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Costa Rica Holidays and Occasions 2017

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 11 Christmas
  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 5 Bull-Riding

Public Holidays & Special Occasions

The very best of the holiday season and a Happy New Year to everyone! Most of us take time off this time of year or contemplate where they'll be soon. So its an appropriate time to update our blog about public holidays and special occasions celebrated here in Costa Rica.

During Public Holidays in Costa Rica, most places of business will close their doors; many of the country’s offices, banks, government agencies, stores, and even places of entertainment (on some religious occasions) will be closed. When planning your trip, check to ensure that you will not require the services of an institution that may be closed for the ‘feriados’ or ‘day-off’.

Here is a short list of scheduled holidays. It reveals many Christian rituals which highlights the religious nature of the Ticos of Costa Rica. With many working persons enjoying their feriados there is additional pressure on resorts, hotels and car-rental agencies; beaches and scenic places. Of course more visitors frequent National Parks on those days too.

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 2

Jan 1st
Feb 14th
Mar 2nd
Mar 19th
Mar 20th 
Apr 11th 
Apr 17th
Apr 18th
Apr 20th
May 1st
May 15th
May 29th
Jun 15th 
Jun 21st 
June 29th
July 16th 
Jul 25th
Aug 2nd
Aug 15th 
Aug 24th 
Sep 9th 
Sep 15th
Sep 23rd
Oct 9th
Oct 12th
Oct 31st 
Nov 2nd
Nov 22nd 
Dec 8th
Dec 21
Dec 25th 
Dec 31st

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 3

New Years Day
El die Del Amor la Amistad
Week Dia de los Boyeros
St. Joseph’s Day
March Equinox
Battle of Rivas
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Easter Sunday
Labor Day
San Isidro’s Labor Day
Corpus Christi Day
Father’s Day
June Solstice
St. Peter & St. Paul’s Day
Virgin of the Sea Day
Annexation of Guanacaste
Our Lady of Los Angeles
Mother’s Day
National Parks Day
Children’s Day
Independence Day
September Equinox
San Isidor Anniversary
Columbus Day
All Souls Day
Teachers Day
December Solstice
New Year’s Eve

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 1

Public Holiday
Valentine’s Day (work day)
Public Holiday
in San Jose Province
Juan Santamaria’s Day
Public Holiday (Christian)
Public Holiday (Christian)
Public Holiday (Christian)
Public Holiday
Observed by some
Public Holiday (Christian)
Observed by some
Observed by some
Observed by some
Public Holiday
Observed by some
Observed by many
Observed by some
Observed by some
Public Holiday
Observed by some
Observed by some
Observed by some
Observed by some
Observed by some
Public Holiday (Christian)
Day Public Holiday
Observed by some

Costa Rican’s love a festive celebration and display their joyous friendly personalities to rhythmic music at every possible occasion. Food is always a fine accompaniment to the celebration, together with something liquid to lift-the-spirits and quench the thirst. Other celebrations are more solemn as religious groups participate in age-old rituals.

Special Note: Frequently featured ‘Bull-riding’ and ‘bullfighting’ are bloodless sports in Costa Rica.

July 2017

  • On the Saturday closest to July 16th, annually the Fiesta de la Virgen del Mar. Virgin of the Sea Festival are held to honor the patron of the sea. Brightly decorated boats are paraded in a procession carrying a statue of the Virgin Mother, followed by a special mass.
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017, Dia de Guanacaste is the day that Guanacaste chose Cost Rican rule over Nicaragua (1824). Liberia comes alive with jubilant festivities and fireworks.
  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 8 Dia de Guanacaste

August 2017

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 7 Mothers Day
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017, is a very religious day in Costa Rica. A pilgrimage on foot heads from San Jose to Los Angeles Basilica de Cartago, to honor La Negrita, the black Virgin Mother. Expect a crowd of a million people seeking mercies and cures for various ailments.
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Dia de Madre is a serious Mother’s Day in Costa Rica. Ticos take the day off to be with and honor their mothers.
  • Wednesday, August 30, 2017, San Ramon Day Parade to honor San Ramon the town’s patron saint.

September 2017

  • Friday, September 15, 2017, is Independence Day in Costa Rica which is enthusiastically celebrated throughout the country. The entire country comes alive in proud memory of the country’s Independence from Spain in 1821.
  • During the 3rd week of September, 2017, locals and visitors join forces to clean up the beaches of Costa Rica on International Beach Clean-Up Day. A night of festivities follows a day work.

October 2017

  • Thursday, October 12, 2017, was celebrated as Dia de la Raza, with carnivals and parades, dancing, and festivities mark the discovery of Costa Rica by Christopher Columbus- Now see below October 16, 2017.
  • Monday, October 16, 2017, Cultures National Day, replaces Dia de la Raza in celebration of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas.
  • Tuesday, October 31, 2017, Tuesday, Halloween was not a recognized holiday in years gone by, but is now a highly celebrated carnival with contests for best costumes and trick-or-treating.

November 2017

•   Thursday, November 2, 2017, Dia de lo Muertos, ‘All Souls Day’, Ticos and Ticas visit their departed friends and loved one’s in cemeteries, leaving flowers and other tokens of remembrance.

•   Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Teachers Day will honor teachers throughout the country.
•    Coffee Pickers Championship, pickers gather to compete in a contest to select a Champion Picker (to be announced).
•   Thursday, November 23, 2017, U.S. Thanksgiving, many hotels and bars celebrate the holiday; it is not a Public holiday but certainly a festive night.

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 6 Christmas

December 2017

•    Friday, December 8, 2017, Fiesta de los Negritos, the day the Roman Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin.
•    The week preceding Christmas, work in the country ceases for the Festival de la Luz. Concerts, street parades, and fireworks after dark in parks and public places.
•    Sunday, December 24, 2017, or Christmas Eve, most stores have shortened hours and close early as Christmas is a family affair. At midnight the churches herald in the birth of the Savior with the Misa de Gallo, Mass of the Rooster celebrated throughout the country. (The Rooster plays a very important part in Catholic religion and is depicted on many weather vanes and other Catholic symbols).
•     Monday, December 25, 2017, Christmas Day is another family oriented day, many go to the beaches of enjoy the cool rainforest together, exchanging gifts and traditional meals and drink. In San Jose the famous horse parade Tope Caballos features the Criollo horse breed.
•     Sunday, December 31, 2017, New Year’s Eve and the night brings many parties and festive celebrations across the country as Costa Ricans herald in the New Year.

Public Holidays & Special Occasions 2016

January 2016

  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 10 New Years

Start the New Year off with a bang! Food, music, and dancing, are enjoyed all over the country at ‘street parties’ under the colorful glow of fireworks. Every town and community is sure to have their own celebration and all are welcome to participate.

In early January, celebrate the Palmares Fiestas, a two-week long celebration concerts, bull-riding, and traditional Costa Rican festivals with costumes. Expect an attendance of over a million people celebrating all over the country.

  • In early January, celebrate the Palmares Fiestas, a two-week long celebration concerts, bull-riding, and traditional Costa Rican festivals with costumes. Expect an attendance of over a million people celebrating all over the country.
  • Third week of January, The Alajuelita Fiestas, a parade to celebrate the historic ‘Black Christ of Esquipulas, Alajuela’ this celebration continues to…
  • The Santa Cruz Fiestas in Guanacaste picks up the festivities from Alajuelita, as they remember the Black Christ.


  • San Jose’s annual agricultural show and competition, features bull fighting, livestock competitions, flower shows, and merriment in San Isidro, San Jose. This event is staged in early February.
  • Mid February is Mardi Gras time in Esterillos, Oxcarts, floats, and competing bands add excitement to this festival.
  • At the end of February, the Los Diablitos Games in Boruca, or the Festival of the Little Devils feature a cultural recreation of the fight between the indigenous peoples and the Spanish conquerors. The people are dressed to represent the devil and the Spaniards are represented by the bull (el toro).
  • February closes with the Puntarenas Carnival, seven days of festivities.
  • Finally, in Guanacaste, the Liberia Fiesta of music, folklore, rides, and entertainment, close the month long celebrations.


  • The Bonanza Cattle Show is held during the first week of March. The real cowboy’s of Costa Rica demonstrate their skills in bull riding, horseracing, rodeos, and bullfights in San Jose.
  • The second Sunday of March is ‘Dia de los Boyeros’, a day centered around the colorful Oxcart’s and their drivers, Escazu, San Jose comes alive at this time.
  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 4
  • Orotina, Alajuela, is home to the ‘Fruit Festival’ of Costa Rica in mid-March. Taste the many mouth-watering recipes made with fresh local produce.
  • Mid March, the National Orchid Show is featured in San Jose with many challengers for the top-ribbon honors.
  • March 19th the Feast of St. Joseph’s is celebrated with Roman Catholic masses, followed by local pageants and celebrations throughout Costa Rica.


  • The week before, and leading up to Easter (varies on the calendar), known as Semana Santa, is a time for religious devotion throughout Costa Rica. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday are very special days on the Catholic calendar. Many businesses close for the entire week as a mark of respect.
  • April 11th Marks the celebration of the Battle of Rivas, where Juan Santamaria of Alajuela, now proclaimed a National Hero, helped Costa Rican’s defeat William Walker, an 1856 invader.


  • Public Holiday in Costa Rica 9 Dia de San Isidro Labrador
  • May 1st is Labor Day, or Dia de los Trabajadores, a day-off honoring the workers of Costa Rica. Enjoy a Cricket match in Limon after the Presidents ‘State of the union Address’.
  • May 15th Dia de San Isidro Labrador (Labor Day), is a tribute to the Patron Saint of farmers and their crops and livestock, celebrated with the usual parades and celebrations.


  • June 15th, Dia de los Padres, or Father’s Day
  • June 29th, Dia de Dan Pedro y San Pablo, features religious celebrations honoring St. Peter and St. Paul.

Pura Vida