Love Christmas but hate the cold, grey weather that plagues much of North America and Europe? Want to go somewhere where their celebrations are at least, if not more, vibrant than your own? Well consider spending Christmas in Costa Rica where the sun is warm and the welcome even warmer!
Why Go To Costa Rica For Christmas?
The weather is a big plus point here. With a year-round tropical climate there is a only a temperature variance of 2 degrees celsius throughout the year, and given that puts the average daily high temperature between 26C to 28C (79F to 82F) you’ll not be catching a chill this Christmas. In fact the only real difference between the seasons is the rains; by the time Christmas comes around the rainy season has just finished, which for Costa Ricans is yet another reason to celebrate! All the rain means the waterfalls in Costa Rica are flowing at full power! The dry, sunny months now lie ahead, making it the perfect time to visit some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
What Are Costa Rican Christmas Traditions Like?
With Christmas and the end of the rainy season converging it’s a time for incredible vibrancy! Brightly coloured Christmas parades are happening everywhere, nearly every building is adorned with bright lights and sparkly decorations, families are gathering to celebrate, and you’ll not have to go far to find a festive concert to enjoy.
Like in many countries Costa Rica loves Christmas. They spare no expense or effort to decorate their trees, both real and artificial, to the max. But here it’s the Nativity Scene that is king. They are often life-sized, and most households have their own elaborate display taking up a good portion of their living room. They’re even dynamic; the Baby Jesus is not placed in the manger until just before Midnight Mass, and the Three Kings will only arrive on the 6th of January.
And The Food in Costa Rica?
The typical Costa Rican traditional food is the tamale. They are a kind of corn wrap filled with pork or chicken and bulked up with rice, potatoes and other vegetables. The wrap is itself wrapped in banana leaves before being boiled. Festive tipple? They love an eggnog and rum punch, especially with family just before midnight when the presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve.
Christmas In San Jose Costa Rica
As you might expect the nation’s capital has the biggest and most varied festivals. The Festival de la Luz (Festival of the Light) is held on the second and third week of December, and on the second Saturday at 6pm every year a huge, brightly-lit parade will march through the city from Paseo Colon to El Parque de la Democracia. 1500 musicians take part in the festival and the parade attracts over a million spectators to experience this amazing offering.
Another Costa Rican tradition during the festive period is the Bullfight. But don’t worry if you’re an animal lover! It’s against the law to hurt the bulls; that’s not to say the dozens of bullfighters that enter the ring will come off so lucky – their challenge to outrun the bull without sustaining injury!
Another animal attraction during Christmas in San Jose Costa Rica is the Tope Nacional de Caballos, a national horse parade that takes place on the 26th of December. A tribute to the agricultural heritage of the country, horsemen from all over Costa Rica descend upon the capital to showcase their impressive riding skills, while hand painted oxcarts are also a feature of the parade, travelling from Paseo Colon, starts an hour after midday.
Finally, on the very next day, the Carnival Nacional runs from Avenida Segundo to Paseo Colón. The avenues are awash with a parade of brightly coloured and lit floats, accompanied by participants in equally brightly coloured costumes dancing to the tune of a large number of troubadours.
The traditional Christmas in San Jose Costa Rica never has a dull moment!
Cover photo source: https://www.uvolunteer.net/blog/how-to-celebrate-christmas-in-costa-rica/