Independence Day in Costa Rica

This year, Costa Rica is celebrating its 200th year of independence from Spain! This bicentennial celebration was a bit different from years prior…

Dolls dressed up in traditional costumes for Costa Rica independence day

First, let’s start with some history. On September 15th, 1821, all of Central America gained independence from Spain. Unlike many of their neighbors, Ticos managed to win their freedom without any revolution or bloodshed due to being such a remote province. Costa Rica actually did not find out about its independence until a whole month later! Very “Pura Vida”!

Costa Rica shares this independence date with Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This is very significant because an actual fire lit torch is run by foot from Guatemala starting Sept. 9th all the way to Cartago, Costa Rica by Sept. 14th. This tradition is celebrated every year by all 5 countries. The torch is even considered by Costa Rica as a national symbol! Check out this link to read about the national symbols of Costa Rica.

On the evening of Sept. 14th there is a traditional nighttime lantern parade or the “Desfile de Faroles” by the school children. The handmade lanterns or “faroles” are an important part of the independence celebration and a tribute to Dolores Bedoya. In 1821, Dolores Bedoya, equipped with only a lantern, spread the message that they were now independent nations. This reenactment is celebrated across the country.

Costa Rica flag decoration for independence day

September 15th is the day of the national holiday. But the celebration starts at the beginning of the month. All of September is considered the month of the nation or “mes de la patria”. The entire country covers itself with the Costa Rican flag, donning the blue, white, and red banners everywhere! The color blue represents the sky, white is for peace and wisdom, and red is for the warmth and generosity of the Costa Rican people.

This year, the festivities were a bit toned down due to Covid-19… But that didn’t stop Costa Rica from having an incredible display at the National Stadium in San Jose! 500 drones took flight and were positioned to represent figures such as the beloved sloth and traditional costumes. A tribute was paid to health workers during the pandemic and of course the national slogan was spelled out. PURA VIDA!

Although there were a lot less parades, marching bands, and fiestas, Costa Rica did it’s best to embrace its independence! The Costa Rican government moved the holiday to the 13th of September this year so families could enjoy an uninterrupted Independence Day weekend. The cultural centers in San Jose offered many virtual activities for everyone to partake in and all the concerts were broadcasted live. 

Patriotic banner used on independence day

Covid-19 may have slowed down the festivities but it didn’t stop the nation from being decorated in blue, white, and red. When you visit Costa Rica, you will see the immense pride Ticos have in their beautiful country and their heritage.

More helpful resources:

Children’s Day in Costa Rica

Children’s Day or El Día del Niño is a celebration in Costa Rica that happens every year on September 9th. This playful celebration honors all the children of Costa Rica with festivities and various activities.

School kids gathered for Children's Day in Costa Rica

El Día del Niño was established in Costa Rica in 1946. Costa Rica was actually one of the first countries to celebrate Children’s Day. In 1954, the United Nations encouraged all other countries to follow suit and observe this holiday. Although it is not a legal holiday in Costa Rica, it is celebrated across the country with laughter, parties, and plenty of sweets!

There is much more to this day than presents and parties. It is an important day because it is a time to observe and promote the welfare of children around the world. Children’s Day is essential for promoting children’s rights worldwide. Some of these rights include freedom from discrimination, entitlement to name and nationality, free and compulsory education, protection, love and affection and so much more.

Kids enjoying special projects for Children's Day

More often than not, Children’s Day in Costa Rica falls on a school day. When this happens, schools organize various activities for the children. Teachers, parents, and sponsors fill the day with games, treats, competitions, and happiness. From face painting to relay races, the children enjoy plenty of silly entertainment. It is a day the children truly look forward to.

This year, I had the wonderful opportunity to sponsor gifts for 54 kids in the small town of Artola, near Playa del Coco. The local church was hosting a celebration for them. Boys and girls from the ages of 1 to 15 years old were all looking forward to a party and a little surprise!

Children's Day ShoppingI headed to Liberia with my trusted assistant Julia, so she could help with the selection of toys for girls and we let our inner kid out as we shopped for the presents. Dolls, Legos, fire trucks, jewelry kits, soccer balls and more! We even got the kids two piñatas, one for the boys one for the girls and plenty of candy and treats to fill them both to go truly crazy!

After seeing the photos and the smiles on the kids’ faces, I couldn’t be happier.Young boy getting ready to play soccer on Children's Day in Costa Rica Seeing the kids whacking the piñata and squealing with joy when the candy spilled out believe it or not is heartwarming. This is what Children’s Day is all about in Costa Rica! Bringing happiness to the kids, most if not all living in poverty and letting them know they are loved and appreciated. It has been a hard last two years with the pandemic. The simple things and small kind actions make a big difference here to the children and families of Costa Rica.

More helpful resources:


Preparing Your House For Sale In Costa Rica

The market is HOT here in Costa Rica! This is the perfect time to put your house up for sale. Inventory is low in the Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco area. If you want your home to sell fast, now is the time. Here are some helpful tips when preparing your home for sale.

View of the Pacific from a Costa Rica luxury home

First impressions matter. When a potential buyer is coming to look at a home, the first thing they notice is the landscaping. Great landscaping is critical in Costa Rica. It can transform your property from being an overgrown jungle to a tropical oasis. It pays off to have an assortment of flowers, well kept hedges, and green grass. We are in paradise after all.

One of the most important steps in prepping your home for sale is to declutter! Remove any personal items such as family photos, various knick knacks, toys, and so on. Hide all your pool noodles and floaties. If you have pets, remember to put away their water bowls and beds. You want a buyer to come in and feel like this home is their new personal canvas. 

Next important detail is having a neutral color palette. Your dream may have been to live in a fuchsia colored home but many folks will feel otherwise. Or perhaps you decided to paint a jungle scene mural in the living room. Well, the best way to attract a buyer is to paint over any loud colors and keep it simple. 

Living in the tropics means you often find bugs near or around your home. This is something you get used to but you definitely don’t want a buyer seeing a scorpion! Make sure to fumigate your home often. It will deter all unwanted creepy crawlies from hanging around and scaring off a potential sale. 

Another key factor is having a crisp and clear bright blue pool. Essentially, you want to give the buyer the urge to jump in and enjoy! There is no bigger deterrent than a cloudy, overgrown, forgotten pool. The more enticing you make your outdoor living space, the higher the probability of a sale. The buyer needs to dream about living there. 

View of the Pacific Ocean across an infinity edge pool in Costa Rica

This may seem like common sense, but basic maintenance of your property is fundamental. There are many folks that own property in Costa Rica yet never do any basic maintenance. They end up buying a property, doing the bare minimum, and then hope to sell it for more than what they bought it for. Simple things such as keeping the gutters clean, power washing the pavers, and sealing around the windows will help your home stand out. As well as keeping the AC’s maintained, changing the lightbulbs, and making minor cosmetic repairs as needed. 

Lastly, the best way to prepare a house for sale is to pay for a home inspection. Before you even list the house, you will know exactly what to expect. There will be no surprises because you will find out about any issues the home may have. You can save a lot of money by doing an inspection ahead of time. When the time comes to close, it will happen seamlessly. 

So what are you waiting for? It is time to prep your house and sell! Please reach out to me if you have any questions. I would be happy to assist you in preparing your home for sale and will gladly do a free estimate of recommended selling price.

More helpful resources:

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Produce in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has an incredible selection of fresh and exotic vegetables and fruit to choose from. It is one of the many reasons I love living in this beautiful country. There is such a variety every time and the produce is always so enticing.

You will be pleased to find many familiar veggies when shopping for produce. Broccoli, kale, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, beets, green beans, potatoes, and more! But there are also plenty of uncommon vegetables that you usually do not see sold in the US or Canada.

Fruit and vegetable area of Luperon supermarket in Playa Hermosa

Some of these unusual veggies include chayote, taro, ayote sazon, yuca or plantains! Yuca is a great replacement for potatoes. Chayotes are so versatile that you can use them in apple pie because they take the flavor of whatever you cook with.

The moment you taste a pineapple in Costa Rica, you will be shocked. Fruits are much sweeter here and far more flavorful! Mangos, bananas, papayas, and pineapples are all grown in Costa Rica. Many of these fruits are even important exports (check out my blog about exports

The more exotic fruits include rambutans, star fruits, mangosteens, passion fruits, soursops, guavas, star apples and so much more! Only in Costa Rica will you be able to try many of these fruits. The majority cannot be exported since they are delicate or not great for transport.

Rambutan - an exotic Costa Rica fruit

Fruit and vegetable shopping in Costa Rica is exciting because the selection is always changing depending on what’s in season. Throughout the year, there are produce stands next to the road selling whatever has recently been locally harvested. The best part is, you are buying directly from local farmers!

From March – June you will see an abundance of mangos! From July – August the delicious carambola, known as star fruit, is available. July – October you will see mountains of spikey looking little red fruits called mamon chinos. Other fruits are available year round such as oranges, soursops, and passion fruits.

Many non-native fruits are becoming more attainable along with having more reasonable prices. Strawberries and blueberries are now being grown in the country. Costa Rica uses hydroponics to grow a lot of vegetable produce that normally wouldn’t be grown outdoors such as kale or lettuce.

Pineapples for sale in Luperon supermarket

If you are looking for places to buy great produce, you are in luck! Playa del Coco has a bunch of great shopping options. Los Cartagos has an incredible selection. It is a very well organized and clean indoor fruit/veggie market. Feria del Agricultor El Coco is an outdoor market with a more rustic feel and plenty of great produce options. If you are looking for a specific fruit or vegetable such as cherries or romanesco broccoli, Automercado is the one for you!

Living in Costa Rica gives you great access to beautifully fresh produce. You are able to experience so many different flavors. The amazing vegetable and fruit produce available here is definitely one of the reasons I love living in Costa Rica!

More helpful resources: