San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bullfights wrap up in Zapote

“Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.”

So said Earnest Hemingway in his bullfighting opus, “Death in the Afternoon.” Much time has passed, and many animal rights groups founded, since Hemingway frequented Pamplona in the 1920s, but the face-off between caballero and toro is just as gripping as ever. Luckily, Tico bullfighting is a jeans-and-T-shirt affair, and the bull rarely even gets scratched.

The Fiestas de Zapote concluded on Sunday in this peppy San José district, but not before a rousing season of Costa Rican bullfighting. There was joy. There was suspense. There were even some casualties. But as usual, the 2,000-pound mammals were victorious.

The Tico Times returned to the fiestas with a video camera in tow. If you missed the actual event – or had no idea what was being televised – here’s a quick intro to Costa Rica’s corridas de toros.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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