San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Modern dance, ancient pilgrimage and other happenings around Costa Rica

National Contemporary Dance Festival

One of the most anticipated arts events of the year, the National Contemporary Dance Festival showcases some of the most exciting companies now working in Costa Rica. Each evening spotlights one to three groups – a choreographic feast for both dance enthusiasts and curious visitors. The festival is a perfect sampler of Tico performance art that requires no Spanish skills or pricey admission.

El Festival Nacional de Danza Contemporánea takes place Aug. 5-10 at the Melico Salazar Theater and the Theater of Dance, both in downtown San José. Tue.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 5,000 ($10). Info: Theater website.


Pilgrims from all over Costa Rica and Central America converge on the city of Cartago to pay their respects to “La Negrita,” a sacred Catholic statue.

Romería takes place Aug. 1 & 2 outside Our Lady of Los Angeles Basilica, Cartago. Events take place all day. Free. Info: SiCultura website.

Music: Pedro Guerra

Spanish singer-songwriter Guerra celebrates his 30-year career at Jazz Café.

Concert takes place Aug. 5 & 6 at Jazz Café, Escazú. 8:30 p.m. 27,000 ($55). Info: Jazz Café website.

Opera: “Nabucco”

Verdi’s spectacular Biblical opera receives a massive production at the National Theater, thanks to the National Lyric Company.

“Nabucco” can be seen July 31–Aug. 10 at the National Theater, downtown San José. Thu. & Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. 2,000-30,000 ($4-60). Info: National Theater website.

Theater: “Amadeus”

Peter Schaffer’s masterpiece about the life of Mozart (and his bitter rival, Salieri) receives an epic production at Teatro Espressivo.

“Amadeus” plays Aug. 7 – Oct. 12 at Teatro Espressivo, Curridabat. Info: Teatro Espressivo website.

Theater: “A Dog’s Life, Sweet Dreams”

La Carne Teatro presents this realistic dramedy by Miguel Morillo about two workmates who struggle to live in a modern city.

“Perra Vida, Sueños Dulces” plays through Aug. 17 at Teatro 1887, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. 4,000 ($8). Info: RedCultura.

Film: Race Relations and Discrimination Cycle

Screenings of films about different ethnic groups getting along – and not.

Films will screen Aug. 7-28 at the Cartago Cultural Center, downtown Cartago. First film screens Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. Free. Info: GAMCultural.

Film: “Sins of My Father”

What was the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar really like? Find out, thanks to this documentary created by his exiled son, Sebastián Marroquín.

“Pecados de mi Padre” screens Aug. 7 at the Spanish Cultural Center, Barrio Escalante. 7 p.m. Free. Info: Spanish Cultural Center website.

Art: “Prelibri”

Abigail Reyes takes her inspiration from books, but her multimedia work is filled with clever twists.

“Prelibri” continues through Aug. 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents 1,000 ($2), foreigners 1,500 ($3), students 500 ($1). Info: MADC website.

Art: “We Are Not Foreigners”

Presented by the organization Chietón Morén, this photographic series documents the indigenous people of Costa Rica.

“Nosotros No Somos Extranjeros” continues through July 31 at the National Archives, Curridabat. Open daily 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Info: National Archives website.

Theater: “Virus”

What is the nature of sickness? Costa Rican playwright Ana Istarú explores this theme in “Virus,” her new drama at the Vargas Calvo Theater. Read our review here.

“Virus” plays through Aug. 31 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. 5,500 ($11). Info: National Theater website.

Art: “Documentos en Línea”

Artist Guillermo Fournier exhibits his series of sketches at the National Theater.

“Documentos en Línea” takes place at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website.

Art: “Dirty Game”

Costa Rican artist José Miguel Rojas González explores the nature of winning and losing in this subversive series. Read our review here.

“Juego Sucio” continues through Oct. 11 at the Central Bank Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 5,500 ($11). Info: Museos Banco Central website.

Exhibit: “Cathedrals of Soccer”

This photographic exhibit illustrates the beauty of the soccer field – not the game itself, but the stadiums where games take place.

“Catedrales del Fútbol” continues through Aug. 1 at the Spanish Cultural Center, Barrio Escalante. Mon.-Thu., 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Fri., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Free. Info: Centro Cultural de España website.

Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.

“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents 1,000 ($2), foreigners 1,500 ($3), students 500 ($1). Info: MADC website.

Enamorate de tu ciudad

Yes, you can go gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-round celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check out the event site for news on games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.

Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website and Facebook page.



Contact Robert Isenberg at

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