The months of February, March and April are pretty full with Costa Rican events and fiestas. Such events give a taste into the history of the different areas of the country from cowboys showing off their horse skills in the ‘tope parade’ in Puntarenas to the best local music in Monteverde. It is a time to experience the local flavours from this tiny yet environmentally rich country and here is a pick of the best of them.
Cobano’s “toros a la tica,” or Costa Rican-style rodeo – Feb 13th to 22nd
In the Nicoya Peninsula inland town of Cobano this town street fair with horse Tope parade, rodeo, bull fair, dancing & food is the talk of the town for a month leading up to the event. There is lots of family fun with rides and local animals proudly on parade. The late night attraction is watching spectators enter the bull ring and get chased around by a large and pretty cross bull.
Liberia Carnival – Feb 26th to Mar 6th
In Liberia, Guanacaste this is the biggest of the Guanacaste fiestas with horse parade, bull riding, rodeo, concerts, dancing, food, rides & games, fireworks. This is a much larger event than that in Cobano and takes over large parts of the town of Liberia. Great atmosphere and colour fills the streets of this northern town.
Monteverde Music Festival - throughout Feb and March
In the cloud forest town of Monteverde, you will find what is said to be one of the best music festivals in Central America. Costa Rican musicians and artists perform various concerts from the end of February to the end of March. For around $10, you’ll get to experience classical, jazz and Latin music at the Bromelias Music Garden and Monteverde Institute. Best of all is that all proceeds go towards teaching music and arts in local schools.
Oxcart Parade, San Antonio de Escazu - 2nd Sunday of March
In the fashionable area of Escazu, San Jose this is a traditional parade of beautifully handmade, painted oxcarts with oxen teams & “drivers” in traditional costumes, food and dancing and blessing of the animals. The traditional oxcart, or carreta, is Costa Rica’s most famous type of craft. In many cases, oxcarts were a family’s only means of transport and often served as a symbol of social status. Sadly, as most oxcarts became obsolete as means of transport, they have been reduced to decorative craft objects. There are only a few of the younger artisans are interested to learn and practice this craft tradition today and the Oxcart parade is a fabulous way to get a glimpse into Costa Rica’s agricultural and transportation past.
National Orchid Show – mid-March
In San Jose this is a celebration of the country’s national flower. The Costa Rican Orchid Association (Asociacion Costarricense de Orquideas) hosts this annual orchid exposition and competition. More than 300 species of orchids are displayed each year; the best win coveted first-place ribbons
Festival of International Arts - first 2 weeks of April or end of March, depending on Easter
Top international artists and national performers give performances in San Jose and other locations throughout the country (concerts, dance, theatre). One of the most anticipated cultural events of the year, FIA brings together hundreds of artists, crafters, buskers, and musicians to San José for a colossal celebration of Costa Rican creativity. Unlike previous incarnations, this year’s FIA will take place in the low-income district of Alajuelita and the surrounding towns of Acosta, Aserrí and Desamparados. Nowhere in the country will you find such an incredible array of talent, including circus acts La Carpa, Los Malafachas, and Los Zancudos.
Dahlia Nahome is the General Manager of Rancho Cielo.