Outdoor concerts,a carnival, sports events, local food and drinks and a horseback parade are all put on display in Palmares – the town to make friends.
Travelling to a country, during holiday periods or local celebrations is a real experience. Every place is kitted out from top to toe to make the event much more exciting. People in Costa Rica are very friendly and welcome visitors with open arms. They’re delighted to show them their customs, traditions and naturally enough, their festivals too.
Costa Rica offers visitors the chance to participate in the Fiestas de Palmares, a small town, whose slogan is the town to make friends, is located in the southwestern tip of the Alajuela province in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. The festival takes place over two weeks in January, where attendees will be treated to concerts, typical food of the area, a carnival, sports events, fireworks, “a la tica” bullfights and the very famous “tope” horse parades.
You would never imagine it by its popularity, but the Palmares Fiestas is only a few years old. In this short time, the festival has become one of the biggest in Costa Rica with more than a million “ticos” in attendance each year to live life to the full and party hard. The event takes place in the city centre throughout the day and is free to attend – although you may have to buy tickets for some activities.
The festival kicks off each year with a football match (minor-league tournament) and a parade of lanterns, which lights the main festival area.
Palmares Fiestas is known for filling the air with the sounds of Costa Rica’s most popular musicians and international guests. Between three and five bands are usually booked to play outdoor concerts throughout the schedule of events, mostly on Sundays, when an international act is booked to perform.
This year’s festival also includes the “Clasica Palmarín” mountain biking competition, the trotter horse exhibition and a half-marathon, as well as a wide range of gastronomy and art exhibitions.
Toros a la Tica
One of the highlights of the festival is the Costa Rican-style bullfighting. This isn’t your average bullfighting – this is a public event, meaning the public can participate if they’re brave enough to give it a try. However, in these Toros a la Tica, which is similar to the Spanish capea, the animal is not killed, and they allow the improvisados to enter the ring and join in the local tradition.
However, The crown jewel of the Palmares Fiestas is the tope, or horse parade. This event is part of the opening celebrations, taking place on the second day of the festival, when thousands of visitors from other parts of the country come to see the horse parade and enjoy the party atmosphere.
What festival would be complete without a carnival, fireworks, and of course plenty of authentic Costa Rican food and drinks? All of these things are part of the Palmares Fiestas schedule of events too!