Costa Rica Christmas fiesta, rodeo and New Year’s fireworks on the beach

Rodeo arena on Samara Beach, Costa Rica
Carnival and bull riding arena. Playa Samara, Costa Rica
Delicious treats
Jack waving from the arena
Cowboys drawing their bull
The Fiesta rodeo on Playa Samara, Costa rica

Samara, Costa Rica hosts an amazing Christmas Fiesta with carnival and rodeo every year Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve.  Tico’s come from all over Guanacaste to be part of this annual celebration on the beach.

We went to opening night of the rodeo and sat high in the stands.  For 4,000 colones (about $7.50US) several hundred people filled the arena.  The Cowboys, cheered by their fans, were introduced as they pulled the name of their bull out of a hat.

8 seconds of the cowboy on the bull or less and then the real show begins!   (No offense to the talented athletes riding the Bulls intended!!) A bunch of men jump in the arena to encourage the bull back into the pen.  They never succeed and then the Cowboys ride in and lasso the bull.  These skilled horsemen where the highlight of the show.  How can they ride so fast while at the same time lasso the bull by the neck so accurately?

Outside the arena the carnival delights with bright lights, rides, a DJ and salsa dancing and lots of food and beer.  And, notable to me, somehow a banos vendor puts in flush toilets and charges 500c for their use.  Far nicer than porto-poddies…but where do they flush…?

Every night the rodeo draws crowds.  During the day the beach is the place to be.  Families, honeymooners and mostly Costa Rican’s are swimming, surfing, building sand castles and sun bathing.   This is a great vacation spot for Christmas week.

Anticipation for New Year’s Eve on the beach was high.  Many of our new friends here told us about the Bon fires and fireworks.  The local hotels and restaurants hold parties and sponsor these fireworks.  We walked along the beach like kids, holding hands and delighted with the romance of the evening.  The sky was clear, stars brilliant in the new moon sky and the beach lined with the glow of the restaurant lights.  Several bonfires were lit along the beach with young people laughing, talking and closing out 2016 In Costa Rica.

We walked home to our deck on the hill to bring in the New Year.  The fireworks started about 9pm and went on and on to midnight!  It was a magical evening for us.  Sitting on our deck was like being in a planetarium.  The stars were awe inspiring and the fireworks show was beautiful.

Happy New Year!  May 2017 bring you the desires of your heart.


The Southern Cross – from the deck


The first time I saw the Southern Cross I was 20 years old on a backpacking adventure in Maui.  Camping in the crater of the Haleakala volcano I looked to the south in the darkest night sky I’d ever experienced and there it was!  I’m no astronomy expert but I have always loved stars.  In New England and the Midwest my constellations had been (and until now still were) Orion, casiopaea and the Big Dipper.  So for me, seeing the Southern Cross was otherworldly.  I was in awe.

Flash forward 30+ years to our Costa Rican adventure.  I have been here 4 times.  Each time hoping to see this south-of-the-equator constellation.  I was never able to see it.  I had been thwarted by timing, clouds and business each visit so far.  Well, for no apparent reason I woke up this morning even before the Howler Monkeys and before the dawn broke, went out on the deck with my delicious coffee and there it was!  The southern cross…it felt like a special gift to start my day.  I hope you have a day that starts with such a gift this week!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  Mathew 5:16  (from my readings this morning)

Now every morning here I will see the Southern Cross off my deck and be reminded…  🙂