The Palmares Festival is a carnival-style celebration that takes place during two weeks of January in Palmares, a town in the province of Alajuela, not far from San Ramon. An annual fiesta features concerts, sports competitions, fireworks, bullfighting, and a horse parade. The festival gets attended by over a million of people, being one of the largest celebrations in Costa Rica.
The traditional topes (horse parade) marks the beginning of the festival. Many locals participate in the parade with their best horses. Thousands of riders show-off their skills standing up and even dancing on their horses. Other highlights of the festival include the Tico-style bullfights, where the public is encouraged to participate, a soccer game and a lantern parade. All major events take place on festival grounds, where special stages and seats are constructed for scheduled activities. Visitors can expect large crowds on the streets and at bars of Palmares as well as lots of adventures and experiences. Concerts and competitions are usually followed by after-parties, held in tents where people spend the nights drinking, dancing and having fun. Some visitors book special mini-buses to get drunk on the 1-hour drive from San José.
The Palmares Festival also showcases Costa Rica’s most popular musicians and stand-up comedians to entertain the festival-goers.