Spending the Christmas holidays abroad is an option that is increasingly sought after by tourists and Costa Rica offers a variety of plans suitable for the whole family that will make these holidays something special.
Knowing how these dates are celebrated in other countries, the traditions that unite us, but that due to the distance and the climate have been adapting, is an experience that we will remember without a doubt.
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In Costa Rica the options to enjoy Christmas are endless and you can choose between something traditional Christmas, or get away from the festivities and choose to spend a totally different Christmas.
Options for the more traditional:
Children’s Hospital Tree Lighting
At the beginning of December a beautiful tradition takes place, which is the lighting of the large Christmas tree that is placed in the Children’s Hospital. This gesture is intended to bring the happiness of these dates to the children who remain hospitalized on those days. Also at the beginning of December the façade of the Children’s Museum is illuminated while fireworks are launched.
At the initiative of the Municipality of San José, this activity has become a tradition. It is a colorful night parade in which music bands and themed floats, full of light and color, with positive messages for everyone and especially for the little ones, go through the streets crowded with Costa Rican families who do not want to miss this fun festival that gives welcome to the Costa Rican Christmas. Among all the competing floats, a contest is organized and last year it was precisely the float presented by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism that won the first place.
Popular festivities of Zapote
In the district of Zapote, a festival is organized that begins on Christmas Day until the first week of January. It is a great fair that brings a very festive air, which could remind us more of the summer fairs than what we may be used to for these dates, but without losing the Christmas feeling. Attractions, food stalls and all the color and fun that the Ticos come from all over the country provide so as not to miss this great fair. The highlight of the festival are bullfights in which no harm is inflicted on the animal, but rather games are played with the bull and a cape.
Typical dishes include sponge cake, raw corn, pork leg and turkey … but above all, tamales are surely the most typical dish of Costa Rican Christmas. It is a traditional dish made with a corn dough and mashed potatoes to which pork or chicken and vegetables such as carrots, olives, sweet chili, raisins or plums are added. It is wrapped in green banana leaf and boiled in water.
The National Parade in San José
It is a great parade: a true parade of riders with their horses. On December 26, they come from all over the central valley and gather in the capital to parade through the main avenues where the crowd watches them pass from the sidewalks. The most popular suits are of the “cowboy” type with checkered shirts and the typical cowboy hat.
Options for those who want to get away from the traditional:
For those who want to do something completely different since they are on the other side of the world, the options are many:
Whoever is attracted to sports and the sea, what better way than to do a surf course all together and learn to ride the waves. The beaches of the Pacific coast are perfect for this; Beaches with names as suggestive as Playa Hermosa, Tamarindo, Playa Langosta, Playa Escondida or Santa Teresa will welcome the family to learn this fantastic sport.
For the more daring who want to practice rafting, tubbing or kayaking, the rivers of Costa Rica offer all levels of difficulty, so it will be easy to find one that suits the whole family.
Get to know the indigenous culture
You can spend a day in the Talamanca region accompanied by a guide from the Bribri people who will teach, during the walk, the wonders that they will find such as spices used in the kitchen, or natural dyes used in their ceremonies. You can also learn to make thedrink of the gods, the Tsiru. It is a sacred drink made with chocolate, vanilla, ginger and the spice of chili.
For those who like to test their adrenaline, the zip line or “canopy”, the cable car tours and the walks on hanging bridges represent the best option to experience the most intense emotions and at the same time explore beautiful natural settings in a unique way.
Nestled in the Tilarán Mountain Range, the zip line is practiced in the Cloud Forest of the town of Monteverde. The circuit takes two or three hours of unbeatable experience to observe the surrounding forest and more than 400 species of birds. In the Central Valley. In the canton of Turrubares, to the west of the capital and with a dry and humid climate, a fast one-minute zip line is made on a one-kilometer-long cable, at a maximum height of 100 meters and up to 90 kilometers per hour. The most adventurous have 2,252 meters between 13 cables, 21 platforms, 2 towers and a 20 meter high rappel, all in about two hours.
Near the sea. In Drake Bay, on the Osa Peninsula, there is a zip line between the heights of a lush canopy, with views of rivers and lush vegetation. On the Pacific coast you can visit Herradura Beach, nothing better than admiring nature from the air, suspended between the treetops
To finish, it is always good to relax in the volcanic hot springs offered by various hotels and resorts at the foot of the volcanoes, especially at the foot of the Arenal volcano.