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Best time to go to Costa Rica

Fiestas de Zapote 2022

A week of bullfighting, carnival rides, entertainment, and fair food

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Fiestas de Zapote is a week-long end-of-the-year festival taking place in San José. The main highlights of the festivities are the carnival, the largest equestrian parade in Costa Rica, and a Tico-style bullfight or “toros a la Tica." The festival usually features about 5,000 riders and their horses. Held at the Campo Ferial in the eastern part of the capital, the festival offers about 30 carnival rides, a Ferris wheel, and bumper cars. Additionally, music and various entertainment are offered to anyone's liking.

Fiestas de Zapote is often called the super bowl of Costa Rican bull riding. It is similar to a rodeo, but people from the audience are encouraged to come down to the ring and try their luck with bulls as well. Professional and amateur improvisados provoke the bulls and compete for prizes and glory. Unlike Spanish corrida, Tico-style bullfight is not harmful to the animals. Altogether, there are over 25 bullfights during the festivities.

Besides the bulls, it's also worth to visit Fiestas de Zapote because of traditional food: tamale, churros, cotton candy, and other fair delights are offered in abundance. The festival, which was originally dedicated to St. Joseph, was initiated after Costa Rica’s declaration of independence in 1821. Every day of the festival ends with the fireworks display after the bullfight.

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