San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Expo Liberia a Tico tradition

Expo Liberia is 10 days of celebrating history, ranching and agriculture of Costa Rica’s most productive region, Guanacaste. From July 19-29, the streets of provincial capital Liberia, in the northwestern part of the country, will be filled with 100,000 expo-goers. Events includes a carnival, rodeos, bull fights, cattle shows, horse parades and numerous mounted competitions.

Héctor Muñoz, president of the Liberia Chamber of Cattle Ranchers, the group organizing Expo Liberia, said the event is a union of ranching culture and tourism.

“In one place you can find all of the diversity of Guanacaste,” Muñoz said. “The expo reveals the true identity of the region.”

The celebration has taken place for nearly 200 years. It began in 1824, when the people of the Nicoya Peninsula chose to annex from what today is Nicaragua. The annexation anniversary is July 25.

One of Muñoz’s favorite aspects of the week is the horse and cattle shows. There are numerous shows for different breeds raised in Costa Rica, and judges award breeders prizes for having superior animals.

“These shows present the most beautiful horses and finely bred cattle,” Muñoz said. “It’s full of adrenaline and what ranching families have been practicing for decades.”

One example of pride, tradition and beauty at Expo Liberia is the nomination of a novia, or bride, of the expo. This year’s novia is Irene Sánchez, great-granddaughter of one of the founders of the Liberia Chamber of Cattle Ranchers. Muñoz said she will hand out awards and prizes throughout the week.

The rodeo is July 24, and includes barrel racing, pole bending, team penning and breakaway roping. Costa Rica’s horsemanship championship will be held on July 25. The traditional tope, or horse parade, is on July 28.

Evenings during the expo will be filled with presentations of traditional Guanacaste music and dance, and of course, regional food.

“There’s horchata, tamales, barbeque, fresh tortillas, sweets and more,” Muñoz said. “You can have all the delicacies of Nicoya, one right after the other.”

See more details on the celebration and history of Guanacaste in next week’s edition of The Tico Times.

For an event schedule and more information, visit

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