Zapote Festival


Enduring the festive mood of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, Zapote festival follows the Festival of Lights from the 25th of December till the New Year’s Eve. When in a mood for a matchless celebratory and flamboyant festive break, the sultry Christmas in the tropics of Costa Rica is the recommended destination.

Las Fiesta de Zapote, the festival of Zapote is a holiday that marks the end of the year in true Costa Rican fashion. Scarcity of pine trees does not stop its locals from decorating their city. The Festival of Lights leaves behind all the Cyprus trees with attractive décor, flashy luminosities and Christmas portals. These portals display the birth of Jesus Christ and they are artfully dangling from the trees or garnishing the homes of the natives.


The festival opens on the 25th around 3pm in the afternoon, and soon enough over a million people swarm into the city. True to its expectation, Zapote transforms itself into a magnificent fiesta within minutes. It makes way for the horse parades where the largest of the herds march down the streets of the city. This exhibition of Topes is a tradition ongoing since the colonial times and still is regarded as an awe inspiring performance. However, the major attraction that makes this carnival one of its kinds is its bull fights. Unlike the ones in Spain, in these bullfights the bulls are not harmed and they actually stand a chance. It’s an amusing show of people mostly gutsy men, and a few women who get into the circle and annoy the bull, a pull of tail here and a spank on the body there just to get the bull’s attention and then a run to avoid his furious retort.


The fairground covers a large expanse and is scattered with joyous rides and a variety of snack stalls for the folks. The rides are fit for the fittest and they include pirate ship, bumper cars, roller coasters and a terrifying spinning ride called the Tagada. When it comes to food, the pupusas and churros are clear favorites. Pupusas are delicious corn pouches of meat with coleslaw and cheese melted on top, trying them is sure to become one of your memorable moments of the holiday. When craving for sweet, make sure to get your hands on churros, the deep fried pastry rolled in sugar and cream. And finally, the bars and the turned up sound of groovy Latino music will create the perfect ambiance for the festival.

Other fascinating attractions include the snake shows where snakes like corals, pythons, anacondas and vipers are put for a show. Also, the endless party rockers can go clubbing and dancing into the night.


Apart from all the festivity, the festival is monitored under an excellent security operation. Officers of public force are stationed at entrances and exits, inspecting visitors in order to prevent any accidents. Medical aid is available during the bullfight and it specializes in bandaging nasty cuts or broken bones that may happen during them.

A taxi ride from downtown San Jose, will take you to Zapote in a short amount of time. The festival centers itself in the main market place and branches out into the city. So, this Christmas when you are fed up of a roasted dinner and cold environment pack your bags and head for an exciting and unforgettable holiday in Costa Rica!


Address: Zapote, south east of San Jose.