“Maybe it’s much too early in the game. Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same. What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?” – Nancy Wilson
So, what are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Are you coming down to Costa Rica with us?
Just this past year, I celebrated my first New Years’ Eve in Samara, Costa Rica, with the hotel guests. We cooked out, laughed, had a bonfire and wrote out what we were releasing, and tossed it in the bonfire.
Now, that was a beautiful night with the hotel guest, but after researching New Year in Costa Rica, it looks like I missed a few traditions that I will need to start up for this year.
When you come to Costa Rica with us, you can take on these Costa Rican traditions with me and others.
Click above to email, or call us at 314-808-7232
How Does Costa Rica Celebrate New Year?
Fireworks – Lots of fireworks!
To sell and use fireworks in Costa Rica is legal, so almost every New Year’s Eve party will have a display to light up as the night progresses, with a master display waiting to impress right after the clock marks the zero hours. After hugs and cheers are finished, an array of fireworks can be seen from every corner of the Central Valley.
If you are into fireworks, spend New Year’s Eve at one mountain lodge in the Central Valley that overlooks the valley. It’s just a fantastic show!
BBQ – All Night Long!
The celebrations for New Year’s Eve can have two settings. First, some families enjoy the sit-down dinner with good food and conversation at the table and then peacefully wait for the start of the new year.
But most homes will make it into a big family and friends party! So first, they will light up the grill and cook thin cuts of beef (very well cooked, of course), chicken, sausages, vegetables, and more. Then, during the entire night and until the new year starts, they will serve the cooked meat on a tortilla as it comes out of the grill.
There is also lots of music, dancing, laughing and drinking. So, I did something right for my first New Year in Costa Rica!
What Are Costa’ Rica’s New Year’s Traditions?
Costa Rica’s New Year celebrations are filled with superstitions. Here are a couple of traditions we have to make sure that you do; I will also do them!
Eating 12 Grapes
The tradition is that you need to eat 12 grapes, one grape each month, and make 12 wishes at precisely the change of year to make sure you will be prosperous every month of the new year.
Carrying A Maleta (Suitcase)
If you grab your luggage and run around the block right after midnight, this will make sure that you will travel that year!
What Colored Underwear You Wear Is Important!
Yes, your underwear! What do you think yellow, green, or red underwear represents?
If you wear yellow underwear, then it means that you will attract good luck in the new year. Green underwear is, of course, attracting an abundance of money. And the red underwear is all about love in the New Year!
Find a Santa Lucia Flower
It would be best to find a Santa Lucía flower on January 1st and put it in your wallet, so you have money all year long.
But most important is that you start the year with friends and family to ensure you will foster a sense of love for the new year.
What Do They Eat On New Year’s Day In Costa Rica
Remember what we said about a BBQ? Well, this is what the locals will do. It is all about meat such as carne asada, pork legs, grilled chicken, and other meats. I may have also divulged some fantastic homemade fried pork reins on New Year.
You may also see others make an appetizer, such as ceviche, especially if the locals caught the fish from the ocean over the last few days.
As you sit and wait for the meat to grill, families will grab a cold one, chat about the good, the bad, and the ugly from the last year, and look forward to the new year.
What Clothes Do People Wear On New Years In Costa Rica
As a woman, who loves her clothes and loves to dress up, you can leave those heels and fancy dresses at home if you are coming to Costa Rica.
If you are attending a party by a beach, for women, a lovely dress (long or short) is excellent, along with beautiful sandals, because if you are on the sand, you aren’t wearing any shoes at all. For men, on the beach, a nice pair of shorts, a t-shirt, or a polo, but if you are comfortable in your skin, you may be popping a top at midnight and jumping in the ocean to celebrate the new year.
If you are attending a party in a town like San Jose, or Liberia, ladies, you may want to bring a pair of comfortable wedges and a cute dress. Since some roads are not the best to walk in heels, wedges may be your best bet, BUT sometimes that can even be tricky. For example, you don’t want a rolled ankle on your vacation. For the men in Costa Rica, a nice pair of shorts or jeans with a nice top would do the trick. We highly suggest checking the attire requirements if you are going to a club or fancy restaurant.
Click above to email, or call us at 314-808-7232
Where To Spend New Years In Costa Rica?
There are numerous places to stay in Costa Rica on New Year, but it also depends on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a chillaxing time on the beach? Are you looking for dancing and clubs? Or are you looking forward to hiking and exploring? Let’s break down a couple of towns for you.
Celebrating New Year on the Beach
In Costa Rica, there are miles and miles of beach for you to celebrate the New Year, but here are a couple of towns we suggest as an idea for your beach adventures.
Playa Tamarindo is very much a Cancun-like feel, but if that is something you may like, then we think it is a great place to go! And here’s the thing, Tamarindo is a party destination any time of the year. Just to let you know that it can get very crowded and driving can be pretty tough. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, as you will be walking. And don’t forget to check out the Fireworks from the beach at midnight!
Santa Teresa is another option, as there are miles of beaches there. There are many hotels in Santa Teresa, but one of the most popular hotels with an incredible New Year’s Eve party is Ranchos Itauna. This hotel will throw a fantastic celebration. You will not be disappointed.
Nosara is one of the most famous surf towns in Guanacaste, but there is a lot of night light-filled with North Americans if this is your jam. Check out the local Facebook groups or Instagram hashtags for #nosara, and you will see your phone lighting up. One recommendation is Norte, as it has a beautiful pool and dancing area, and even people will dance in the shallow part of the pool.
Other spots to consider for the New Year’s Eve spot would be Los Suenos, Hermosa, and Playas del Coco.
Celebrating New Year in the City
San Jose is known for the nightclub life, and the well-known nightclub is called Vertigo. There are multiple DJs here but make sure you grab the ticket ahead of time, as it will sell out!
Another hopping place is the Wyndham San Jose-Herradura, and you can dress up (bring those heels and those party dresses, ladies) and get ready to dance the night away. Food, drinks, a photo booth, breakfast for the day after, and a pool after-party. Yep, you read that right. So, bring those heels, dress, AND swimsuits!
Another city to consider for the New Year’s Eve spot would be Liberia.
Celebrating New Years Exploring
If you don’t want to put on the dancing shoes, but lace up your hiking shoes, here are a few places we suggest.
Monteverde is all about the Cloudforest, hiking, birdwatching, and ziplining. So, if you are looking for that downtime before the start of a new year, Monteverde is the place to be. Unfortunately, there is not much around the Monteverde area regarding restaurants, but find a hotel with food there, and then start your New Year with a hike.
La Fortuna is also a great place to stay, especially if you want to do some hiking at Arenal and the surroundings. La Fortuna has many activities such as fireworks, dancing, games for kids, and more. Make sure you research before you head that way to find out what is going on during that time.
Planning Your Trip To Celebrate New Years In Costa Rica
So, I know where I will be this New Year’s Eve! Do you?
As I experienced my first New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica, I have already realized it would not be my last. Therefore, I think there are some traditions I need to partake in, such as eating 12 grapes and hanging with a local family BBQing, bonfires, dancing, and fireworks, with my shoes, kicked off and ready to enjoy the new year.
Now is the question, “What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?”
How can we help you prepare for your New Year’s Eve plans? It’s pretty simple. Go ahead and fill out the form below. Make sure you give us details on what you are looking for, whether it is you, a spouse/partner/friend or the family, or a group of you. And we will plan your Costa Rican trip with so much ease. And don’t forget to prepare that suitcase, as you will need to carry it around the block at midnight!
Jen Rulon is an avid traveler and writer for Costa Rica Escapes. She is also a triathlon coach and author. You can find her knowledge as an author and speaker ranging from Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online New York Times.
As she has retired from the triathlon space, Jen’s love of Costa Rica began. She realized that she loves the beaches, and the coffee of Costa Rica and now wants to share through the eyes of what she sees with Costa Rica Escapes. Read Jen’s stories and advice for travelers who wish to see the authentic side of Costa Rica on their vacation.