Costa Rica

How To Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Costa Rican Style?

December 01, 2022
Carolina Barrientos Carolina Barrientos
How To Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Costa Rican Style?

If you wish to celebrate the coming New Year and Christmas a little differently, there is no better place than Costa Rica. With clear and starry nights and the delicate aroma of crushed cypress hanging in the air, December marks the start of the holiday season in Costa Rica.  

The weather during the holiday season, i.e., from December to April, is lovely, with the crisp, mildly chilly winds blowing throughout sunny, calm days. Because of the clear weather in the country, tourists love to spend their holidays like New Year’s and Christmas here in Costa Rica.  

So, if you have decided to visit Costa Rica for the holiday season to escape the city rush for pure calmness and relaxation, this blog will be helpful. This post has all the related information to help you plan your time in Costa Rica during this holiday season. It has information on the weather, traditions, best places to visit, and bonus suggestions for must-try local dishes in Costa Rica during Christmas and New Year. 

Why Christmas Celebrations and New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica are Special?  

Spending the holiday season in Costa Rica is a great experience! Not only because holidays are the peak season for travelers and locals but because you will only get to surf perfect waves and lounge on a pristine white-sand beach on your holidays. These elements make Costa Rica a unique destination to visit with family and friends to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve.   

Let’s see what you can expect from the holiday season during your time in Costa Rica.   

  • If we consider the perspective of Costa Ricans, holiday time is family time. You will be glad to experience how festive the country is. Everyone seems to be in the holiday spirit, wishing each other Merry Christmas. The joyful nature of Costa Ricans will make your holidays memorable. 
  • When you travel to Costa Rica for the holiday season, you can enjoy the fantastic weather. This Central American country is known to have some incredible beaches, perfect for appreciating warm weather during winters.   
  • If you love decorating your home for Christmas and New Year and are constantly searching for new ideas, you should visit Costa Rica during the holiday season because the decoration here is outstanding. Costa Ricans love to doll up their houses with beautiful tropical flowers and wreaths embellished with bright ribbons, red coffee berries, and sparkling festive lights.    
  • The food in Costa Rica is incredibly delicious and flavorful. You must attend the main Christmas feast, serving traditional Costa Rican dishes when you are in this Central American country for the holiday celebration.    
  • You might be wrong if you think the holiday season in Costa Rica is over after the New Year’s Eve celebration, as you can enjoy the festivities until the 6th of January. So, if you wish to spend a long weekend in Costa Rica, the holiday season is the ideal time to plan your vacation.    

The Weather 

In Costa Rica, the holiday season brings together perfect opportunities, ideal for enjoying relaxing holidays in the lap of nature – it’s why the holiday season is considered the best time to visit Costa Rica. Christmas fever in this tiny Central American country begins in late November or early December, which also happens to be the end of the rainy season in Costa Rica. The sky is clear, the temperature rises predictably, and the beaches are open to sunbathers.   

The holiday season in Costa Rica falls smack dab at the end of the rainy season when the weather is warm and sunny. The fantastic, predictable weather of Costa Rica makes everything looks exceptionally lush and green, and everyone seems to have a high festive spirit. Can you imagine a better destination than Costa Rica to escape the winters during Christmas and New Year’s Eve? 

How to Celebrate Christmas in Costa Rica?   

Christmas celebrations in Costa Rica is one of the most important and memorable events of the year. No other month of the year is more remarkable for Costa Ricans than December, when the nation decks the halls with sparkling lights and showmanship.  

The “Festival de la Luz,” also known as the festival of lights, which attracts over a million spectators in early December, is the beginning of the holiday season in Costa Rica. Official tree lighting ceremonies in towns and cities around Costa Rica light up the season with holiday decorations, fireworks, and other festivities. You will only truly celebrate the holidays as locals do once you have witnessed fireworks at the beach. 

On December 24 and 25, Costa Ricans attend the traditional Catholic Christmas Mass, which is open to everyone. After Christmas, the nation gets ready for El Tope, a festival where horses (and their riders) perform incredible feats of skill and showmanship on the streets of San José. You will love it!     

How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica?   

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica is traditionally a familial, calm, and relaxed affair. Even today, a family barbecue is a common way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica. Nowadays, in addition to spending time with family & friends at home, Costa Rican families love to party at the beach and spend time together at their favorite restaurant on New Year’s Eve. They also visit beaches at night to participate in fire dancing and enjoy the fireworks.   

Popular Traditions in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve 

Some of the New Year traditions followed in Costa Rica and across Central America are:  

  • Enjoy New Year with Family: In Costa Rica, locals ring in the New Year with a family-friendly celebration where people come together to start the new year with their families and close friends.     
  • Eat 12 Grapes for Good Luck: This tradition holds that eating one grape each for the twelve months of a year and making 12 different wishes, one for every month, will bring you good luck.    
  • Throw Water Over Your Shoulder: Throwing a pan of water over your shoulder is another New Year’s tradition. By following this tradition, locals believe that the difficult times of the past year will be left behind and the coming year will have positivity and happiness.        
  • Wear the Right Color: Wearing the right-colored innerwear on New Year’s brings good luck and fortune. You will attract luck for the coming year if you wear yellow innerwear. Wearing green innerwear will attract cash. And wearing red innerwear will attract your soulmate in the coming year.  
  • Sing Your Heart Out: There is a tradition of singing a traditional Costa Rican song at midnight to invite new beginnings in life.      

The Best Place in Costa Rica to Ring in the New Year 

You will have unlimited fun if you plan to stay in Costa Rica for the Christmas celebrations. Throw in New Year’s Eve celebrations, and the vacation will become one of your most memorable.  

Places like the Nicoya Peninsula, Tamarindo Beach, Punta Arenas, and Jacó are the best places to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in Costa Rica. However, you will find the Pacific Coast crowded during the holiday season. So, it is advisable to make reservations beforehand to avoid last-minute hassles.   

To experience authentic Costa Rican Christmas and New Year’s parties, visit Al Fresco Beach Club Restaurant at Los Sueños. This restaurant is known for offering an incredibly beautiful dining experience, perfect for enjoying a traditional holiday dinner with your friends and family. You will love the ambiance with a swim-up bar and friendly staff. Also, you can visit Los Sueños Resort and Marina to enjoy the traditional game of gunpowder with family and friends.  

Additionally, all the beachfront pubs, bars, and restaurants on the beach and those on the town’s main street will be open and busy until after midnight. So, plan accordingly so that you, your friends, and your family can have unlimited fun.  

The concierge at Villa Firenze can book an exceptional evening for you year-round. So, remember to take advantage of our local knowledge.   

Traditional Holiday Foods to Enjoy in Costa Rica  

Costa Rica is known for its flavors and delicious cuisine. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy the flavors of Costa Rica, whether you’re spending the holiday relaxing on Jaco beach or ringing in the New Year at Palmares. Some must-try holiday season staples are listed below. 

  • Tamales: Tamales is one of the most famous and loved holiday cuisine in Costa Rica. Tamales are cooked in Costa Rica using pork or chicken and then wrapped in plantain leaves. Typically, many families prepare large batches of Tamales and carry them to their holiday gatherings.   
  • Pierna de Cerdo: This is a type of barbecued meat that Costa Ricans enjoy every holiday season. You can easily find vendors selling Pierna de Cerdo and other barbecued meats during the holiday season.   
  • Queque Navideño: Costa Ricans enjoy making this indulgent, delectable fruit cake during the holidays. Typically, the cake is well soaked in rum before baking and topped off with dried seasonal fruits for extra lusciousness.      
  • Rompope: Rompope is a Latin American version of Eggnog and is quite famous in Mexico. The Costa Rican version of Rompope includes milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs and uses guaro (traditional sugar cane-based liquor) or rum to spike the drink. Rompope is one of the most famous holiday beverages in Costa Rica.     


The way Costa Ricans celebrate Christmas and New Year is indeed unique. But still, there are many cultural things in common with every one of us. Holidays in Costa Rica are all about spending time with friends and family, recalling every special moment spent together throughout the year and creating new memories to fill the coming year with happiness, joy, and positivity.         

If you decide to travel to Costa Rica for the holidays, make travel arrangements and hotel reservations well in advance as Christmas and New Year fall during the peak tourist season. So, start planning early and book your stay at least three months before to enjoy your holidays without any worries.  

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