How Does Costa Rica Celebrate New Years? Find Out Here!
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How Does Costa Rica Celebrate New Years? Find Out Here!

As the year comes to a close, people all around the world come together to celebrate the arrival of a new beginning. But have you ever wondered how Costa Rica, with its vibrant culture and rich traditions, celebrates New Year’s? From unique customs to joyful festivities, Costa Rica embraces this special time of year remarkably.

So, how does Costa Rica celebrate New Years? Let’s uncover the traditions and customs that make this celebration truly one of a kind.

Cultural Celebrations for New Years in Costa Rica

Costa Rica‘s New Year celebrations are a vibrant reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Locals embrace customs and traditions that add a unique touch to the festivities. From lively parades to enchanting folk dances, the cultural celebrations for New Year’s in Costa Rica are a sight to behold.

Traditional Customs

One of the most cherished customs during New Year’s in Costa Rica is the practice of “Los Años Viejos,” which translates to “old years.” It involves creating life-size effigies made of old clothes stuffed with sawdust or other materials.

These effigies are often designed to resemble unpopular political figures or represent the past year’s challenges. At midnight, these effigies are set ablaze as a symbolic way of bidding farewell to the old year and making way for new beginnings.

Folk Dances and Music

The celebration of New Year’s in Costa Rica is incomplete without the rhythmic beats of traditional folk dances and music. Colorful performances take place in towns and villages, showcasing the country’s rich cultural diversity. The marimba, a traditional musical instrument made of wooden bars, is often played during these festive occasions, adding a lively and joyful atmosphere to the celebrations.

Fireworks and Street Festivals

Fireworks light up the Costa Rican sky as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. The dazzling displays bring communities together to celebrate the arrival of the new year in style. Meanwhile, street festivals fill the air with music, dance, and laughter. People gather to enjoy live performances, indulge in delicious street food, and immerse themselves in the vibrant energy of the celebrations.

Traditional Costumes

During New Year’s celebrations, you’ll often see locals dressed in traditional attire, adding an extra touch of cultural significance to the festivities. Women wear colorful skirts and embroidered blouses, while men don traditional clothing such as white shirts, red bandanas, and cowboy hats. These traditional costumes serve as a visual representation of the cultural pride that Costa Ricans hold close to their hearts.

Festive Food and Drinks

Food plays a central role in Costa Rican New Year celebrations, with traditional dishes being a staple on the festive table. Families come together to prepare and enjoy a variety of mouthwatering delicacies such as tamales, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), and fried plantains. To toast to the new year, locals savor the flavor of traditional drinks like rompope (eggnog) or chicha, a fermented corn-based beverage.

The Masquerade Tradition

An intriguing aspect of New Year celebrations in Costa Rica is the masquerade tradition. Locals wear elaborate masks and costumes, participating in parades and dances known as “Cimarronas.” These lively processions feature vibrant costumes, energetic music, and contagious merriment. The masquerade tradition adds an element of mystery and excitement to the cultural celebrations.

Customs and TraditionsHighlights
Los Años ViejosThe symbolic burning of effigies
Folk Dances and MusicColorful performances and traditional tunes
Fireworks and Street FestivalsDazzling displays and vibrant celebrations
Traditional CostumesColorful attire reflecting cultural pride
Festive Food and DrinksMouthwatering delicacies and traditional beverages
The Masquerade TraditionIntriguing masks and lively processions

New Year’s Eve Activities in Costa Rica

Looking for exciting ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica? This tropical paradise offers a range of activities that cater to all preferences, from lively parties to family-friendly events. Whether you’re seeking a night filled with dancing and merriment or a more relaxed gathering with loved ones, Costa Rica has something for everyone.

Lively Parties

If you’re in the mood for an unforgettable night of revelry, Costa Rica’s bustling cities and coastal towns are home to vibrant New Year’s Eve parties. Dance the night away to live music, enjoy delicious food and drinks, and join the countdown to midnight surrounded by a lively crowd of locals and tourists. Popular destinations for nightlife and parties include San Jose, Jaco, and Tamarindo.

Family-Friendly Celebrations

Costa Rica isn’t just about late-night parties; it’s also a fantastic destination for family-friendly New Year’s celebrations. Many hotels and resorts organize special events for families, featuring entertainment for children, live music, fireworks displays, and even themed parties. Kids can have a blast with games, face painting, and engaging activities, while parents relax and enjoy the joyful atmosphere.

Outdoor Adventures

For those seeking a unique way to welcome the New Year, Costa Rica’s natural wonders provide an array of outdoor adventures. From hiking in lush rainforests to surfing along pristine beaches, you can immerse yourself in the country’s breathtaking landscapes while enjoying the festive spirit. Consider a guided tour to witness the beauty of Costa Rica’s wildlife and indulge in thrilling activities like zip-lining or waterfall rappelling.

Fireworks Spectacular

No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without a grand fireworks display, and Costa Rica certainly knows how to put on a show. Head to the beach or find a vantage point overlooking the cityscape to witness the breathtaking pyrotechnic spectacle that illuminates the night sky at midnight. It’s a magical sight that will create lasting memories of your New Year in Costa Rica.

Whether you’re a partygoer, a nature enthusiast, or seeking a family-friendly celebration, Costa Rica offers a diverse range of activities to make your New Year’s Eve unforgettable. Choose your preferred way to celebrate and get ready for an extraordinary experience in this beautiful country.

Traditional Food for New Years in Costa Rica

As the year comes to a close, Costa Ricans indulge in a delectable array of traditional dishes that are synonymous with New Years celebrations. These mouthwatering delicacies showcase the country’s rich culinary heritage and bring families and friends together to savor the flavors of the festive season.

Typical Celebrations for New Years in Costa Rica

Costa Ricans embrace the arrival of the new year with joyous celebrations steeped in tradition. Alongside lively parties and fireworks displays, feasting on traditional New Years’ meals is an integral part of the festivities. From hearty stews to sweet treats, Costa Rican cuisine offers a diverse range of dishes to delight the taste buds.

Traditional Meals for New Years in Costa Rica

One of the most beloved dishes during New Years in Costa Rica is ‘Olla de Carne,’ a flavorful beef and vegetable stew that signifies abundance and prosperity for the coming year. This hearty dish is simmered with spices, root vegetables, and tender cuts of beef, creating a comforting and wholesome meal.

Another must-try dish is ‘Tamales,’ which are steamed corn dough pockets filled with a savory mixture of meats, vegetables, and aromatic spices. Tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection, resulting in a delightful combination of flavors that symbolize unity and family togetherness.

In addition, ‘Cajetas’ are a popular choice for those with a sweet tooth. These traditional Costa Rican candies are made from condensed milk and mixed with various flavors such as coconut, vanilla, or nuts. Cajetas are often enjoyed alongside a cup of ‘Rompopo,’ a creamy and rich eggnog-like beverage infused with rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Whether you’re indulging in a hearty stew, savoring a tamale, or relishing the sweetness of Cajetas, Costa Rican New Years cuisine is a delightful exploration of flavors and traditions that will surely leave you wanting more.

Fireworks and Festivities on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Costa Rica comes alive with spectacular fireworks displays and jubilant festivities that illuminate the night sky. This vibrant celebration is one of the most anticipated events of the year, drawing locals and tourists alike with its awe-inspiring pyrotechnics and joyous atmosphere.

A Dazzling Display of Fireworks

Costa Rica’s New Year’s Eve traditions are incomplete without the mesmerizing fireworks that light up the entire country. From the bustling city centers to the tranquil coastal towns, fireworks paint the sky with radiant colors, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

A Festive Atmosphere

The fireworks display on New Year’s in Costa Rica transforms the atmosphere into one of unparalleled joy and excitement. Streets are filled with laughter and cheers as families and friends come together to celebrate. The festive spirit is infectious, as the sound of laughter and music fills the air.

Beachside Celebrations

Many Costa Ricans and visitors flock to the country’s stunning beaches to ring in the New Year. Along the coastal regions, beach parties and bonfires are common, allowing revelers to enjoy the fireworks display while feeling the sand between their toes. It is a magical experience, combining the beauty of nature with the thrill of the celebrations.

A Time for Tradition and Celebration

Fireworks and festivities on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica are not only about the visual spectacle but also a time to embrace traditions and cultural celebrations. Families gather together for special meals, exchange wishes of good fortune, and create lasting memories in the company of loved ones.

Grand Fireworks DisplaySan JoseDecember 31st
Beach Party and FireworksTamarindo BeachDecember 31st
New Year’s Eve Rooftop CelebrationHotel Grano de Oro, San JoseDecember 31st

Whether you choose to join the crowds in city centers, embrace the serenity of the coastal celebrations, or partake in traditional family gatherings, the fireworks and festivities on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica offer a truly memorable experience. So come and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and celebrate the dawn of a new year in this tropical paradise.

Countdown to New Year in Costa Rica

Experience the anticipation and excitement as Costa Ricans eagerly countdown to the new year. This magical moment is filled with rituals and traditions that add an extra touch of joy and meaning to the celebrations.

Popular Rituals and Traditions

  • The Burning of the Año Viejo:
    One of the most anticipated rituals in Costa Rica is the Burning of the Año Viejo. Locals create effigies representing the old year and fill them with fireworks. At midnight, these representations are set ablaze, symbolizing the release of the old and the welcoming of the new.
  • Uvas de la Suerte:
    Similar to the Spanish tradition, Costa Ricans also partake in the Uvas de la Suerte, where they eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape is believed to bring good luck for each month of the upcoming year.
  • Yellow Underwear:
    Wearing yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve is a tradition believed to bring luck, happiness, and prosperity for the coming year.

These unique rituals and traditions make the countdown to the new year in Costa Rica a memorable experience for both locals and visitors. Join in the festivities and celebrate the start of a new chapter with joy and optimism.

Festive Activities During New Year in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its vibrant and lively celebrations, and the New Year period is no exception. From beach parties to cultural events, there are plenty of festive activities to enjoy during this time. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Costa Rica offers unique ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Beach Parties

Costa Rica’s picturesque beaches serve as the perfect backdrop for unforgettable New Year’s Eve parties. Join the vibrant crowds as they gather to dance, listen to live music, and enjoy traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Whether you prefer lively beach clubs or cozy gatherings by the shore, there’s a beach party to suit every taste.

Cultural Events

Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture by attending one of the many cultural events organized during the New Year period. From music festivals to art exhibits, these events showcase the country’s rich heritage and artistic talent. Explore traditional dance performances, local crafts, and delicious food as you celebrate the start of a new year.

Fireworks Displays

No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without a dazzling fireworks display, and Costa Rica doesn’t disappoint. Head to central locations in cities like San Jose and Liberia to witness breathtaking pyrotechnic shows that light up the night sky. Join the cheering crowds as the clock strikes midnight and welcome the new year with a spectacular display of colors.

Nature Excursions

For those looking for a more serene way to celebrate the New Year, Costa Rica’s natural beauty offers a peaceful escape. Embark on a hiking trail, visit a national park, or go on a wildlife excursion to start the year surrounded by the country’s stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.

Family-Friendly Activities

Costa Rica is a family-friendly destination, and there are plenty of activities that cater to all ages during the New Year period. Visit amusement parks, participate in outdoor games and competitions, or enjoy a picnic in one of the country’s beautiful parks. Make lasting memories with your loved ones as you celebrate together.

Beach PartiesExperience the lively atmosphere of Costa Rica’s beaches with music, dancing, and delicious food.
Cultural EventsImmerse yourself in Costa Rican traditions, music, and art by attending cultural events during New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks DisplaysWitness stunning fireworks displays in cities like San Jose and Liberia as the clock strikes midnight.
Nature ExcursionsExplore Costa Rica’s natural beauty through hiking trails, wildlife excursions, and visits to national parks.
Family-Friendly ActivitiesEnjoy amusement parks, outdoor games, and picnics suitable for the whole family.

New Year’s Day Celebrations in Costa Rica

As the clock strikes midnight and a new year begins, the festive spirit in Costa Rica doesn’t end on New Year’s Eve. The country continues to celebrate on New Year’s Day with an array of traditional festivals and cultural events that add to the joy and excitement of this special time.

One of the most popular festivals on New Year’s Day in Costa Rica is the Topes de Toro or “Bull Run.” This unique event takes place in various towns across the country and features horseback riders parading through the streets, showcasing their skills and beautifully adorned horses. The atmosphere is filled with music, food, and traditional costumes, creating a vibrant and unforgettable spectacle.

Another cultural celebration that takes place on New Year’s Day is the Cabalgata de San José or “Horse Parade of San Jose.” This grand parade in the capital city brings together thousands of riders and their horses, who proudly display their equestrian talents. The parade route is lined with cheering spectators, adding to the electric energy and festive atmosphere of the event.

For those seeking a more relaxed and family-friendly celebration, Costa Rica’s beaches come alive on New Year’s Day. People gather at the coastal towns to enjoy the sun, surf, and live music. It’s a day of relaxation, fun, and bonding with loved ones, as families and friends come together to soak up the vibrant energy of the beach culture.

To truly immerse yourself in the cultural celebrations on New Year’s Day, don’t forget to sample the delicious traditional food that is served during this time. From tamales to arroz con pollo, Costa Rican cuisine delights taste buds and adds a flavorful touch to the festivities.

Topes de Toro – Bull RunJanuary 1stVarious towns across Costa Rica
Cabalgata de San José – Horse Parade of San JoseJanuary 1stSan Jose

As you can see, New Year’s Day in Costa Rica is a time of cultural celebration and joyous activities that highlight the country’s rich traditions. Whether you choose to witness the grandeur of the Bull Run or enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, Costa Rica offers something for everyone to commemorate the beginning of a new year with happiness and enthusiasm.


Costa Rica’s New Year celebrations are a true reflection of the country’s vibrant culture and traditions. With a focus on embracing holiday traditions, engaging in festive activities, and immersing oneself in unique customs and events, Costa Ricans know how to ring in the new year with joy and enthusiasm.

From the lively celebrations on New Year’s Eve to the cultural festivities that continue on New Year’s Day, Costa Rica offers a plethora of experiences for locals and visitors alike. Whether it’s enjoying traditional food, witnessing dazzling fireworks displays, or participating in countdown rituals, each moment is filled with excitement and a sense of community.

As the clock strikes midnight, Costa Rica comes alive with the vibrant energy of its people. Families gather together to enjoy delicious meals, friends come together for parties and celebrations, and communities unite to honor their rich cultural heritage. These festivities not only mark the beginning of a new year but also serve as a reminder of the values and traditions that have been passed down through generations.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and memorable New Year experience, Costa Rica is the place to be. Immerse yourself in the holiday traditions, join in the festivities, and create lasting memories in a country that knows how to celebrate in style. Here’s to a joyful and prosperous new year in beautiful Costa Rica!


How does Costa Rica celebrate New Years?

Costa Rica celebrates New Years with vibrant traditions and joyful festivities. The celebrations typically involve family gatherings, fireworks displays, lively parties, and cultural events.

What are the traditions for New Years in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has several traditions for New Years, including wearing yellow underwear for good luck, eating 12 grapes at midnight, and burning effigies called “Años Viejos” to symbolize leaving behind the old year.

What are the cultural celebrations for New Years in Costa Rica?

Cultural celebrations for New Years in Costa Rica include traditional dance performances, live music concerts, parades, and religious processions. These events showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage.

What are the New Year’s Eve activities in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a variety of New Year’s Eve activities, ranging from lively parties and concerts to family-friendly events like firework displays and beach gatherings. Visitors can choose the celebration that suits their preferences.

What are the traditional foods for New Years in Costa Rica?

Traditional foods for New Years in Costa Rica include tamales (filled with pork or chicken, rice, and vegetables), black beans and rice (gallo pinto), roasted pork, and seasonal fruits like mangoes and pineapples.

Are there fireworks and festivities on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica lights up the skies with dazzling fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve. These displays can be enjoyed in major cities, beach towns, and popular tourist destinations throughout the country.

How is the countdown to New Year in Costa Rica celebrated?

The countdown to the new year in Costa Rica is celebrated with excitement and anticipation. People gather with friends and family, participate in traditional rituals, and join in the countdown to midnight while enjoying fireworks and music.

What are some festive activities during New Year in Costa Rica?

Festive activities during New Year in Costa Rica include beach parties, concerts, street festivals, and cultural events. It’s a time for locals and tourists to come together and celebrate the arrival of the new year.

How are New Year’s Day celebrations in Costa Rica?

New Year’s Day in Costa Rica is celebrated with traditional festivals and cultural events. Locals attend street parades, bullfights, live music performances, and religious ceremonies to mark the beginning of the new year.

What can visitors expect during the New Year celebrations in Costa Rica?

Visitors can expect a warm and welcoming atmosphere during the New Year celebrations in Costa Rica. They can join in the festivities, embrace the local traditions, and create lasting memories in this vibrant and culturally rich country.

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