The Christmas season in Costa Rica is full of lights, music, merriment, and holy traditions. As a mainly Roman Catholic country, Christmas in Costa Rica is spared a lot of the typical commercialism of the season in lieu of the more sacred principles. And while they may take the midnight mass a bit more seriously than some other parts of the world, they still know how to enjoy the holidays “Pura Vida” style!
Christmas time is a great time to visit Costa Rica. There are parades of lights, family beach vacations, and plenty of fireworks! Costa Ricans do not even wait until New Year’s Eve to set off the fireworks, they tend to celebrate with a light show on the beach at any time during the Christmas season. Lighting up the night is an important part of their Christmas tradition.
Every big community has a light parade of its own, beginning with the ultimate light parade that takes place in San Jose every year during the second week of December to kick off the holiday season. Playas del Coco holds a grand light parade as well, with bands traveling from around the country to attend the Festival Navideño.
You will find that most houses and businesses will be lit up for Christmas as well. People in Costa Rica decorate their porches, or ranchos, with strings of lights and have a decorated Christmas tree indoors.
While a Christmas tree is a popular way to decorate the Costa Rican home, the centerpiece of any Costa Rican Christmas decorating is the nativity scene, which they call a portal or pasito. These elaborate displays can be found under the Christmas tree or set up on a table, decorated with local greenery, colorful sand, and lights. The Baby Jesus, however, is not added to the portal until Christmas Day.
Churches and towns will often have life-sized portals on display for everyone to enjoy.
While Christmas Day is usually the big event in North America, that is not necessarily the case in Costa Rica. It is Christmas Eve that brings the family together for a big sit-down meal, often over a well-marinated pork roast, or pierna de cerdo. This is also the time to serve the tamales, which are carefully crafted in the weeks leading up to Christmas, often by the hundreds!
The Christmas Eve meal is usually served late in the evening, either before or after attending the Midnight Mass, which Costa Ricans call Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster).
Traditionally, Costa Rican children would leave their shoes out for Niño Dios (Baby Jesus) to fill with gifts, but this Costa Rican tradition Hs been mostly replaced by stockings and Santa Claus, who they call San Nicolás or Colacho.
Christmas Day is typically spent with family at the beach, where they cook up carne asada over makeshift grills and camping stoves. The holiday season is a busy time for the beach, but the atmosphere is festive and people are in great spirits as they enjoy their biggest Costa Rica family vacation of the year.
New Years Eve
If the family didn’t get together on Christmas Eve for the traditional pork roast, they will likely be getting together on New Year’s Eve, which is another big day for family gatherings in Costa Rica. After sunset, there are big fireworks displays, with an especially big display held at Tamarindo Beach each year.
Costa Rica Family Vacations
Why should you take a family vacation to Costa Rica during the Christmas season? The holiday season is a great time to travel to Costa Rica for a family vacation! There are events like festivals, parades, and often fiestas held during this time. Fiestas are like rodeos with plenty of food and fun to be had by the whole family. This is also the time when topes (horse parades) take place, with the biggest event featuring 3,000 horses happening in downtown San Jose every December 26. The rest of the country soon follows suit with their own fiestas and horse parades.
Costa Rica is a great place to get away from the commercialism and consumerism that prevails in much of North America around the Christmas season. Imagine yourself surrounded by your family in a luxury rental villa, enjoying everything a Costa Rica vacation villa has to offer!
At Pura Vida House, we strive to ensure you have the best family vacation in Costa Rica. Our 24/7 concierge services can hook you up with everything you want to get out of your stay. Want to take the kids on an epic zipline experience? You got it. Looking to relax in the hot springs after hiking a volcano? No problem. Want to lay on the beach while the kids take surfing lessons? We got you!
There is so much to keep the kids entertained and keep you relaxed during your stay at our Costa Rica luxury rental. Pura Vida House is a four or six-bedroom villa with a private pool, covered outdoor dining space, a private chef, cleaning and laundry services, golf carts, mountain bikes, and beautiful and private outdoor showers – talk about a vacation!
Our luxury villas in Costa Rica are located within the private residences of Hacienda Pinilla Resort, where you and your family have full access to all of the amenities, including an 18-hole golf course, mountain biking trails, tennis and pickleball courts, surfing lessons, horseback rides, and the Beach Club.
The Beach Club features a tiki bar, a restaurant, an ocean-view gym, yoga classes, and a massive infinity pool looking right over the beach. The resort also gives you and your family easy access to three beautiful Costa Rican beaches.
As guests of Pura Vida House, you and your family can even indulge at eight different bars and restaurants at the nearby JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa.
As one of the top luxury villas in Costa Rica with an on-site private chef, access to two resorts, and 24/7 personal concierge services, your family vacation will be a true getaway for the kids as well as for mom and dad!
If you are considering a Costa Rica family vacation and would like to discuss the details, please contact us with any questions at (614) 600-1904 or email@example.com. We can’t wait to see you. Happy Holidays!
Blog by: Jennifer LaCharite – Costa Consultants, International