When much of the world pictures Christmas, they think of snowy landscapes, getting warm around the fireplace, and crisp evergreen trees with winter-themed decorations. That’s a lovely picture, but it’s not even close to what you will find in Costa Rica around this time of year.
Christmas in Costa Rica is different — way different. And for the thousands of people who make their way here to celebrate Christmas the Tico way, it offers something they just can’t find anywhere else.
Read on to learn all of the reasons why you should consider a Costa Rican Christmas getaway this year.
Even if you’re a polar bear at heart, we can all admit that the freezing winter temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere can get a little tiring after a while. Your teeth can only chatter for so long before you start dreaming of warmer environs.
Costa Rica, then, will likely be a welcome change in the weather by late December. Step outside into the snow and ice outside your home and ask yourself: How good does 77 degrees Fahrenheit sound right now?
Probably pretty good, and that’s the average December temperature in Costa Rica. In case you’re wondering, that’s comfortable beach and T-shirt weather — no huddling around the fire or extra blankets required.
Christmas isn’t a private affair in Costa Rica. Major cities and small towns alike put on elaborate and outrageously fun parades, festivals, bull runs, rodeos, and parties to usher in the Christmas season.
These festivities start weeks before Christmas and continue well into January. In San Jose, the Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light) kicks off Christmas in style around mid-December, and the Carnaval Nacional follows Christmas in San Jose on Dec. 27.
Meanwhile, the Fiestas de Zapote begins on Christmas and lasts until the new year. And if you’re interested in getting a feel for Costa Rica’s equestrian traditions, check out the Tope Nacional de Caballos on Dec. 26 to see the largest horse parade in the country.
Christmas in Costa Rica continues all the way to Jan. 6, when the country celebrates the Feast of the Three Kings, a feast in honor of the date the biblical three wise men are thought to have met the baby Jesus.
Who doesn’t love a traditional Christmas meal? You may be so used to your country’s holiday favorites that you forget that “traditional” Christmas food isn’t universal. That’s certainly the case in Costa Rica, where the holiday meal is instantly recognizable only to locals and completely delicious to everyone.
To start, Costa Rica’s Christmas feast takes place in the middle of the night — after midnight mass (Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Rooster). The spread is nothing short of extravagant, with appearances from pork tamales cooked in plantain leaves, roasted pork and mashed potatoes, and a wide variety of Central American pastries to enjoy. That’s not to mention the dessert of tres leches cake or the rum punch and eggnog.
The Christmas decorations in Costa Rica will look both familiar and unfamiliar to North American and European eyes. You will find dazzling light displays on private homes and public buildings. You’ll even see wreaths, but they won’t be the twists of holly and pine you’re accustomed to.
Instead, you’re likely to see wreaths of cypress branches decorated to the nines with brightly colored ribbons and bright red coffee berries. And beside the Christmas lights draped across the homes, you’ll see breathtaking tropical flowers. You’ll even get to see traditional Costa Rican nativity scenes that the whole family builds together, as well as small offerings of toys and fruit in front of them.
Costa Rica is a wonderful travel destination for any time of year, but Christmas here is special. If you want a culturally enriching, fun, festive, and memorable holiday getaway, Christmas in Costa Rica needs to be on your itinerary.
If that sounds like a holiday celebration you could get behind, you’re only a step away from making it a reality. All you have to do is get in touch with Adventure Tours Costa Rica. Browse our Costa Rica vacation packages, pre-made itineraries, and tours, and give us a call at 1-800-761-7250 to book a Christmas vacation you’ll never forget.