Fiesta Palmares


If there are any people in the world who spend their lives like one big party, it’s the Costa Ricans. These people truly believe in partying their hearts out all year round. So, it won’t be any surprise if you find the work places empty when Fiesta Palmares is on the go.

Fiesta Palmares is the much anticipated festival, that easily brings in around a million people from everywhere in the world. It takes place annually right after the festivity of Christmas and New Year’s dies down. Taking off in the first week of January, this party goes on nonstop, sunrise till sunset and after, for 12 days straight. During these weeks the small town of Palmares, 56 kilometers from San Jose transforms itself into the biggest, most incredible party place of Costa Rica. The festival is humongous and is said to rank second in the most beer consuming annual festival here.

The carnival or more famously exclaimed “Carnaval!” is on the top of the list of Costa Rican Parties. Organized every year by The Palmares Civic Association, it provides fun and absolute entertainment for every age group and plays an essential role in uplifting their economy. The organizing committee covers all aspects of the event with utmost responsibility.


The festival has 5 mega bars, countless food options and a total festival lineup; from the fascinating parades and concerts, to the most highlighted horse rides and bullfights. The day begins with the bars and goes on with the parades. The Gran Tope, the parade of over 3000 horses and their riders is the major lookout followed by bullfights, here known as Tico. Unlike the ones in Spain, these fights don’t harm the bulls which make them thrilling and comfortable for the audience. When the parades and fights are over, music explodes in the streets and the crowd starts moving to the beat. This brings out the real celebration when you witness the people dancing their way into the night. Everyday ends with a captivating display of fireworks that give the people a perfect end for the day and leaves them looking forward to next one ahead.

From the security point of view, the festival has a controlled set up of security cameras and it recruits police officers, Red Cross workers and transit police to maintain law and order. The carnival is free for everyone to enter, but the people have to pay to watch bull fights, rides, and horse parades and to use the mega bars. Also, the festival is smoke free and anyone found smoking is fined. The transit police maintain zero tolerance policy and officers are placed at all entrances and exits, and are under orders to take breathalyzer tests whenever necessary.


Palmares is an hour drive from the capital San Jose but it’s normal to take more time to reach during the festival. The traffic though slow is kept smooth and running by the navigation and orders of the traffic police and parking is made available. For people without cars and patience, the options of private transportation and public buses are available which leave at every hour during the festival weeks.

Be sure to check this one of a kind festival out whenever vacationing to Costa Rica and remember to pack light clothes, sunscreen, water, caps and sunglasses along.