Las Fiestas Palmares is Costa Rica’s largest and most anticipated festival. Every year, the party starts on the second Thursday of the year, and lasts for 2 weeks, until the the third Sunday of January. If you find yourself in Costa Rica during this time, make your way to the small city of Palmares, between Alejuala and San Ramon, and get ready to have the time of your life.

Events include concerts, comedy shows, fireworks, sports, calf scramble with adult bulls, and a traditional horse parade better known as “the tope”. Outdoor tents are set up with food and beverage stations, and more beer than you can imagine–only second to Oktoberfest. Over a million people are expected to attend, so if you’re in Costa Rica, this is one event you definitely don’t want to miss!

Palmares-Costa-Ricas-Largest-and-Most-Anticipated-Festival

History

You would never guess it, based on its popularity, but Las Fiestas Palmares is only a few decades old, and yet it has become the most popular event of the year. It is free to attend, however some of the activities or concerts may require ticket purchase. Stages, stadiums, and audience stands are all set up to transform Palmares into the street festival that it is. The event brings in ticos from all over the country, and international visitors from all over the world. The tent’s after-hours parties have become popular for spending the night drinking and dancing after all scheduled events have concluded.

The “Tope”

The crown jewel of Las Palmares is the “Tope”, or horse parade. Horse riders from all over the country gather in Palmares during the festivities to show off their fancy cowboy hats and boots, their gorgeous horses, and their impressive stunts–like riders who stand and dance on their horses. This event is part of the opening celebrations, and will see thousands of riders in attendance. If you can attend no other event, make sure to attend this one as it is Costa Rica’s most prized performance.

Palmares Top Horse Parade

Live Music

Las Palmares packs the festival with the most popular Costa Rican musicians. A number of bands play outdoor concerts, which are free to the public. Bigger international stars will appear on the stages of “La Barra Imperial” with prices ranging from 10,000 colones to 37,000 colones, depending on the artist. Some of the most recent headliners include: Charlie Zaa, Sebastian Yatra y los Ajenos, Victor Manuelle, Yandel, Los Cafres, Beenie Man, Nocturnal, and Afrojack.

Palmares-Concerts

Comedy

In addition to live music, festival goers are entertained by some of the funniest comedians who will hit the stage this year. Grab a beer, and some good friends, and prepare for some serious laughter! Tickets must be purchased to attend this event.

Toros a La Tica

Like a calf scramble, but with adult bulls is one of the more popular events of Las Palmares. And what makes this event so unique is that it is open to the public. “Toros a La Tica” invites any and everyone who is brave enough to get into the arena. The security does their best to keep the event as safe as possible for all involved. Overall, the event is meant to be a comical man v. bull performance. The bullfights run throughout the entire duration of the festival starting at 3pm everyday.

The Tents

Outdoor tents pop up throughout the festival to provide festival goers with food and beverage options. After the day time events die down, hop into a nearby tent for an after hour party you’ll never forget.

Palmares-Tents

Las Fiestas Palmares is the ultimate kickoff to the Summer season and the much anticipated Carnaval, which takes place throughout Latin America. With tons of exciting events, and more beer than you can imagine, you’re not going to want to miss the biggest event in Costa Rica.