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What to do during the high season: a few of our favorite summer events

With not only Christmas and New Year’s upon us, but also the best weather of the year in much of the country – sunny, dry and breezy – there is never more to do and see in Costa Rica than during these summer months. Here’s a partial guide.

New Year’s Eve

Check for more information on both Christmas and New Year’s events – but in essence, New Year’s in Costa Rica is all about the fireworks. While professional shows dot the landscape, many households set off their own fireworks, giving any overlook – from higher ground to a high rise – a pretty incredible view. One particularly spectacular display is the annual show at Playa Preciosa on the Osa Peninsula, put on by a private citizen. It begins at approximately 8:30 and can be seen from most vantage points on the Golfo Dulce.

Festivals and Fairs

Local fairs, or festejos populares, dot the Costa Rican calendar all year long, but two of the biggest take place during the high season: the Fiestas de Zapote (Dec. 25-Jan. 7), an eastern San José neighborhood, and the Fiestas de Palmares (Jan. 11-22), an Alajuela town west of the capital. Both feature rides, traditional Costa Rican fairground food, bullfights, rodeos and more. Wherever and whenever your trip, ask your hotel or guide if there are fiestas or festejos nearby your stay; for example, the Northern Zone town of Bijagua will hold its annual event April 27-30, complete with a parade and local dishes prepared by community groups.

Another traditional Costa Rican event during the holidays is the traditional Tope Nacional (Dec. 26), or horse parade, which draws crowds to San José for strutting and dancing galore.

Art and Music

  • Dec. 29, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: The Rasta Rica Festival offers a taste of the Caribean’s finest reggae music.
  • Jan. 4-7, Tamarindo, Guanacaste: The Ocaso Undergound Music Festival unites DJs and fans from around the world.
  • Jan. 25-27, Tamarindo, Guanacaste: The Tamarindo Art Wave fills the coastal town with art, music and more.
  • Starting in February, San José: The 2017 inauguration of San José’s popular Art City Tour, which will continue throughout the year and offers free access to – and transportation between – museums and art galleries throughout the capital. Many restaurants and other businesses along the route offering special meals and deals.
  • Feb. 22-25, Uvita, Southern Zone: The beachside Envision Festival brings music, experts in healthy living and more to a gorgeous coastal setting.
  • March (TBD): The International Design Fest brings some of the world’s leading lights in design to the capital.

This story was originally published in our High Season Print Edition, available now for download or to pick up at these locations around the country. 

Our Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it


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