Puntarenas Carnival is one of the most popular Costa Rican festivals

Traditional Mascaradas - Puntarenas Carnival
Traditional Mascaradas - Puntarenas Carnival

Travelers to Costa Rica should definitely make it a priority to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience what daily life is like for residents of the Central American country.

Queen of Carnival Celebrations

One of the best ways to do this is by viewing or even participating in some of the country's most popular festivals, including Puntarenas Carnival. Traditionally, Carnival is a festive season that occurs before Lent in February and March, and Puntarenas Carnival is one of the top places in the world to experience this exciting tradition.

While it may not be as internationally recognized as the celebrations that occur in Italy or Brazil, Puntarenas Carnival welcomes thousands of visitors from all over to dance through the night, enjoy a fireworks display and participate in a number of fun activities.

Known as the queen of Carnival celebrations in Costa Rica, Puntarenas Carnival features parades that make their way down Paseo de los Turistas in the center of the town of Puntarenas. In these parades, visitors will get an opportunity to view exciting figures such as the comparsas (groups of dancers) and mascaradas (giant painted smiling heads). The parades also feature motorcyclists, men on stilts and local bands. The main procession typically takes place on the Saturday of the final weekend of Carnival, beginning at the Balneario Municipal before heading up the Paseo.

Fishing and Volleyball Tournaments

Additionally, recreational activities such as fishing and volleyball tournaments take place on a daily basis during Puntarenas Carnival, making it a wonderful experience for more adventurous travelers as well as those looking to simply relax and enjoy the spectacle.

A concert, which begins in the morning, takes place in the open air on Paseo de los Turistas and features bands from all over the world, including some from Chile and Puerto Rico.

The Carnival Queen beauty contest, which takes place on the first day in the Plaza Pacifico, is another exciting aspect of the Puntarenas Carnival celebration.

For travelers looking to immerse themselves in the Costa Rican culture and experience Puntarenas Carnival, it is advised to book hotels well in advance of the celebration, as the community becomes one of the major hot-spots in the country at this time.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $932 per person
Around Beautiful Costa Rica Tour
10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $1,216 per person