Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Zapote Festival, (Las Fiestas de Zapote), Costa Rica

25 December 2024 - 5 January 2025

Loading Events

The Zapote Festival (Las Fiestas de Zapote), Costa Rica’s vibrant celebration of the Christmas holidays, explodes onto the scene every year, transforming the quiet Zapote Fairgrounds into a carnival of adrenaline, music, and delicious food. Brace yourself for daring bull riding, dazzling parades and contagious Costa Rican cheer.

History of the Las Fiestas de Zapote

The Zapote Festival’s roots trace back to 1846, when it began as a humble cattle fair. Over time, it evolved into a beloved tradition, pulsating with the rhythm of Costa Rican culture. Today, it’s a must-attend for locals and tourists alike, offering a thrilling glimpse into the country’s vibrant spirit.

What to Expect at Las Fiestas de Zapote

The Zapote Festival is a sensory overload in the best way possible. Be mesmerized by the tope, a magnificent parade of over 5,000 horses adorned with dazzling tack and riders in traditional garb. Let the infectious rhythms of live music and the cheers of the crowd carry you away. Floats are crafted with vibrant colours and intricate details depicting Costa Rican folklore and history add to the visual spectacle. Costumes burst with life, showcasing the country’s rich cultural tapestry.

Buckle up for heart-pounding corridas de toros a la Tica, where skilled riders test their mettle against bulls. Though there are also times when volunteers can try their luck, or more likely get the crap knocked out of them. Ambulance crews are on standby.

Organisers have been more concerned about the treatment of the bulls in recent years, though if you have strong feelings about animal welfare, this festival may not be for you.

When IS the Zapote Festival?

The next Zapote Festival will take place from 25 December, the afternoon of Christmas day to be precise. It runs until 5 January 2025.

Where Does It Take Place?

Saddle up and head to the Zapote Fairgrounds, located in the eastern part of San José, Costa Rica’s capital city.

What to Eat and Drink

Fuel your fiesta spirit with Costa Rican delicacies like casado, a hearty plate of rice, beans, meat, and plantains. Don’t miss churros, crispy fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar. Quench your thirst with refreshing cas (a round green locally-popular fruit), or guaro, Costa Rica’s national liquor made from sugarcane.

What to Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Pixabay toucan

Beyond the Zapote Festival, Costa Rica offers a treasure trove of adventures. Hike through lush rainforests, surf world-class waves, spot exotic wildlife, or bask on pristine beaches. Explore the charming colonial city of San José, soak in volcanic hot springs, or zipline through the canopy of the cloud forest. 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 Zapote.

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:

Get ready to experience the magic of Costa Rica and the electrifying Zapote Festival. Pura vida!


25 December
5 January 2025


Zapote Fairgrounds
San Jose,Costa Rica+ Google Map

Explore Topics

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.

Read more posts by Mike East →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *