Costa Rica’s upper arm, the province of Guanacaste, known for its expansive beaches and steep volcanoes, is celebrating the day (July 25) it became part of Costa Rica this weekend.
Replete with lively folk dances, cattle fairs and traditional food – such as atoles, chorreadas and elotes – the Annexation of Guanacaste always is a fiesta.
In 1824, leaders of the peninsula – then part of Nicaragua and known as Nicoya – voted to secede and join Costa Rica. The region had just gained independence from Spain three years earlier.
But it wasn’t until 1848 that the 4,015-square-mile area became the province of Guanacaste, named for a distinctive tree in the area.
In honor of the 185th anniversary, ExpoLiberia will host an evening road race on Friday, a running of the bulls at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, a concert at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday and a series of livestock events such as a tope, or horse parade on Saturday.
In Nicoya, five thousand people are expected for the Grand March for Dignity, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the outskirts of the city, marching toward the central park.
Participants in the march are planning to demonstrate their support for the Coastal Community Law, designed to prevent the extinction of coastal and fishing towns.
According to the preamble of the bill, these communities face destruction and serious exploitation of natural ecosystems, poverty, lack of opportunity, among other negatives.
“It’s a day that we celebrate our annexation, a decision that brought much peace and tranquility to the region,” said Wilmar Matarrita, president of the Ecumenical Forum for Alternative Development in Guanacaste (Fedeagua.)
“But in reality, we have become one of the poorest and most abandoned provinces in the country. Most of the country’s resources are invested in the country’s center, leaving Guanacaste in a poor state,” he added, explaining the reason for the march.
On Saturday, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias will travel to the region to inauguratea series of public works, including an aqueduct in Maguenco, bridges over the Perioco and GrandeRivers and housing projects in Nicoya and Santa Cruz.
Arias will be in Nicoya at 11 a.m. Saturday to celebrate Guanacaste’s annexation.
For more information about ExpoLiberia visit www.expoliberia.com.