That being said, hotels and car rentals are completely booked several weeks in advance during this holiday period, as everyone seems to head to the beach and other popular destinations.
Easter week is by far the most important and celebrated holiday in Costa Rica. It is the perfect opportunity to see colorful religious processions. Many towns throughout the country also celebrate their Patron Saint’s day, with bullfights, rodeos, dancing and fireworks, among other activities, making it a very unique and special time to visit Costa Rica.
These annual holiday festivities in Costa Rica offer visitors an insight into the local culture and beliefs, and provide a great chance to sample typical Costa Rican food, meet new people, make new friends and learn about the traditions of this unique and beautiful country.
January 1st (New Years)
46 days prior to Easter, this day marks the first day of Lent. It is a moveable date, as is based on the Easter date for that year, and can thus occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10. Ash Wednesday falls on February 13 in 2013 but the date can vary.
Fiesta de los Diablitos
Is based on an indigenous culture marked by a re-enactment of the battle between the Spanish Troops and the Borucu Indians (diablitos) taking place in the San Isidro del General area. Visitors can enjoy the arts and crafts associated with the event, such as hand carved masks.
Carnival and Festival del Mar
Is a week replete with local celebrations in Puntarenas and Quepos an hour to the south, marked with fairs, dancing, music, sports events and more.
Día de los Boyeros
(takes place on the second Sunday in March) This event features exquisite hand painted oxcarts complete with competitions.
March 19 (St. Joseph's Day or Dia De San José)
Saint Joseph is very important as he is the patron saint of the capital city of San José. This day is nationally recognized with many special masses.
is a Christian festival and holiday which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter which takes place the last week of Lent is also called Holy Week and contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Maundy and the Last Supper, Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and the resurrection day on Sunday. Easter is then followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, also referred to as the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Easter is a moveable date as it is not tied to the civil calendar. The first Council of Nicaea proclaimed the date of Easter to be held the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschall full moon) following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox. Easter therefore can vary for Western Christianity between 22 March and 25 April.
April 11 (Juan Santamaria's Day)
Día de los Trabajadores (Labor Day)
This holiday is replete with all forms and types of festivities including a “state of the union” speech by the President, parades, street fairs, traditional dances, foods and more.
Día de San Isidro Labrador (San Isidro Labor Day)
this holiday honors the patron saint of farmers.
June 29 (St. Peter and St. Paul Day)
Father’s day (Día de los Padres)
Fiestas Pattronales Trinidad de Moravia
San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Leon Cortes, and San Jeronimo replete with dancing, music, traditional foods and even bullfights (without bloodshed)
Fiesta San Juan de Tibas
with bullfights (without bloodshed), fairs, dancing, traditional foods and more
July 25 (Annexation of the province of Guanacaste in 1824)
replete with folk dancing, typical food, horse shows and more.
Festival of the Virgin of the Sea (Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar)
Held on the Saturday nearest the 16th in Puntarenas. This secular celebration is marked by a week of parades, dances, regattas (procession of fishing boats), and a special mass. Playas del Coco also recognizes this festival.
August 2 (Virgin of Los Angeles's Day)
This is a national holiday celebrating the patron saint of Costa Rica. All types and sorts of special masses and religious processions are held. La Basilica de Cartago is the center of a peregrination from all parts and regions of Costa Rica, where people come on foot, some from hundreds of kilometers or more.
August 15 Mother's Day (Dia de la Madre)
is a very important holiday marked by street fairs, music, dancing and traditional foods. This a national holiday, so banks, schools, and many business are closed.
September 15 (Independence Day)
is a time to all of Costa Rica celebrates its independence from Spain in 1821, this holiday is marked by parades, typical dances, music and more, culminating with the arrival of a freedom torch in Cartago, the reenactment of the notification of Costa Rica’s independence from Spain.
October 12 Columbus Day (Día de la Raza)
commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus and is marked with several days of celebration on the Caribbean coast.
Fiesta Pattronale Escazú
is replete with music, dancing, typical foods, bullfights (without bloodshed) and more.
Halloween is fairly new to Costa Rica but is becoming more and more poplular.
All Soul’s Day (Día de los Muertos)
is observed at a national level with special masses and pilgrimages.
Ox Cart Parade
one of the largest is held on this month
All forms and sorts of competitions such as coffee picking are held on this month.
December 8 (Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary)
This holiday, formerly a national holiday is marked by religious procession, special Catholic masses and even dancing.
Horse parade (Tope Caballos)
albeit celebrated year-round dependent on the region, the month of December is known for horse parades, and much pride is taken in this event, with participants garnering traditional costumes and what not.
Fiesta Pattronale Pavas
is marked by fairs, dancing, music, typical foods and more.
Christmas Eve Mass
where many celebrate a dinner often at midnight.
December 24 and 25 (Christmas)
A very important event for family gatherings and a time to reflect. All forms and types of activities take place, such as parades, traditional dances, music, special masses and more.
Festival of lights (Festival de la Luz)
is a weeklong festival replete with fireworks, concerts, bull fights (without bloodshed) and more.
Festival de la Yeguita
is marked by bullfights (without bloodshed) and parades, with a block party in central park (parque central) of the Nicoya region with dancing, music, food and more.
December 31 (New Year's Eve)
is a time of great happiness and sense of unity as all Costa Ricans celebrate the coming of a new year. Fireworks light up the skies from the capital city of San Jose to the most remote regions of the countryside.
Feel free to contact us at www.costaricaguides.com, or toll free at 1-877-281-8515, useful information to help you learn more about Costa Rica, and assist you in planning your trip to Costa Rica, such as recommending hotels, tours, transportation, not to mention the special offers for the month of September.