Every September, Costa Rica commemorates its independence from Spain, with all sorts and types of celebrations, including lively festivals, parades, traditional music, dances, delicious typical foods and more. The atmosphere is very positive, and the feeling of camaraderie that emanates is a contagious and pleasant one for all to enjoy.


Costa Rica’s independence was recognized on the 15th of September, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence, when the Guatemalan authorities declared independence for all of Central America, and bloodshed was thus avoided in this peaceful transition.
It is interesting to note that almost a month passed before news of the independence from Spain reached the people of Costa Rica.

Following the independence, the first constitution was drafted and accepted, and elections were held in December. Juan Mora Fernandez was elected Chief of State, and he is credited for much of the early industrial and commercial development of this nation which is tied to the need to for a means to export coffee to Europe and other countries.

Another interesting fact is that the capital which was originally in Cartago was moved to San Jose in 1824.
Also, it is important to mention that while civil wars raged among the factions of the provinces of the Federal Republic of Central America, Costa Rica remained mostly at peace, reflecting the innate peaceful and friendly spirit of the people of Costa Rica, which remains strong today.

Costa Rica, like many other nations in Central America, first joined the short-lived First Mexican Empire of Augstin de Iturbide, but after its collapse in 1823, Costa Rica became instead a province of the new Federal Republic of Central America, which existed in theory from 1823 to 1839, but which exercised a very loose authority or its constituent provinces. In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica opted to formerly withdraw and proclaim itself a sovereign nation.


Independence Day for Costa Rica has been declared an official national holiday. To that end, every September it is celebrated with all types and forms of patriotic parades, singing, dancing, and delicious foods typical of the region.

Festivities begin on the 14th of September, with the reenactment of the notification of Costa Rica’s independence from Spain vies a vies the carrying of a ‘freedom torch’. Then, at precisely 6:00 pm CST, the national television networks and radio stations broadcast Costa Rica’s National Anthem, as the entire country joins in and sings along, reinforcing the sense of unity, and patriotism that is evident. Following the anthem, the popular ‘faroles’ parade begins, consisting of homemade lanterns symbolizing the original freedom torch. Children in traditional costumes perform typical dances and then a dazzling fireworks display begins.

On the 15th of September, another very important parade takes place. School bands march along with children wearing traditional dresses, dancing to the beat of drums and lyres. During the vibrant and colorful processions, Costa Ricans, both young and old, sit on sidewalks and revel in the parade in a peaceful, friendly and highly family oriented environment.

There is a vast array of delicious food for sale in the stands along the roads, such as arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), fried yucca (a very savory potato like vegetable), fried plantains, rice pudding, coconut flan, and tres leches (a delicious cake composed of three types of milk).
Independence Day activities at many commercial centers and other communal places are also very popular as well as free to the public. These activities are in the form of folkloric spectacles, typical dancing, engaging music reflecting the positive mood and traditions of the nation, and more.

The month of September is thus a very unique and interesting time to come and visit Costa Rica. And the atmosphere is very positive, as the people celebrate their independence and sense of unity. Not to mention all the unforgettable activities and flavorful foods that are an important a part of this celebration.


Feel free to contact us at www.costaricaguides.com, or toll free at 877. 281.8515, useful information to help you learn more about Costa Rica, and assist you in planning your trip to Costa Rica, such as recommending hotels, tours, transportation, not to mention the special offers for the month of September.