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Famous for its biodiversity, wonderful landscapes and natural treasures, our small country is also the possessor of great cultural wealth. Today we bring you all you need to know about a very important manifestation of the Costa Rica culture, the civic parties and saint festivities that take place in all the towns of any corner of the country taking the form of street fairs and festivals. Continue reading and learn how, when and where you can enjoy these celebrations during your next visit to the country.

Costa Rica Culture Bulls parade

Bull Parade in Liberia, Guanacaste. Image courtesy of Tico Times

How Ticos celebrate according to Costa Rica culture?

Ticos love to celebrate and a reflection of this is the street fairs and festivals you will find across the country, usually in celebration of the town’s Saint.  You could tour the entire country by attending the various civic and religious fairs that are organized week after week.

But how do the Ticos celebrate? and, how are these civic and religious street fairs and festivals?  According to the Costa Rica culture, there are elements that cannot be missing:

  • Cimarronas: named after the “cimarron” or ferral animals, the cimarronas are amateur musical bands with a unique musical style. One of its main characteristics is the use of wind and percussions instruments only and that they play without sheet music.
  • Chinamos: enjoy a great variety of typical food dishes in the many food stalls called “chinamos”. Depending on where you go you will find different options.  In Guanacaste the most famous are: arroz de maíz (corn rice), gallina criolla (hen), arroz guacho, “chorreadas” (corn-based thin pancakes), and more!
  • Topes: Horse parades that mix Spanish traditions with the “sabanero” (Costa Rican cowboys) style.
  • Corrida de Toros: the bullfights in Costa Rica Culture have a different style. The bulls are not “conquered” by the bullfighters, but the bull is surrounded by improvised bullfighters and the goal is to pass the night without these bullfighters being gored. There is also a great tradition of bull riding.

Costa Rica culture: let’s celebrate throughout the year

From January to December, there will be always a civic or religious celebration in some town in Costa Rica.  Here a calendar of the most popular:

  • January
    • Civic celebrations of Palmares: During the first two weeks of January, everyone get together at this small town in the province of Alajuela. The festivities begin on a Wednesday with the opening of the fairground. On Thursday thousands of people participate in the traditional Tope. On Saturday, the ranchera music festival takes place and on Sunday international concerts can be enjoyed.
    • Alajuelita Festivities: during the second week of the month, Alajuelita honors its patron the Holy Christ of Esquipulas, with a parade of ox carts, procession to the great iron cross of the mountain and much more.
    • Festivities of Santa Cruz: This town located in Guanacaste honors also the Holy Christ of Esquipulas. Folkloric dances, marimbas, bullfights and more can be enjoyed during the second week of January.

Stay in one of our amazing vacation rental properties and have fun at this festivities.

Costa Rica Culture Diablitos

Bull and diabolitos-Rey Curre. Image courtesy of Theo Molenaar


  • February:
    • Fiesta de los Diablitos (Little devils party): Held south of San Isidro del General in the indigenous Boruca village of Rey Curre, a reconstruction of the struggle between the Indians (diablitos) and the Spanish (a bull) takes place. Impressive masks, colorful costumes of wood, dances and fireworks create the scene. You can also visit the art and farmer’s fair.
    • Carnival of Puntarenas – last week of February: A full week of celebrations and parades under the sun.
  • March
    • Civic Festivities of Liberia: During the first week of March, this important town of Guanacaste best known as the White City, celebrate with unique traditions in Costa Rica culture like the bull’s parade. Enjoy the best holidays in Costa Rica staying in a luxury Vacation Rental and have fun visiting these unique festivities.
    • Joseph’s Day – March 19: Religious celebration in all neighborhoods named after this Saint, enjoy street fairs and religious celebrations.
Costa Rica Culture fiestas-liberia-by Periódico El Mensaje

Image courtesy of Periódico El Mensaje

  • July
    • Annexation of the Party of Nicoya – July 25: This historical celebration commemorates the annexation of the Party of Nicoya to Costa Rica in 1824 Parties, dances, topes, cattle fairs, bullfights and concerts are part of this important celebration.
  • December
    • San José Festivities: From December 25th until the end of the first week of January, the capital city of Costa Rica hold the biggest celebrations in the country. Learn more about this and how Ticos celebrate the Festive Season in our blog.
Costa Rica Culture

San José Festivities.  Image courtesy of CRHoy

The numerous civic and religious festivities of our country are a great opportunity to live Costa Rica culture in a unique way.  Stay with us and experience the warmth of Pura Vida lifestyle.


Contact us and our concierge will be happy to help you plan your next vacation in Costa Rica.