Palmares is a small town that is located in the southwest corner of the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica. It is also the name of the first district of the homonymous canton that includes the town. It is at an altitude of 1017 meters above sea level, in a small valley 39 km west of Alajuela and 55 km west of San José, capital of the Republic. To the northeast of Palmares sits the “Cerro Del Espiritu Santo” where there are the famous ruins of a Catholic temple to the Cristo Rey.
In Palmares, Costa Ricans celebrate the New Year with its famous Fiestas. The “Fiesta de Palmares” is a giant celebration each year with more than one million attendees. So, if you are in Costa Rica in January, it is important to make time to enjoy what some consider the best festival in the country.
As if Christmas and receiving the New Year were not exciting enough, Costa Ricans are not willing to stop celebrating. Palmares parties are held over two weeks in January. This small town has made a reputation for hosting one of the most exciting and expected celebrations each year in Costa Rica. Attendees can enjoy concerts, comedy, carnival, sporting events, fireworks, bullfights Tico-style, food, and beverage stalls and the famous parade.
History of the Palmares festivities
Beginning to be commemorated not that long ago, this celebration has become one of the most popular in Costa Rica, seeing more than one million people in attendance. It has been said that the Fiestas de Palmares has second place in beer parties around the world, only behind the famous Oktoberfest in Germany; so you can imagine the reputation of the festival for being full of fun and joy. A couple of drinks, a crowd full of Ticos and international visitors, and bullfights Tico-style – how can you say no to all this?
The event takes place in the center of the city, where platforms, restaurants, health services and much more are built to delight and comfort everyone who visits this city and make many new friends. The festival is open to all public although some activities may require the purchase of tickets and employs security to keep all attendees safe. The festival has a reputation for hosting thousands of people throughout the day where they can enjoy a large number of activities until dusk or even until dawn.
How the Fiestas de Palmares begin
To begin the festivities every year, the organizers start with a football match and a parade of lanterns, which illuminate the festival site. The lighting of the lanterns is known as the lantern parade, and the football match is a minor league tournament.
What will you enjoy at the Fiesta de Palmares?
The Fiestas de Palmares is known for hosting the most popular and well-known musicians. The festival usually has between three and five bands to give outdoor concerts throughout the calendar of events, especially on weekends. Sundays are the days where the best known musical stars have their concerts, so the price this day usually increases.
Artists from all over the world come to perform live their greatest hits at the Fiesta de Palmares. With performances for all musical tastes, Palmares is guaranteed as one of the best musical experiences in the country. The city has been fortunate to have performances by groups like Maroon 5, Afrojack, Authentic Decadents, and of course the best national bands.
But music is not the only beat that fills the air, there is also a variety of laughs, the festival attracts comedians to entertain festival-goers.
One of the main highlights of the festival is the Bulls. This is not the traditional bullfight rather it is a public event. This not only means that the public can attend, but also that it is the same public who can participate in it. This is called “Toros a la Tica“(bullfighting Tico-style), and it attracts a large number of people who want to try their luck in this exciting local tradition.
Yes, that is correct; every person who is brave enough to participate in these bullfights will be able to participate in this activity. Some professional bullfighters are brought from countries like Mexico or Colombia, but above all this event is destined to be little more comical, improvised bullfighters vs. 500 kilos bulls, and most important of all, the bulls are not killed or mistreated during the event.