The 7 Best Cultural Events San Jose, Costa Rica Offers Each Season!

Are you a traveler eager to explore the authentic culture of San Jose, Costa Rica? Do you want experiences beyond the usual tourist spots that give you real connections with the city’s true essence?

You may have searched through travel sites and forums with countless options available. It’s overwhelming. At Find My Costa Rica, we understand your desire for authentic cultural experiences in this city.

That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most important events you should include in your itinerary. With our local knowledge and passion for San Jose, we’re here to be your trusted source.

Immerse yourself in the rich and amazing Costa Rican culture with Find My Costa Rica!

Experience the Best of San Jose with These Cultural Events!

Here are some of the events that you should experience for a true immersion into San Jose’s culture:

Festivities to start the year

National Orchid Show

Did you know that Costa Rica’s national flower is La Guaria Morada? An orchid celebrated in poetry, literature, and folklore for generations.

Every March, the country welcomes the National Orchid Show, which attracts enthusiasts and nature lovers from around the world who come together to celebrate the country’s love for these beautiful flowers.

At the show, you can explore around 300 different orchid species, both native and exotic, meticulously arranged to highlight their unique features. You can also buy them at the marketplace, where local artisans and nurseries sell common and rare orchid species.

Join the National Orchid Show for a celebration of Costa Rica's natural beauty and passion for orchids!

San Jose Day

On March 19th, Costa Ricans celebrate San José, the patron saint of the capital city and other parts of the country. This day is marked by religious ceremonies in churches nationwide and pilgrimages, where devotees are set on symbolic journeys to honor the patron saint and express their faith.

In addition, San Jose Day involves lively cultural activities that bring communities together. The day is filled with festivals, street parades, and folkloric performances that showcase Costa Rica’s diverse traditions and artistic expressions.

Explore the San Jose Day celebrations and discover the cultural treasures of the capital city!

Events scheduled around mid-year  

 Virgin of Los Angeles Day 

Celebrated every August 2nd, this important holiday honors Costa Rica’s patron saint, La Negrita. Drawing thousands of devotees from all corners of the country, this event pays tribute with a pilgrimage, where many travel from San Jose to the Basilica Church in Cartago, about 22 kilometers away. 

This authentic cultural experience allows you to learn more about the spiritual heritage of San José.

Experience the country's deeply rooted traditions at the Virgin of Los Angeles Day.

Lantern Parade

The lantern parade is a highlight of Costa Rica’s two-day Independence celebrations! It happens in different neighborhoods all over the country on September 14th at 6 pm each year. 

Children, along with their parents and teachers, get together to make their own lanterns from scratch. 

When the sun starts to set, everyone gathers to walk around the neighborhood with their lanterns all lit up. This is a family-friendly experience that you and your kids will cherish for years!

Witness the Lantern Parade, a magical nighttime adventure for many Costa Ricans!

Activities to close the year cheerfully

Festival de la Luz

The Festival de la Luz marks the beginning of the holiday season and is held on the second Saturday in December. It’s the most anticipated event of the year in Paseo Colon, downtown San Jose.

The festival showcases a parade of floats along a nearly 5-kilometer route, starting at 6 p.m. when darkness falls. It also includes masquerades, live music performances, and fireworks displays. It’s a festive celebration that lights up the city and fills the air with holiday cheer.

Come and experience the holiday magic at the Festival de la Luz in Costa Rica!

Tope Nacional

Discover Costa Rica’s equestrian culture at the Tope Nacional. Held on December 26th, this event showcases locals parading through the streets with their decorated horses. You’ll also see colorful floats and cowboy hats, all accompanied by lively music. 

Don’t miss this iconic event celebrating Costa Rica’s deep connection to its equestrian heritage and rich cultural traditions!

Experience the Tope Nacional, showcasing a horse parade and lively traditional music.

Fiestas de Zapote

Experience the excitement at Fiestas de Zapote, the largest festival in the Zapote neighborhood of San José. This festival takes place during the final week of December and features bullfights, roller coasters, live concerts, and a diverse array of carnival rides, games of chance, and fast-food stands.

Make your trip to San José more memorable by attending the Fiestas de Zapote!

Have a Great Time in San Jose with Find My Costa Rica!

San Jose, Costa Rica, offers an incredible array of cultural events throughout the year, with each season bringing its own unique festivities and experiences.

Find My Costa Rica can help you make the most of your time here and learn more about the culture. Our team is dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences and helping you discover the city’s hidden gems.

Contact Find My Costa Rica today to start planning your cultural adventure. Let’s explore together!


1. What is the culture in San Jose, Costa Rica?

The culture in San Jose, Costa Rica, reflects the country’s history, traditions, and values. The city is a melting pot of influences, including indigenous, Spanish colonial, and modern cosmopolitan elements. 

It’s also characterized by warm and welcoming people, a vibrant arts scene, delicious cuisine, and lively festivals and events.

2. Can tourists participate in local cultural events in San Jose?

Absolutely! Tourists can participate in local cultural events in San Jose. Most of them are open to the public and offer a unique chance to experience the richness of Costa Rican culture firsthand.

3. What are some tips for first-time visitors attending events in San Jose?

These are some tips for first-time visitors attending events in San Jose:

  • Dress comfortably and appropriately for the event.
  • Familiarize yourself with local customs and etiquette to show respect for the culture.
  • Embrace new experiences and be willing to try new foods, activities, and traditions.
  • Research event schedules, transportation options, and any safety guidelines or regulations.
  • Book the event’s nearby hotels.
  • Purchase handmade crafts or souvenirs to support local artisans.
  • Relax, have fun, and interact with locals!

You may also like

Costa Rica Interesting Facts

Costa Rica Interesting Facts

Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a culture enthusiast, these facts will spark your curiosity and inspire your next travel adventure! Costa Rica, a jewel in Central America, is renowned for its lush biodiversity, peaceful political climate, and...

Costa Rica in Summer: Weather, Tips & Wildlife

Costa Rica in Summer: Weather, Tips & Wildlife

Welcome to the lush landscapes and vibrant wildlife of Costa Rica in summer! Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, summer in Costa Rica offers an unforgettable experience filled with adventure, relaxation, and the beauty of nature in its prime....

Explore the Unique Rainforests of Costa Rica

Explore the Unique Rainforests of Costa Rica

What is a Rainforest? A rainforest is much more than just a dense, wet forest. It is an intricate ecosystem thriving in areas with high annual rainfall and constant warm temperatures, typically between 20-25°C (68-77°F). These lush territories are crucial to the...