In July, 2020, President Carlos Alvarado signed Law 9875, transferring all Holidays that fell on weekends to Mondays. The move is aimed at promoting support for Costa Rica’s Tourism sector, which declined during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the restrictions placed on travel. The President plans to maximize support for the industry by increasing ‘domestic tourism’ in the Country.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic visitors to Costa Rica are advised to check the regulations currently guiding travel procedures before making reservations. The Covid-19 restrictions remain dynamic; changing as the situation warrant.
If you come in contact with someone experiencing symptoms of the Virus or otherwise suspect you may be have been exposed it is recommended that you self-quarantine for the recommended 14 day period and get the necessary medical attention.
During Public Holidays in Costa Rica, most business places and many of the Country’s Government offices, banks, stores, and in some places of entertainment will be closed or have adjusted operating times. Plan your movements to ensure that you will not need the services of an institution that may be closed due to the pandemic or for their public holidays, ‘feriados’ or ‘day-off’, especially on Mondays.
Local tourism is being encouraged so expect gatherings observing the protocols of wearing masks and social-distancing at resorts, hotels, car-rental agencies, beaches and other fun/ scenic places. National Parks have modified their regulations for use and visitors must check their regulations in advance.
Below is a List of Popular Holidays and Festive Occasions in 2021.
*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic most if not all the festivals can or may be cancelled.
|Feb 17th, 2021||Ash Wednesday|
|*March (1st Week)||Bonanza Cattle Show, Horse Racing, Bull Fights-San Jose|
|*March||Oxcart Drivers Day, Dia de los Boyeros –San Antonio de Escazu.|
|*Mid March||National Orchid Show; National Farmers Day; Fruit Festival.|
|*March||International Arts Festival, San Jose, Theatrical & Dance|
|Mar, 14th, 2021||Daylight Savings Time begins (USA & Canada)|
|Mar 19th, 2021||San Jose’s Day -Masses. Street food festivals|
|Mar 20th, 2021||March Equinox (Astronomical Spring)|
|Mar 28th, 2021||Palm Sunday|
|Mar. 28th – Apr. 4th, 2021||Holy Week- Sunday Mar. 28th to Apr. 4th|
|Apr. 1st, 2021||Maundy Thursday|
|Apr. 2nd, 2021||Good Friday|
|Apr 4th, 2021||Easter Sunday|
|Apr 12th, 2021||Juan Santamaria Day (Battle of Rivas)|
|May 3rd, 2021||Workers Day, Labor Day, May Day|
|Jun 3rd, 2021||Fest of Corpus Christi Day|
|Jun 20th, 2021||Father’s Day|
|Jun 20th, 2021||June Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)|
|Jun 29th, 2021||St. Peter & St. Paul’s Day|
|Jul 16th, or closest Saturday||Virgin of the Sea Day|
|Jul 26th, 2021||Annexation of Guanacaste|
|Aug 2nd, 2021||Our Lady of Los Angeles, a tribute to La Negrita.|
|Aug 15th, 2021||Mother’s Day|
|Aug 15th, 2021||Assumption Day (The deceased Virgin’s body is ‘assumed’ into heaven)|
|Aug 24th, 2021||National Parks Day|
|Sep 3rd Week of||International Beach Clean-Up Day|
|Sep 9th, 2021||Children’s Day|
|Sep 15th 2021||Independence Day|
|Sep 22nd, 2021||September Equinox|
|Oct 11th, 2021||National Cultural Day|
|Oct 31st, 2021||Halloween|
|Nov 2nd, 2021||All Souls Day|
|Nov 4th, 2021||Dawali Hindu Festival of Lights|
|Nov 22nd, 2021||Teachers Day|
|Dec 8th, 2021||Feast of the Immaculate Conception|
|Dec 21st, 2021||December Solstice|
|Dec 25th, 2021||Christmas Day|
|Dec 31st, 2021||New Year’s Eve|
Costa Rican’s love a festive celebration and display their joyous, friendly personalities to rhythmic music at every possible occasion. Food is always a good accompaniment to a celebration, nor would it be complete without something liquid to lift-the-spirits and quench the thirst. But some celebrations are more solemn, such as religious ceremonies where groups participate in age-old rituals; then the food and the music may be different and more fitting to the occasion.
*Special Note: You will find that frequently featured ‘Bull-riding’ and ‘Bullfighting’ these events here are bloodless sport in Costa Rica.
Covid-19 may cause the famous Bonanza Cattle Show to be cancelled. Traditionally held during the first week of March, Costa Rica’s working cowboys demonstrate their skills at horseracing, rodeo events, bull riding and the only bullfight* in the world where the bull is not harmed; the main show is staged in San Jose.
*Costa Rica practices a humane style of Bullfighting. The bulls are not harmed; if any blood is shed it will come from the Matadors. Check it out! The colorful spectators and activity make this a ‘Super Photo-Op’.
At some time in March, 9 usually the second Sunday, is ‘Dia de los Boyeros’, or *Oxcart Drivers day, this is another opportunity for photographers to capture unusual and graphic works of art as the Ox Cart decorators compete for bragging-rights for the ‘Best Cart In Show’. Escazu, San Jose comes alive at this time. It’s a colorful spectacle for the entire family; as usual food and drink are plentiful along with live music.
In mid March, Costa Rica’s agricultural produce is showcased as they celebrate National Farmers Day. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables and their tasty by-products come to show at the hosting of the ‘Fruit Festival’, in Orotina, Alajuela. Costa Rica is well known for their fresh fruit and vegetables; now taste the mouth-watering dishes and beverages made with all fresh, local, produce (Covid-19 may force a cancellation).
Also in mid March, is the National Orchid Show which is a ‘World Event’ staged in San Jose with many challengers for the top-ribbon honors. Over 300 species of orchids in full bloom take the stage. A sensational Photo-Op! (Covid-19 may force a cancellation)
March 19th, 2021, the Feast of St. Joseph is celebrated with Roman Catholic masses, followed by local pageants and celebrations throughout Costa Rica.
March 20, 2021, is the March Equinox, the beginning of the Astronomical Spring; this is evidenced by the many flowering and bearing items on show.
March 29th to April 4th 2021, Holy Week- The week before Easter, known as Semana Santa; it is a time for religious devotion throughout Costa Rica. Many businesses close for the entire week as a mark of respect.
Traditionally, activities in Costa Rica come to a standstill during ‘Holy Week’. This is the time of the year when Roman Catholics participate in their most sacred and solemn events on their calendar; it is the period just preceding, and including, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Friday, July 16th, 2021- Fiesta de la Virgen del Mar. The Virgin of the Sea Festival celebrations are held to honor the patron of the sea. Brightly decorated boats parade in processions carrying a statue of the Virgin Mother, a special mass follows.
Monday, July 26th, 2021- Dia de Guanacaste celebrates the day when the people of Guanacaste chose Cost Rican rule over Nicaraguan (1824). Dating back to a time before Guanacaste was yet a Principal of Costa Rica. Liberia erupts in jubilantion with festivities and fireworks.