Whew! What a year 2020 has been for the whole world! Here in Costa Rica, everyone is awaiting tonight’s celebration with more anticipation than ever. New Year’s in Costa Rica is always a big event, and although group celebrations will be limited this year, people can’t wait to bid farewell to 2020.
This year, New Year’s will be brought in with an air of new hope and enthusiasm toward the future. So, before we sign off for the holiday weekend and head to the beach to catch the last sunset of the year, we wanted to give you a glimpse at how people in Costa Rica will be spending tonight’s celebration.
Most government and private offices close for anywhere from 2-3 weeks right before Christmas, as people take off from the city in search of some R&R among nature, usually at the beaches, which are generally packed this time of year! Regardless if New Year’s is spent at home or at one of the many beach towns, including our beautiful Manuel Antonio Beach, New Year’s in Costa Rica is definitely a family affair. Costa Ricans typically gather with large groups of family and friends at home or at a Manuel Antonio vacation rental or other vacation villas along the coast.
The celebration starts by watching sunset at the beach, then heading back to the vacation rental to start cooking, all while enjoying music and a little dancing to set the mood for the night’s celebration. Dinner is enjoyed late, normally around 10pm so everyone has time to digest and wait for the midnight fireworks, which can be enjoyed all over the country. A typical dinner consists of carne asada or grilled meats, along with roasted pork leg, pasta or potato salad, corn on the cob, and a fresh salad. For dessert, a cinnamon-spiced, rice pudding or tres leches (three milk cake) can’t be denied!
Although this year’s celebration will be a little different as the beach gatherings and public fireworks shows have been cancelled, the air of excitement can still be felt and no doubt the new year will be brought in with happiness… After all Costa Rica knows how to embody the pura vida lifestyle in all situations!
And for our American visitors who we have had the pleasure of hosting at Villa Perezoso this week, they will enjoy dinner with our chef and have opted to try some Costa Rican traditional dishes to ring in the new year in a different way! Their morning was spent on a private catamaran and snorkeling cruise, followed by afternoon massages at the villa. Aside from several private tours and activities and complete relaxation at the villa, their holiday vacation has also been packed full of monkey sightings, scarlet macaws and toucan visits. What better way to spend the New Year’s holiday?
So, for now, we will sign off, but before we do, we wish you all a happy and healthy start to the new year. Never have we been happier to say: Pura Vida & Feliz Año Nuevo!
September 15, 2020 celebrated 199 years of Costa Rica’s independence.
This was a joyous day across the country and for Costa Ricans all over the
world, as this day symbolizes freedom, democracy and a culture of peace. This day is celebrated with several popular
traditions, and this year was no exception.
Here is a look at a few of these traditions and their important meaning
to Costa Rica:
“Faroles” or lanterns are lit up on the eve of September 14th, the day before Independence Day as a symbol of freedom. This tradition dates back to the year 1821, when at 6pm Costa Rica’s Independence Act was signed, giving them autonomy. On this day many years ago, Costa Ricans lit lanterns and joined together to sign the National Anthem to celebrate. Since then, this has become a tradition that school children, families, government offices and homes across the country all observe. Beautiful and elaborate lanterns are often part of children’s homework the week working up to Independence Day, and these are usually boasted at parades that are held in each town. The night of the lanterns is a huge Costa Rican tradition and party. This year it was celebrated virtually.
National Anthem and the Costa Rican Flag
The lyrics to Costa Rica’s National Anthem are always sung
in the homes of Costa Ricans. The National Anthem is not a war song; rather, it
tells the story of a democratic people, of farmers who have not experienced
great conflicts and of a peaceful nation.
The national flag faithfully expresses the life of Costa Rica,
characterized by always seeking conciliation, as well as by the virtuous
purpose that guides its destiny. Mini
Costa Rican flags are proudly adorned in homes and in people’s car the weeks
leading up to the holiday, and towns are all festively decorated with large
flags on lamp posts and traffic lights. It’s a lovely sight to see!
Weekends to the Beach
No Independence Day in Costa Rica would be complete without a
visit to the beach, and this year was no exception. In spite of Covid and its restrictions,
families all loaded into their cars and took road trips to nearby beaches. Social distancing and remaining in bubbles
was enforced, but this certainly didn’t take away from the fun of being
gathered at the beach, having BBQ’s, playing soccer and soaking up the sunshine
and fresh air. Our very own Manuel
Antonio National Park and beaches were very busy this past weekend and we were
thrilled to receive responsible visitors from all over the country!
All of us at Villa Perezoso have a great love for Costa Rica, and are proud to reside here and be able to share this wonderful piece of paradise with our guests. This is a country that promotes peace and honors family and relationships in a way that we should all take note. We look forward to sharing the beauty of Costa Rica and its wonderful people with you soon. We are happy to announce that the following US States are now allowed in to Costa Rica: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. Starting on October 1st, California residents will also be allowed to visit. Additional states will also be added at that time. If you would like to visit, please contact us, and we will be happy to help you plan your next visit…
Day in Costa Rica is a national holiday and is normally celebrated every year
on August 15th. This year in order to boost national tourism, the
government has moved the official holiday to Monday, August 17th so
that locals, along with international visitors, can enjoy a long weekend to
celebrate. Costa Rica is a strong matriarchal
society and this holiday weekend will be spent like so many others; Either by
sharing a big family meal at home with some of Costa Rica’s most authentic
dishes, by taking Mom out to eat for her favorite food, or perhaps by taking a trip
to the beach! The latter is certainly a favorite
among both urbanites and those who live on the coast, and no doubt after being
in lock-down for several months, everyone is enjoying getaways to the beach to
soak up the rays of sunshine and the feeling of wet sand on their feet. In addition to relaxing strolls on the beach,
many families will take adventurous hikes through the rain forest in search of the
exotic wildlife Costa Rica offers so abundantly. So, in anticipation of Costa
Rican Mother’s Day, we wanted to honor several of the animal species special to
us here in Manuel Antonio. Of course,
there are many, but chose four of our favorite mammals, and started with the
revered sloth. After
all, Villa Perezoso, or “The Sloth Villa” was named after these beloved animals! And no less special to us are the 3 species
of monkeys commonly seen in the trees surrounding Villa Perezoso.
Just like the other baby mammals, sloths prefer to stay with their mothers while they are young. There is a very close bond between
mothers and babies, and baby sloths love to hang on their mother’s fur. Baby sloths will cling
to their mother’s belly until they are able to feed themselves, which can take
anywhere from five weeks to six months. Once they have learned to
feed themselves and they stop dangling from their mother, little sloths will
continue to stay alongside their mother for two to four years, depending on their species. These amazing
creatures have a life span of about 20 years and spend most of their life
sleeping! Sloths have a very low metabolic
rate and therefore sleep about 20 hours per day and only travel about 40 yards
per day amid the rain forest canopy. Since
they don’t move much, it is always a very exciting sight to spot a sloth with
her baby in the Manuel Antonio National Park. Baby and momma sloths can often
be seen right outside of Villa Perezoso enjoying some bites off of one of their
favorite trees, the Guarumo tree, which
are planted all around the villa.
Mother howler monkeys care for their young for about 12
months after they are born.
Female offspring remain in their
natal group and therefore stay
with their mother long after
they are independent. The average age of howler monkeys ranges from
between 15 and 20 years old. These
fascinating creatures are considered the largest Central American monkey, and
they live in the upper canopy of forests and love to be alongside the coast,
making Costa Rica an ideal location for them. Howler monkeys are not especially active
compared to other species of Central and South American monkeys. They spend a
lot of their time just hanging out, sitting on their branches with other
members of their group, which range in size between 10 and 20 members, but can occasionally
have up to 40. While visiting Villa
Perezoso, you will surely hear the deep guttural sound of these monkeys echoing
amidst the surrounding rainforest! This
howling allows the monkeys to locate each other without expending too much energy
on moving or risking physical confrontation with another troop. You may even
lucky enough to spot a momma howler with her baby!
Female squirrel monkeys are responsible for almost all
infant care. Females within a group exhibit birth synchrony and increased
vigilance during the birth season because newborns and infants are particularly
susceptible to predators. In some groups, males also vigorously protect infants
from predators, but in other groups,
where males are on the periphery of the social group, they exhibit no infant
protection. For the first month of life, infants remain in constant physical
contact with their mother, usually being carried on her back because they are
too large and impede movement if they are carried on the front. This is a
common sight in Manuel Antonio where squirrel monkeys live happily amid the
rain forest. During the first five to
seven weeks, infants begin to leave their mother to explore the surrounding
environment and interactions between mother and infant become increasingly
fewer. Infants become independent during the second through fourth months of
life, spending more time with peers or play groups. Some groups are fully
weaned by four months, but others are not fully weaned until 18 months of
age. It’s always a fantastic site to
see these monkeys troupes with their active youngsters jumping from tree to
not least, comes The White-Faced or “capuchin” monkey. This monkey is often seen in Manuel Antonio
and is known for being “ornery” because it often throws fruits down from trees
or hisses and spits on human observers! The
capuchin lives in troops that can exceed 20 animals and include both males and
females, three quarters of which are females.
The White-Faced are perceived as cantankerous, but actually they are
just highly intelligent and social animals. They are the largest-brained, smartest
monkeys in the Americas. Capuchins are remarkable in many ways, but in the
field of motherhood and child care, they stand out. For starters, they implement a type of “daycare”
system among group members. After a
capuchin infant is born, members will compete to have a turn with the
baby. They will inspect and care for
the baby whenever the mother will permit.
Other group members will even act as “babysitters” and carry the infant
for the mother. Secondly, babies are
known to be regularly nursed by females in the group other than their own
mothers. Finally, the White-Faced monkey
is extremely tolerant of juvenile curiosity and encourages their playfulness and
interaction with other members as they get older. Certainly an interesting comparison for human
parents! Aside from the interesting
facts of parenthood, the White-Faced Monkey is revered for having independently
evolved many traits like tool use that were once regarded as uniquely human, including
rubbing plants over its body in an apparent use of herbal medicines as well as using
tools as weapons and for getting to food.
just a few of our favorite mammals that call home to the surrounding forest
around Villa Perezoso. Of course there
is so much more wildlife surrounding the villa and in Manuel Antonio. Toucans,
Scarlet Macaws and other reptiles abound as do so many other jungle
animals. If you would like to experience
some of these animals in person, contact
us for information on reserving a visit to Villa Perezoso!
Costa Rica is a Catholic country and it’s holidays are mostly church-related. Most businesses, including banks, close on official holidays. The country closes down entirely during the biggest holiday time, Easter Holy Week, but only during Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by Holy Sunday, some services might be available, but don’t count on it in remote parts of the country. Buses stop running on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Banks and offices are closed. And hotels and car rentals are booked solid weeks in advance as everyone seems to head for the beach. Avoid the popular beaches during Easter week. Most Ticos now take the whole Christmas holiday week through New Year as an unofficial holiday.
Easter in Costa Rica is a perfect opportunity to see colorful religious processions. Individual towns also celebrate their patron saint’s day: highlights usually include a procession, plus bullfights, rodeos, dancing, and other parades. Fireworks and firecrackers are a popular part of local fiestas and church celebrations.
This is the list of the main and official holidays in Costa Rica:
January 1st: New Year’s Day, celebrated with a big dance in San Jose’s Parque Central.
March 19th: St. Joseph’s Day, patron saint of San Jose and San Jose province.
Easter: Holy Week or Semana Santa in Costa Rica. Dates vary annually but businesses will often close for the entire week preceding Easter weekend.
April 11th: Juan Santamaria Day. Public holiday to commemorate the national hero who fought at the battle of Rivas against the American invader William Walker in 1856.
May 1st: Labor Day. Dia de los Trabajadores.
June: Corpus Christi
June 29th: St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day
July 25th: Guanacaste Day. To mark the annexation of Guanacaste from Nicaragua in 1824.
b>August 2nd: Virgin de los Angeles Day. Patron saint of Costa Rica.
August 15th: Mother’s Day and Assumption Day
September 15th: Independence Day, with big patriotic parades celebrates Costa Rica’s independence from Spain in 1821.
October 12th: Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day). Limon province only, marked by carnival, which take place in the week prior to October 12.
November 2nd: All soul’s Day
December 8th: Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
December 25th: Christmas Day. Family-oriented celebrations with trips to the beach. Much consumption of apples and grapes.
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