Save the Date for an Unforgettable Time in Costa Rica

The 2014 Costa Rica calendar of events offers sports, art, culture, traditional celebrations and more

Costa Rica – April 7, 2014 – From top-notch sporting events to cultural celebrations and unforgettable festivals Costa Rica invites visitors to experience the sights, sounds and celebrations of the nation with an extensive 2014 calendar of events. Whether celebrating the arts during the International Art Festival, joining in the celebration during Carnival in Limón or taking mountain biking to new heights at La Ruta de Los Conquistadores, visitors will find opportunities to explore the country through a wide variety of activities and festivals.

Traditional celebrations and events include the following:

April 4 – 14
The International Art Festival is a program organized by the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCJ). The event brings together the best national and international artists providing attendees with the opportunity to enjoy artwork, live theater, music and dance performances. Each year the exhibition pays tribute to a country with this year’s selection being Russia.
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April 11
A national holiday in Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria’s Day is held to commemorate the death of the soldier who is officially recognized as the national hero. Juan Santamaria is honored by two statues in Costa Rica, one in Alajuela and the other in front of the Congress in San José. The main international airport in Costa Rica is also named after him. It is believed that on April 11, 1856 Santamaria single handedly turned back an invasion and in the process lost his life. His action contributed to a Costa Rican victory which would lead to the nation becoming a free and independent country.

April 22 – 26
Organized by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), the Chamber of Tourism and Commerce of Atenas, CATUCA and the Atenas Cattle Driver Association, this event has been developing for eight years. The goal is to bring locals and tourists to Atenas annually to celebrate their reputation for having “the best climate in the world,” according to an article featured in National Geographic magazine. There is also a historical significance as Atenas was a key site on the road taken by the oxcarts which carried coffee to the port of Puntarenas. During this celebration the town is filled with color and traditional activities at the Railway Museum and the mill.

May 14 – 16
Now in its thirtieth year EXPOTUR brings together more than 300 representatives from the tourism sector. This event, organized by the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (ACOPROT), highlights a wide variety of tourism products ranging from major attractions to products and services. Additionally, EXPOTUR aims to familiarize the industry with Costa Rica’s tourism offerings and experiences through a series of pre-and post-event tours.
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July – August
Advertised as “the biggest cultural, artistic, and danceable” event in the history of Costa Rica, Limón Roots magazine hosts festivities for the Black Cultural Festival around the country. Past scheduled events have included jams, an awards ceremony and an African fashion show.

July 16
Celebrated on the Puntarenas Beach, the Virgen del Mar Festival (Festival of the Virgin of the Sea) is a colorful festival with parades and beautifully ornamented boats with lights and flags paying homage to the Virgin del Carmen. This celebration always takes place on the weekend closest to July 16th.

July 25
Also known as Guanacaste Day, this is a celebration of Guanacaste’s annexation from
Nicaragua in 1824. Everyone is invited to enjoy the festivities which include traditional music typically played by a quartet. Many people also wear their traditional costumes and dance to marimba music. Costumed couples perform Punto Guanacasteco, the region’s folkloric dance, which has become the national dance. The city of Liberia is the center of the action hosting concerts, dancing and bullfights.

August 2
This is the annual pilgrimage day of Virgen de Los Angeles, the patron saint of Costa Rica. Nearly one million people gather to walk from San José to the Basílica in Cartago (approximately 15 miles or 24 km).

June 5 – 8
The Presidential Papagayo Cup is part of The Presidential Challenge series, a premier event on the sport fishing circuit of the Americas dedicated to the conservation and protection of billfish and inshore game fish. All events produced by this company have two goals in mind, promoting sport fishing related tourism and raising money for charitable organizations that specialize in protecting game fish.
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August 30
More than two dozen statues of saints from various towns are brought to San Ramon city where they are paraded through the streets. Once the parade is finished, the statues are displayed inside of San Ramon’s central church. This celebration features live music, a variety of entertainment activities and traditional festival food.

August 31
This Caribbean celebration includes a gala parade in Limón, a range of cultural activities, jazz concerts, conferences and educational forums, traditional games for kids, cultural performances, food and more. The event also includes a number of symbolic activities and civic ceremonies paying tribute to honorees.

September 15
Independence Day commemorates Costa Rica’s independence from Spanish rule in 1821. This national holiday is marked by the hoisting the national flag followed by performances and parades put on by the schools and communities throughout the country. Parades take place all across Costa Rica the night of the 14th, and at exactly 6 p.m. the entire nation joins in the national anthem. The Independence Torch, which is another symbol of Costa Rica’s liberation from Spain, is carried by thousands of students from Guatemala to Costa Rica’s southern region. A traditional celebration takes place in Cartago, the former capital city of Costa Rica.

October 13
Celebrated on October 12th, or the Monday nearest to it, Cultural Day is Columbus Day in Costa Rica. While the official ceremonies are celebrated on Saturday, schools and offices are closed on Monday.

October 8
In this trade-specific professional meeting Central American countries are able to promote their tourism offerings and opportunities in order to establish commercial relationships between local tour operators and wholesalers in main international markets. By inviting key media outlets that specialize in travel, CATM also seeks to promote regional awareness, and knowledge about various destinations and their diverse touristic products.

Week of October 12
This Caribbean street party takes place the week of Columbus Day and is one of the most famous Costa Rican festivals. Described as a smaller-scale version of Mardi Gras, the celebration includes floats, dancing and extravagant street celebrations commemorating Columbus’s discovery of Costa Rica.

October 24 – 26
La Ruta de Los Conquistadores is Costa Rica’s premier mountain bike race and one of the most difficult athletic events on the planet. The world’s original multi-day fat-tire stage race, La Ruta is the grandfather that created and inspired this now worldwide phenomena.
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This gathering of the Costa Rican tourism industry aims to strengthen the promotion of domestic tourism. Among the participants are tour operators, national parks, hosting companies, car rental agencies and rural tourism representatives.

The city of San José, with the support of Asociación Boyera Nacional, plays host to this parade and celebration that honors the traditional oxcart and cattle. This event brings together hundreds of cattlemen from all over the country showcasing their wagons and oxen. To accompany the parade families enjoy typical music and traditional folk dancing groups.

The Festival of Lights is a popular celebration that takes place in the city of San José. It includes an evening parade with beautifully lit floats, including one from the Costa Rica Tourism Board, and fireworks. This celebration is typically associated with the yearend holidays in the capital.
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December 8
This top-notch marathon is organized by La Asociación Maratón Internacional Costa Rica with a goal of providing athletes national and international certifications and endorsements.
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December 25 – January 1
The yearend festival guarantees that the old year goes out with a bang. Attendees enjoy festivities held the last week of every year in Zapote, a suburb east of San José. The celebration includes carnival rides, food stands, games, music and dancing.

December 26
Considered part of Costa Rican folklore this horse parade, or tope, celebrates the Day of the Costa Rican Horse Rider, and takes place in the heart of San José. The event showcases a wide variety of different horse breeds donning their best saddles and is widely regarded as the pinnacle event for those who enjoy equestrian and western style activities.

December 27
The National Carnival is an annual street festival with live music, costumes, food, fanfare and much more. The costumes, decorations and parade are just a portion of this exciting event that takes place in San José.

Every Saturday
The weekly Love Your City event brings modern Costa Rican culture to life for locals and visitors alike in the capital city of San José. The program began in 2011 by the Ministry of Youth & Culture with the hopes of bringing together the community through engaging programming that promotes relaxation, entertainment, education and physical activity. Cultural Corridor programming is held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at local parks in Downtown San José including Parque España, Parque Jardín de Paz, Parque Morazán and Parque la Merced. Scheduled activities change weekly and include guided visits to museums, art classes, yoga, capoeira and swing dancing lessons, music and circus performances, sports leagues, table games, artisan craft exhibits featuring traditional crafts and environmentally friendly products, literary workshops and poetry readings.
For more information please visit

Costa Rica’s calendar of events is vast, rich and varied as the country has a variety of sporting activities such as, athletics, motocross, cycling, surfing and more. All this can be enjoyed on any weekend. For more information please visit the following:


About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America, nestled between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south; it is bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. With an abundance of unique wildlife, landscapes and climates this small country proudly shelters approximately five percent of the known biodiversity in the world. In order to protect and preserve its wealth of natural resources Costa Rica has become a global leader in sustainable practices with protected areas comprising 26 percent of its land mass. With a peaceful spirit, emphasis on education and an economy based on tourism, technology and exportation, Costa Ricans and visitors alike enjoy one of the highest standards of living and organized tourism infrastructure in Latin America among a tropical paradise of lush rainforests, mystical volcanoes and cloud forests and beaches that meet mountains filled with monkeys and macaws. Offering a broad terrain of activities and accommodations, visitors to Costa Rica will find a range of hotel options ranging from small beachside bed & breakfasts, to authentic intimate boutique mountain lodges, to major international business hotel brands and everything in between; Costa Rica’s accommodations offer something appealing for everyone’s desires. The phrase “Pura Vida” can be heard echoing throughout Costa Rica from coast to coast. Used as a greeting or expression of happiness, the phrase literally translates to “pure life,” however its true meaning is “full of life,” which accurately describes the adventure and wonder that await visitors.

About Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT)

Established in 1955, the Costa Rica Tourism Board spearheads the vital task of regulating and promoting Costa Rica’s extensive of tourism offerings. The ICT and its partners in the private sector work tirelessly to garner recognition, standardize practices, provide insightful research data and foster cultural development for the country’s coast to coast one-of a kind tourism products and resources.

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