Christmas and year-end celebrations in Costa Rica involve activities all across the country, but some of the most popular events take place in San José.
In the southeastern San José district of Zapote, the Zapote Festival runs from Dec. 25-Jan. 4 and includes carnival games and a variety of food ranging from Chinese fried rice to barbecue, and sweets like churros, cotton candy, candy apples and ice cream. On Dec. 31, a concert with a surprise international artist also is scheduled.
“Daily events include family activities such as street theater performances, dance shows and concerts, all designed for the entire family,” festival spokesman Teo Dinarte said.
The main event at Zapote is Costa Rica-style bullfighting, or “Toros a la Tica,” an event that occurs twice a day at 3-6 p.m. and 9-11 p.m.
Tickets range from ₡5,000-25,000 ($9-47) depending on the hour, date and location. Special prices for children also are available.
Tickets can be purchased at box offices at the bullfighting ring (Plaza de Toros) three hours before each show, as well as at Grupo Mutual bank branches, the Hard Rock Café or online at specialticket.
Officials from the Health Ministry, the Red Cross and the National Police on Monday issued permits for the festival, and they will conduct daily inspections.
On Dec. 26, the popular National Horse Parade, or Tope Nacional, will feature more than 1,000 horse riders starting at noon in Plaza Víquez, south of downtown San José. The course then moves down the capital’s Second Avenue and ends next to La Sabana Park, to the west.
This year’s parade marshal is Claudia Romero, a member of Costa Rica’s National Equestrian Team who on Aug. 28 fell from her horse during a competition in France.
The horse died in the accident, and Romero spent two weeks in serious condition at a French hospital.
She continues her recovery, and the parade will be her first time back on a horse after her doctor granted her permission to participate.