The Most Popular Festival in Costa Rica: A Celebration of Culture and Tradition

Choose the festival you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 06:04
Step right up and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Costa Rica as we present to you the ultimate showdown of the most popular festivals in this tropical paradise! StrawPoll invites you to join thousands of enthusiasts in ranking the finest festivities that Costa Rica has to offer. From the explosive fireworks of Fiestas Zapote to the rhythmic beats of the Limón Carnival, your vote will help determine which celebration takes the crown. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the colorful world of Costa Rican festivals and cast your vote or suggest a hidden gem that deserves recognition. Together, let's embark on an exhilarating journey and uncover the true spirit of Costa Rica, one festival at a time!

What Is the Most Popular Festival in Costa Rica?

  1. 1
    This is the largest and most popular festival in Costa Rica, held annually in January. It features live music, carnival rides, food vendors, and bullfighting.
    Fiestas de Palmares is a popular festival held annually in Costa Rica, specifically in the town of Palmares. It is a 2-week long celebration that combines traditional Costa Rican culture with modern entertainment. The festival attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike.
    • Duration: 2 weeks
    • Location: Palmares, Costa Rica
    • Attendance: Thousands of people
    • Celebration type: Cultural, entertainment
    • Activities: Live music, bullfights, parades, amusement park
  2. 2
    This festival is held annually in Uvita, Costa Rica in February, and features electronic music, yoga, and workshops on sustainability and mindfulness.
    Envision Festival is a popular annual event held in Costa Rica that brings together music, art, and wellness in a transformative experience. It takes place in the coastal town of Uvita, surrounded by lush tropical forests and stunning beaches. The festival focuses on sustainability, community, and personal growth, attracting thousands of attendees from around the world.
    • Location: Uvita, Costa Rica
    • Duration: 4 days
    • Music Genres: Electronic, World, Reggae, Live Bands
    • Art Installations: Mind-bending visual and interactive art
    • Workshops and Presentations: Yoga, Permaculture, Healing Arts, Environmental Activism
  3. 3
    This festival is celebrated throughout Costa Rica in early November and honors the dead with colorful altars, traditional food, and parades.
    Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. It is a time to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away. The holiday combines indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholicism to create a unique and vibrant celebration of life and death. During Dia de los Muertos, families gather to create altars or ofrendas adorned with photos, candles, food, and marigolds to welcome the spirits of the deceased. The gravesites are also decorated, and people visit cemeteries to clean and decorate the tombstones. The holiday is marked by various cultural activities including parades, music, dancing, and the creation of intricate sugar skulls and marigold flower arrangements. It is believed that on this day, the spirits of the departed return to the world of the living to reunite with their families and share in the festivities.
    • Date: November 1st and 2nd
    • Origin: Ancient Aztec traditions and Spanish colonization
    • Purpose: Honoring and remembering deceased loved ones
    • Altars: Families create altars with photos, candles, food, and marigolds
    • Grave Decoration: Gravesites are cleaned and adorned with decorations
    Dia de los Muertos in other rankings
  4. 4
    Festival de la Luz
    Nemigo · CC0

    Festival de la Luz

    Municipality of San José
    This festival is held in San Jose in December and features a parade of illuminated floats, fireworks, and live music.
    The Festival de la Luz is a renowned annual event in Costa Rica that celebrates the holiday season with a colorful parade and vibrant displays of lights. It is considered one of the most popular festivals in the country, attracting thousands of locals and tourists alike.
    • Location: San José, Costa Rica
    • Date: Second Saturday of December
    • Duration: One evening
    • Parade Route: Starts at Parque La Sabana, passes through Paseo Colón, and ends near Parque Nacional
    • Participants: Large marching bands, dance groups, schools, and various other organizations
  5. 5
    This festival is held in San Jose every two years and features performances, exhibitions, and workshops by artists from around the world.
    The Festival Internacional de las Artes is an annual event held in Costa Rica that celebrates various forms of art, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts. It brings together both local and international artists, showcasing their talents and promoting cultural exchange.
    • Location: Various venues across Costa Rica
    • Duration: Approximately 10 days
    • First Edition: 1989
    • Attendance: Attracts over 500,000 visitors each year
    • Program: Includes performances, exhibitions, workshops, and conferences
  6. 6
    This festival is held in Barva de Heredia in December and features colorful masks, traditional dances, and live music.
    The Festival Nacional de la Mascarada is a lively and vibrant traditional festival celebrated in Costa Rica. It showcases the rich cultural heritage of the country, specifically the art of mask-making and the vibrant masquerade tradition. The festival takes place annually and attracts both locals and tourists from around the world to participate in the various activities and events.
    • Location: Various cities and towns throughout Costa Rica
    • Duration: Usually held for several days, with the main events taking place on weekends
    • Date: The festival is typically held towards the end of October or early November
    • Highlights: Parades, mask-making workshops, traditional music and dance performances, costume contests
    • Masquerade Tradition: Participants wear elaborately decorated masks and costumes to represent different characters and cultural themes
  7. 7
    This festival is held in San Jose in August and celebrates the marimba, a traditional Costa Rican instrument. It features live music, dance, and workshops.
    The Festival de la Marimba is a popular and vibrant music festival celebrated in Costa Rica. It primarily focuses on showcasing the traditional Costa Rican musical instrument, the marimba. The festival brings together talented musicians and local communities to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Costa Rica through music and dance performances. It is a highly anticipated annual event that attracts both locals and tourists from around the world.
    • Location: Various cities and towns across Costa Rica
    • Duration: Usually lasts for several weeks
    • Date: Different dates each year, typically held between April and July
    • Number of participants: Hundreds of musicians and performers
    • Musical genres: Mainly traditional Costa Rican music, including folk, cumbia, and danzón
  8. 8
    This festival is held in Limon in October and celebrates the Afro-Caribbean culture of the region with live music, dance, and food.
    The Festival de la Cultura is one of the most popular festivals in Costa Rica that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the country. It showcases various forms of art, music, dance, and traditional crafts, providing a platform for artists and performers to exhibit their talents and connect with a wide audience.
    • Location: Different cities and towns across Costa Rica
    • Frequency: Annual
    • Duration: Several days, usually around a week
    • Attendance: Thousands of visitors from Costa Rica and abroad
    • Featured Activities: Live performances, art exhibits, traditional dances, workshops, cultural fairs, music concerts
  9. 9
    Festival de la Luna Llena
    Andrew Poynton · Public domain
    This festival is held in Montezuma in December and features live music, fire dancers, and drum circles under the full moon.
    The Festival de la Luna Llena, also known as the Full Moon Festival, is one of the most popular festivals in Costa Rica. It is a vibrant celebration that takes place during each full moon throughout the year. The festival aims to unite people from different backgrounds and promotes a sense of community, music, art, and nature.
    • Location: The festival is held in various scenic locations across Costa Rica, including beaches, forests, and mountains.
    • Musical Performances: The festival features a diverse lineup of local and international musicians from different genres, providing a captivating musical experience.
    • Art Installations: Artists from Costa Rica and abroad showcase their captivating installations, sculptures, and visual arts, creating an immersive environment.
    • Workshops and Activities: Various workshops and activities are organized during the festival, offering attendees opportunities for learning, self-expression, and connection.
    • Full Moon Ceremony: A special ceremony is held during each full moon night, allowing participants to connect with the spiritual energy and essence of the moon.
  10. 10
    Festival Internacional de Cine
    Fernandopascullo · CC BY 3.0
    This film festival is held annually in San Jose and features screenings of international films, as well as workshops and discussions with filmmakers.
    The Festival Internacional de Cine (International Film Festival) is one of the most popular and anticipated festivals held in Costa Rica. It showcases a diverse range of local and international films, attracting film enthusiasts, industry professionals, and the general public.
    • Frequency: Annual
    • Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
    • Duration: Multiple days
    • Genres: Varied (fiction, documentary, animation, etc.)
    • Screenings: Over 100 films

Missing your favorite festival?


Ranking factors for popular festival

  1. Attendance numbers
    The number of people attending the festival is a key factor in determining its popularity. Festivals with higher attendance numbers are generally more well-known and liked by the locals and visitors alike.
  2. Cultural significance
    The importance of the festival in the cultural fabric of Costa Rica also plays a role in its popularity. Festivals that celebrate specific aspects of Costa Rican culture, history, or traditions may hold a special place in the public's heart and be more popular.
  3. Duration and scale
    The length of the festival and the number of events and activities it offers can also affect its popularity. Festivals that last longer and have more extensive programming and entertainment options are likely to attract larger crowds and be considered more popular.
  4. International reputation and appeal
    Festivals that draw international visitors and media attention can boost their popularity significantly. Events that have a global appeal or are well-known outside of Costa Rica are often considered popular on a larger scale.
  5. Entertainment and activity options
    The variety and quality of the events and activities offered at the festival can influence its popularity. Festivals that offer a wide range of entertainment options, including music, dance, food, art, and carnival attractions, are generally more popular.
  6. Accessibility and location
    A festival's location and ease of access can also affect its popularity. Festivals that are held in convenient or iconic locations and are easily accessible through public transportation or nearby accommodations may attract more attendees and gain a higher level of popularity.
  7. Economic impact
    The economic benefits a festival brings to the local economy, such as increased tourism, business, and job opportunities, can also play a role in its popularity. Festivals that make a significant positive economic impact on their host city or region may be considered more popular.
  8. Participant experience and satisfaction
    Lastly, the overall satisfaction and experience of festival-goers is an important factor that influences the popularity of a festival. A well-organized and enjoyable event is likely to be more popular among attendees and be recommended to others, increasing its popularity over time.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular festival in Costa Rica. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Festival is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 211 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Festival once every 24 hours. The rank of each Festival is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular festival in costa rica

Costa Rica is a country famous for its natural beauty, biodiversity, and cultural richness. It's no wonder that it hosts some of the most vibrant and exciting festivals in Central America. The country's festivals are a blend of indigenous, colonial, and modern culture, offering a unique experience to locals and tourists alike. One of the most popular festivals in Costa Rica is the Fiestas de Zapote, which takes place in December and January. The festival is a celebration of Costa Rican culture, featuring bullfights, carnival rides, live music, and traditional food. Another popular festival is the Festival de la Luz, which takes place in December and marks the start of the Christmas season. The festival features a parade of colorful floats, marching bands, and fireworks, drawing in thousands of visitors from all over the world. The Palmares Festival is another must-see festival in Costa Rica. Held in January, it's the largest festival in the country and features a range of activities, including bullfights, concerts, sporting events, and a massive carnival. The festival is a celebration of the country's agricultural heritage and attracts both locals and tourists. Whether you're a fan of music, food, culture, or simply looking for a good time, Costa Rica's festivals have something to offer everyone. With so many exciting events taking place throughout the year, it's no surprise that the country is a top destination for festival-goers.

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