Christmas in Costa Rica comes at the end of the school year and the start of the holidays – so people really look forward to getting to the beach!
People like to decorate their houses with beautiful tropical flowers. A model of the nativity scene, called the Pasito or Portal, is the center of the display. It’s also decorated with flowers and sometimes fruit. Some of the scenes take a long time to make and all the family is involved. As well as the traditional figures, people add other models including houses and lots of different sorts of animals.
Christmas wreaths are made of cypress branches and are decorated with red coffee berries and ribbons. Most homes, shops and important buildings are decorated with Christmas lights.
In Costa Rica, the gift bringer is often ‘Niño dios’ (Child God, meaning Jesus) or ‘Colacho’ (another name for St. Nicholas).
Apples are popular in the run up to Christmas with apple stands appearing at the sides of the road.
On Christmas Eve, everyone puts on their best clothes and goes to Midnight Mass. In Costa Rica it’s called the ‘Misa de Gallo’ (Mass of the Rooster); it’s also called that in Spain.
After Midnight Mass the main Christmas meal is eaten. It normal includes chicken and pork tamales that have been wrapped for cooking in plantain leaves. To drink there’s lots of egg nog and rum punch!
During December and into January, there are lots of fiestas, parades, rodeos, street parties, bull runs and choral and dance festivals. On 26th December (Boxing Day) there is an important horseback parade called the Tope. The next on the next day (27th), many towns and cities have ‘Carnaval’ with a big parade featuring dancing and big floats.
Why You Should Spend Christmas in Costa Rica
Tell Santa he can find you this Christmas in Costa Rica, where warm summer sun and blue skies make the holidays even more festive!
If your usual Christmas is cold and gray, and you have to bundle up in multiple layers just to go outside, wouldn’t it be nice to be festive under warm sunshine and blue skies and spend Christmas in Costa Rica?
As chilly winter weather frosts the United States, Canada and Europe, you are not alone if you are dreaming about a sunny tropical holiday.
Escape the winter blues and come to warm summer in Guanacaste for Christmas in Costa Rica. Dozens of daily flights to Costa Rica from the U.S., Canada and Europe make traveling to Guanacaste simpler than Christmas shopping for your in-laws.
Jingle your bells at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Set on a 137-year-old traditional Guanacaste ranch next to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Hacienda Guachipelin is the best place to experience Costa Rica’s famous nature. The award-winning hotel is surrounded by tropical forest, waterfalls, rivers, hot springs, and exotic wildlife.
Hacienda Guachipelin’s adventure park offers the largest variety of things to do in Guanacaste all in one location. There aren’t any sleigh rides, but you can horseback ride to your heart’s content to waterfalls and volcanic hot springs. And you can fly through the air like Santa’s reindeer on the canopy zip line tour. Besides that, you have mountain biking, hiking, river tubing, waterfall rappelling, an archaeological tour, butterfly garden, frog habitat and Serpentarium.
Comfortable accommodations cater to individuals and couples, and also families and groups.
So, whether you’ve been naughty or nice, tell Santa he can find you this Christmas in Costa Rica!
What is Christmas in Costa Rica like?
Christmas in Costa Rica is a vibrant time of elaborate decorations and lights on houses and businesses, Christmas parades, festivals, concerts, and family gatherings.
Rainy season has ended, replaced with dry cool winds, sunny days, and clear and starry nights. Students start their long “summer vacation” from December through February, workers receive their legally-required annual Christmas bonuses, and everybody is ready to celebrate!
Nativity scenes, often life-size, are an essential part of Costa Rican families’ celebrations. Friends and family get invited over to show off the detailed creations.
Christmas trees can be fresh-scented real cypress trees, artificial trees, or even decorated palm trees.
Like the rest of Latin America, tamales are a time-honored Christmas tradition. Costa Rican tamales are made from corn meal filled with rice, potatoes and other vegetables, and shredded pork or chicken, and then wrapped in banana or plantain leaves and boiled.
Costa Rica’s Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Eve, or “Noche Bueno,” when people visit family and friends for feasts of roast pork, tamales and other traditional dishes. Eggnog with rum is drunk while family members exchange presents before midnight.
The New Year kicks off Costa Rica’s summer festival season from January to April. Known for their gregarious, fun-loving style, Costa Ricans’ enthusiasm for these fun cultural events is contagious.
Spend Christmas in Costa Rica and join in the festivities!