Costa Rica’s Fiestas: Rodeos Like No Other

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Expats and tourists in Costa Rica may think they have seen rodeos in their home country – but most likely that is not exactly like the rodeo you will experience in this Central American country.

At a Costa Rican “Fiesta” – you don’t have to be only a casual observer sipping beer in the stands (though you can absolutely do that too!)…

…you can actually be a full-on participant.

What Is A Costa Rican Fiesta?

The fiestas are a cross between a rodeo, a carnival, and a bullfight. They are popular social events that pop up throughout the year all around the country.

Bulls come out into the ring with riders – just like any other rodeo. What makes it interesting is bystanders, normally quite a few men and a couple brave women, will be in the ring too.

You will see a few cautiously staying close to the side for a quick escape. You will also undoubtedly see a few crazy cowboys who taunt and run after the bulls. The crowd goes wild and anxiously sees what happens to the bulls and the men inside.

This is not an overly violent event. Most of the time the bull bucks the rider off the horse and nobody in the right comes close to the bull. But as you may expect, there have been instances of a bull goring somebody in the ring.

Naturally, this brings about some controversy – partly due to the taunting of the animals, partly due to the dangerous nature of amateurs in the ring. Others view the event as a traditional celebration where animals are not severely hurt and participants know what they are getting into.

What Else Can You Find At The Fiesta?

On top of the one-of- a-kind bullfighting experience, you will also find many carnival-like activities at the fiestas.

  • Rides
  • Games
  • Food venders
  • Drink stands
  • Music

Some fiestas will include activities with horses, dances in traditional garb, and dancing.

The whole night can be a fun, authentic experience to remember. You will see kids of all ages, couples, families, and friends joined together. Unlike beach parties and events, you will find the crowds are made up largely of locals.

For those in the Tamarindo area, you can find fiestas in neighboring Villa Real.