Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Festival of Lights (Festival de la Luz) Costa Rica

7 December

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Get ready to be dazzled! The Festival de la Luz in San José, Costa Rica, promises to illuminate the vibrant capital with a kaleidoscope of colours and electrifying energy. Prepare to witness a vibrant celebration of art, music, and pure joie de vivre.

History of the Festival de la Luz

Since 1966, the Festival of Lights has captivated Costa Ricans and visitors alike. Born from a desire to illuminate the bustling capital of San José, the festival quickly blossomed into a cultural phenomenon. Each year, San José transforms into a canvas of light, showcasing the creativity and artistry of local and international artists.

What to Expect at the Festival de la Luz

Immerse yourself in a spectacle of light and laughter! Imagine streets lined with dazzling floats adorned with dazzling LED lights, intricate papier-mâché figures, and vibrant costumes. Costumed performers, pulsating music, and exuberant crowds create an atmosphere so infectious, you’ll be dancing in the streets before you know it.

The magic begins in the afternoon with pre-festival activities like children’s workshops and cultural presentations. As dusk settles, the parade takes centre stage, snaking through the heart of the city and culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. But the party doesn’t end there! After-festival events at bars and restaurants keep the rhythm going until sunrise.

Go early to get a good viewing place along the route of the procession.

When is the Festival of Lights?

Mark your calendars: the next Festival de la Luz ignites San José on Saturday, 7 December, 2024 (date to be confirmed).

Where Does it Take Place?

The Festival of Lights unfolds in the heart of San José, Costa Rica. The parade starts at the National Gymnasium then winds through Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda, two of the city’s main arteries. It finishes in the Plaza de la Democracia, making it easily accessible on foot or by public transportation.

What to Eat and Drink

While there’s no official Festival of Lights cuisine, San José offers a delectable feast for your senses. Sample traditional Costa Rican fare, like gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado (a hearty plate with meat, rice, and plantains), or fresh ceviche. Wash it down with a refreshing Imperial beer or a tropical fruit smoothie.

What to Do in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano Costa Rica PixabayBeyond the festive glow, Costa Rica beckons with its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and volcanic landscapes. Hike through misty cloud forests, surf exhilarating waves, or soak in natural hot springs. Explore charming colonial towns, spot exotic wildlife, or witness the power of Arenal Volcano. Discover more about Costa Rica.

Flights and Accommodation to Costa Rica

From the Juan Santamaria International Airport there are direct international flights to Panama, Bogota, Mexico City, Madrid, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Toronto, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Charlotte.

Once in San José, public buses or taxis easily transport you to the festival festivities.

To find the best accommodation in the places you visit, as well as international flights, please search via our comparison engine, which scans all the major booking sites so you don’t have to.

More Information on Costa Rica

Official website of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute:

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your dancing shoes, embrace the spirit of Costa Rica, and prepare to be dazzled by the magic of the Festival de la Luz.

Pura vida!


7 December


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Mike East

Mike East

Mike began his career in travel writing by writing his own guide on his holidays. He sent this manuscript off to a range of travel guide companies and got a range of rejection letters — all except one. Getting a contract to write for Roger Lascelles Publications on Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas was how his career began. With this opportunity came other pieces for British magazines, The Sunday Telegraph and now Travel Begins at 40.

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