CC Flickr photo credit: Randy Robertson
An elaborate Christmas display at a Costa Rican hotel


There’s no question that a lot of visitors to Costa Rica love to relax, enjoy the beaches or explore the rainforests and volcanoes.


But how do the locals really celebrate the holidays? Let’s find out, and in the meantime if you’ve been itching to visit but were wondering if now is the time, check out some of the cheap flights to Costa Rica from CheapOair.


After the Day of the Dead, the major festivities and holiday celebrations in Costa Rica are centered around Christmas and New Year’s. Here are ways to enjoy the holidays like a local:


Get into the Festival Spirit: Costa Rica, as with many Central American countries, loves its festivals. In early January, visitors can expect to enjoy the Fiestas de Palmares where visitors can enjoy carnivals, rides, parades and concerts. That doesn’t mean you always need to dress up but some genuine excitement and enthusiasm about festivals will make you fit in like a local. One beloved activity (not technically a “festival” is the Toros a laTica bullfights.


An Obsession with Snow: Costa Ricans love to celebrate their holidays but they are unique and done in a local way (they called it the Tico way). Since many residents do not see snow, they are strangely fascinated by snow, even honoring it through a festival called Festival de la Luz.


Family Time & Posadas: In December, it’s all about family and togetherness, especially when kids come home from school. The natives, called the Ticos, celebrate the holidays with Posadas nine days before Christmas. Everything in Costa Rica’s Christmas tradition fixates upon the Christ child, and what children and family members end up doing is collect plants, twigs and other leafy materials to decorate the family portal that is typically located in the living room.


Christmas Tree: Costa Ricans typically bring their Christmas tree into the home just a week or a few days before Christmas, and while you may be thinking “spruce” or “fir,” a lot of the locals use a dried coffee plant and paint and decorate it. The tree can also be a small Cypress tree.


Tamales: Tamales are part of the authentic action, and every family loves to eat during the holiday season! Prepared with grilled pork or chicken the tamales take many hours to prepare.

CC Flickr photo credit: Randy Robertson

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