The holiday season in Costa Rica is a magical time full of festive celebrations, spectacular lights, music, and precious moments spent with friends and family. And so, we thought it might be fun to share with you our top two reasons why it is so easy to fall even deeper in love with Costa Rica during the holiday season.
#1: The Festivals
It seems as though there is always a party happening somewhere in Costa Rica, but this is never truer than during Christmas.
El Avenidazo takes place during the first two weeks of December and kicks off the holiday season. This boardwalk event takes place in San Juan and allows visitors to enjoy Christmas carols, concerts, theatrical performances, and cultural activities.
The Festival de la Luz, or festival of lights, is one of the year’s most popular events, drawing in 1 million visitors on the second Saturday in December. Beginning at 6 p.m., the streets of downtown San Jose are filled with intricately illuminated floats, stilt walkers, masquerade participants, and bands. Music and fireworks fill the night sky as the parade makes its way through the streets on a two-mile course that doesn’t end until midnight.
Las Posadas is a lovely tradition that started in Mexico and Guatemala and brings people closer to friends and family during the holiday season. During La Posada, families remember the journey of Mary and Joseph in the days before the arrival of Jesus as they searched for a place where Mary could give birth. You might be surprised to learn that Santa Clause, or Colacho, takes a back seat to Baby Jesus here. In fact, it is Baby Jesus who delivers gifts to children in Costa Rica.
During La Posada, families go to the homes of friends or family and pedir posada (ask for lodging) before singing Christmas carols. The host then invites them in for punch or traditional holiday foods.
Which brings us to…
#2: The Food
As is the case for many celebrating Christmas, the traditional foods we’ve come to expect during the season are inextricably woven into the meaning of the holidays. Here are few of our Costa Rican favorites:
You can’t have a Costa Rican Christmas without rompope, or Costa Rican eggnog. While countries around the world have their own recipes, the Costa Rica version dates back to at least the 19th century. Rompope is less thick than other versions and is made with fewer spices. Fortified with a healthy serving of rum, you can count on Rompope to keep you warm throughout Christmas.
And finally, we cannot talk about Costa Rican Christmas traditions without mentioning tamales. Making and serving this traditional dish of meat rolled in masa, or cornmeal dough, and wrapped in banana leaves before steaming is a time-honored tradition for many Ticos. You’ll find tamales offered throughout the month of December, both in restaurants and the homes of friends and family.
We hope this has inspired you to plan a trip to Costa Rica during the holidays. And from all of us at Coldwell Banker Pacific Realty, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!