The final stop of our 2020 Holidays Around the World Tour takes us to the country where soda is a small, traditional restaurant, Costa Rica!
Party Hub of the Country
San José hosts a large portion of the holiday activities in Costa Rica, beginning with Avenidazo on Central Avenue Boulevard!
Buildings and street decorations light up the night as locals enjoy a a stress-free walk through the traditional, festive environment!
Lights of Christmas
Illuminating the Christmas tree at the Children’s hospital is an important marker of the holiday season!
This 90-minute event contains live theater and music, ligt shows, and thousands of fireworks! The Christmas tree itself is said to contain over 25,000 colourful lights.
This tradition was started back in 1964, and usually begins during the first week of December.
The second Saturday of December of the holiday season in Costa Rica is the Festival de la Luz, the Festival of Lights!
Festival de la Luz is a free parade in San José that is open to the public and is nationally broadcasted across multiple networks.
Over 11 lighted floats, 14 marching bands, balloons, fireworks and performing artists take part in the festival! Due to the current pandemic, there will not be a Festival this year, but we look forward to more in future years.
Spiked Eggnog Holidays
Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena, is the main day of celebrations for this Central American country.
Families gather to celebrate this special holiday with traditional meals of pork leg, Christmas tamales and heavily-spiked eggnog!
The delicious festivities continue late into the night, with families often exchanging gifts after the clock strikes midnight! Some will attend a midnight mass at this time as well.
While December 24th is not a national holiday, December 25th is! Everything except for some grocery stores will be closed to allow for citizens to spend some well-deserved quality time.
Parade of Lights, Now the Parade of Horses
December 26th is a special day in Costa Rica as this is El Tope Nacional, the most popular horse parade in the country!
San Jose’s Second Avenue sees over 3,000 horses trotting through the streets the celebrate this long-standing tradition beginning at midday and running into the evening hours.
As with Festival de la Luz, this parade is free and open to the public and is also nationally broadcasted on multiple stations.
You’ll Know What Does It Is Here
You know how North Americans often say that the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s is a blur and nobody knows what day it is?
This is not the case in beautiful Costa Rica!
While Christmas Day is a relatively quietly and low-key day around the country, it makes the first day of Fiestas de Zapote!
This seven-day festival goes from December 25th until January 1st, and is said to be when the Three Wise Men greeted baby Jesus.
Fiestas de Zapote also marks the end of the holiday season and beginning of the New Year.
Costa Ricans descend upon Zapote, a suburb just south of San Jose, and enjoy a week filled with live musical performances and bullfighting.
Contrary to the Spanish version of bullfighting, in Costa Rica, the bull chases the people rather than the people chasing the bull!
People also enjoy a multitude of food stands, yummy cotton candy, fresh churros, chop suey, portable bars, carnivals and plenty of rides!
Celebrations Upon Celebrations Upon Celebrations
Back in the capital city, San Jose, December 27th sees another carnival roll into town.
Carnaval Nacional sees hundreds of Costa Ricans dressed head to toe in colourful costumes dancing along side the even more parade floats to the rhythm of the bands in attendance.
Children also attend as there is a Christmas tree lighting ceremony during the Carnival!
Harvest Beats Homework
One interesting aspect of this beautiful country is that their school vacation schedule is timed to coincide with the middle of coffee harvest!
This is set so that children are able to help harvest coffee in the fields!
Coffee harvest season for countries north of the Equator runs from September to March, which has the Costa Rican school year to end by Mid-December.
The first term begins again in February, with the second term beginning in August!
Due to the businesses of the holidays and middle of harvest season, many families spend the week following Christmas relaxing and spending time with family and friends, with most heading to one of the beautiful beaches around the country!
Costa Rica and Road Coffee
Our delicious Costa Rica beans are a medium roast, loaded with rich complex flavours amidst strong floral and citrus notes. You will be sure to love its swiss chocolate and pineapple tastes!
Our best comparison: juicy pineapple dipped in a creamy milk chocolate fondue.
Yeah, that good!
Author Jordan Calladine