San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Annual Palmares Fiestas Kick Off Jan. 16

This Wednesday will see the opening of the Palmares Fiestas, an annual orgy of food, drink, sport and culture in the coffee town of Palmares, about a 45-minute drive northwest of San José.

The highlights of the festival, which runs until Jan. 28, are set to be two huge concerts featuring some big-name performers. The first, set for Jan. 20, will see Puerto Rican artists De La Ghetto, Jowell and Randy take the stage, while Mexican band Moderatto and Argentine group Enanitos Verdes will perform Jan. 27.

The fiestas will also include more traditional activities such as bull riding, bullfighting (the bull is not killed in the Tico version) and the tope, a parade that sees horsemen from across the country riding through the streets of the town.

Other attractions will include soccer tournaments, fireworks and a variety of children’s events.

Festival organizers have taken steps in recent years to reinforce the event’s familyfriendly image, which had been tainted as the event gained a reputation for loud discos and public drunkenness. Questions have also been raised about its environmental impact (TT, Jan. 12, 2007).

For information in Spanish and a complete program of activities, check out


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