Switch Things Up: Plan a Family Gathering Christmas in Costa Rica

Last updated on February 14th, 2024 at 12:07 pm

Spending time with family is so important, especially around the holidays. Taking the time to connect with loved ones is of utmost importance during the Christmas season. However, the chaos of everyday life often hinders us from cherishing quality time with family. The holidays are a perfect opportunity to step back from the daily obligations of laundry, cooking, cleaning, and work, and prioritize the people who matter most. From Christmas Eve to the entire Christmas season, a festive vacation in Costa Rica is an ideal way to reunite with family and create unforgettable memories.

This holiday season, make a meaningful change by planning a family vacation Christmas in Costa Rica, one of the most breathtaking destinations on earth – Costa Rica! Embrace the magic of a Costa Rica Christmas and create everlasting memories with your loved ones. From Christmas eve to Christmas Day, take part in the local Christmas traditions and indulge in a variety of festive activities. Experience the joy of celebrating Christmas in paradise, explore beautiful beaches and lush rainforests, and celebrate New Year’s Eve in style. Spend your Christmas time in Costa Rica and revel in the warmth and hospitality of the locals as you celebrate Christmas like never before!

Costa Rica is an exceptional location for multi-family vacations, especially during the Christmas season. While some may not consider it a traditional Christmas destination, the experience can be more rewarding than ever before. Costa Rica offers a tropical oasis to unwind, disconnect from technology, and create cherished memories with your loved ones. Immerse yourself in Costa Rican tradition and celebrate Christmas in a new and exciting way. From celebrating with the locals to indulging in traditional cuisine, Costa Rica is the perfect destination to spend the Christmas season, making it an ideal choice for an unforgettable Christmas vacation with your family.

This guide will explore the many reasons Costa Rica is quickly becoming the #1 destination for family gatherings, plus tips for planning your Christmas in Costa Rica and fun family reunion ideas that will help you make the most of your vacation. 

We’ll also discover festive Costa Rica Christmas customs to get you and your family in the holiday spirit this season, so you can share priceless memories in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Costa Rica: Endless Options for Families

Costa Rica has endless options for families. Imagine the wonder of visiting Costa Rica and enjoying a trip filled with breathtaking tours, adrenaline-fueled excursions, and endless family togetherness. Each member of the family including kids, teenagers, and adults, will love the endless possibilities to have a great time in this captivating destination. Experience the true essence of family togetherness with a trip to Costa Rica, where adventure and relaxation unite in perfect harmony, making it the ultimate family-friendly vacation spot.

Costa Rica offers an abundance of accommodation options suitable for families. From luxurious resorts to cozy vacation homes, there’s something for every family’s preferences and budget. With an emphasis on eco-friendliness, many of the resorts in Costa Rica offer a unique blend of sustainable living and modern luxury. They feature state-of-the-art amenities, including infinity-edge swimming pools, restaurants, and entertainment centers, ensuring that everyone in the family has a memorable vacation. Whether you prefer a beachfront location or a mountain retreat, Costa Rica’s variety of accommodations cater to every family’s idea of their dream vacation.

One of the best of Costa Rica’s exciting offerings is Vista Hermosa, home to one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after luxury beach villa rentals. This private beachfront villa is fully staffed so you won’t have to lift a finger and showcases the best panoramic ocean view in Manuel Antonio.

Discovering All That Costa Rica Has to Offer 

Costa Rica has been known as the happiest country in the world, and for good reason. The landscape, climate, cuisine, and beautiful shorelines all have an impact why Costa Ricans are such a happy culture. Visitors will feel this “Pura Vida” effect upon arrival.

With so many wonderful accommodations available, Costa Rica offers an ideal vacation escape for families during the holidays, in particular, the Christmas season. Additionally, there are countless reasons for families to spend their holidays in Costa Rica. You can explore and indulge in the local Christmas traditions, such as learning how to decorate a Christmas tree the Costa Rican way, celebrating Christmas Eve, and enjoying the festivities in downtown San Jose. Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas in Costa Rica and experience the joy of the holiday season with the locals.

A few reasons families flock to Costa Rica during the holidays for a satisfying vacation escape, whether you are looking to relax or want to spend your holidays being active, include:

Gorgeous Year-Round Weather

The December weather generally ranges between 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect temperature to enjoy the many outdoor activities Costa Rica has to offer, such as swimming, hiking, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, zip lining through the jungle. Not many places offer this near-perfect climate during the winter months, making Costa Rica a wonderful choice when looking for a holiday destination for your family reunion.

Lush Scenery and a Wide Variety of Activities

Costa Rica is home to many biodiverse ecological marvels, including rainforests, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, volcanos, wildlife reserves, and some of the most breathtaking national parks in the world. National parks combined with these natural attractions offer a wide variety of activities for your family to enjoy, including hiking, surfing, snorkeling, and more. 

Luxury Accommodations

Costa Rica’s luxurious accommodations are some of the finest in South and Central America, perfect for couples, small groups, or large families. From 5-star hotels to luxury villas, Costa Rica offers an array of breathtaking accommodations that will exceed all your expectations.

The year-round perks of this tropical paradise are reason enough to plan a visit, but Costa Rica’s unique Christmas culture makes it an unforgettable destination. Celebrate the holidays with a Costa Rican twist and immerse yourself in the festivities of the season. With countless of stunning locations in Costa Rica for travel, you’ll fall in love with this destination that offers the perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural celebration. 

Enjoy These Costa Rica Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Costa Rica is an ideal way to embrace the Christmas vibe while enjoying a truly relaxing tropical vacation. Not only is it a great opportunity to spend your Christmas holiday with your family in a different country, but it also provides a unique cultural experience of exposing your family to Christmas in another country. From mid-December to late December, Costa Ricans participate in a wide variety of rich Christmas traditions that are sure to captivate and invigorate the holiday mood in your family. Immerse yourself in the essence of Christmas in Costa Rica with family members, and discover the joy of celebrating rich Christmas traditions as the locals do.

The epicenter for most Christmas activities is in San José. San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, located in the heart of the country’s Central Valley. It is a bustling and vibrant metropolis, with a rich history and culture, as well as a thriving arts and culinary scene. San José is also home to many beautiful parks and historic landmarks, as well as modern shopping centers and a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

1. Midnight Mass

It’s quite common for many Costa Ricans to attend midnight mass, or Misa de Gallo (Spanish for Rooster’s Mass, named for the early hours crowing of roosters), on Christmas Eve to celebrate the coming holiday. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the coming of the holiday with friends and family. Many Catholic nations share this tradition, which involves attending midnight mass to honor the birth of Jesus.

It’s a vibrant time, filled with music, prayer, and festive celebration. The parade of lights, Festival de la Luz, which takes place in San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, is also a highlight of the Christmas season. This event brings communities together to share in the holiday spirit with music, dancing, and bright displays of lights. Spend your Christmas in Costa Rica and experience the exuberance of the country’s cultural celebrations.

2. Christmas Eve Dinner

In Costa Rica, the evening before Christmas is commonly known as “Noche Buena,” and it’s a significant celebration for Costa Ricans. It’s a time for families to gather and feast on traditional dishes including roast pork with all the fixings, tres leches, and rum punch.

The celebration also includes music, dancing, and fireworks. Costa Rican families decorate their homes with lights, ornaments, and a Christmas tree, and many also display a nativity scene. The celebration of Christmas in Costa Rica is not complete without Misa de Gallo, or the midnight mass, where Costa Ricans gather to greet Baby Jesus. The Nativity scene is also an important symbol of the holiday, and it usually includes the Wise Men arriving on January 6th to greet the baby Jesus.

In addition to Noche Buena, there is also the national horse parade or “El Tope Nacional” in mid-December, where horse riders from all over the country gather in downtown San Jose to display their best horses, decorated with traditional Costa Rican accessories like corn flour, banana leaves, and hand-painted oxcarts. This event is a great opportunity to experience traditional food, like “pierna de cerdo,” and “tamales navideños” (Christmas tamales), made with pork, rice, and vegetables, and wrapped in plantain leaves. These traditional foods are also served on Christmas day when Costa Ricans celebrate with their family and exchange gifts. Feliz Navidad is a common greeting, and Santa Claus is often called “San Nicolás.” In Costa Rica, the Christmas season is a vibrant time full of celebrations and parties, and it’s a big part of the country’s culture and traditions.

3. Leaving Shoes out for Niño Dios

Children in the U.S. leave milk and cookies out for Santa. The children in Costa Rica, though, leave their shoes out for Niño Dios, and on Christmas morning, the children awake to presents under the tree from Niño Dios. 

In the United States, it’s a common tradition for children to leave milk and cookies out for Santa. However, in Costa Rica, children leave their shoes out for Niño Dios on Christmas Eve. When they wake up on Christmas morning, they find their shoes filled with presents under the Christmas tree, often decorated with traditional figurines such as the nativity scene. This cultural tradition highlights the importance of Baby Jesus in the Christmas celebration for many Costa Ricans, and it is an integral part of Costa Rica’s unique holiday season.

4. Parades, Street Fairs, and Dance Festivals

Experience the magic of Christmas in Costa Rica with a month-long celebration of parades, street fairs, and dance festivals that will keep your spirits high throughout the holiday season. From colorful lights to stunning decorations, Costa Rica knows how to put on a show, complete with vibrant music that will get you dancing all night long.

As a Christmas day tradition in Costa Rica, Costa Rican families create beautiful nativity scenes, or “portals,” that depict the birth of baby Jesus. The country also celebrates Christmas Day with a variety of other Costa Rican desserts, like tamales and rice pudding, that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

If you’re looking to spend Christmas in Costa Rica, there’s no better time than mid-December. This is when the streets of San José come alive with holiday cheer, as families and friends gather for the annual Christmas party kicks. Children play with little toys, while adults enjoy the food, live music, and festivities.

As you make your way through the second week of December, you’ll see the lights and decorations that fill the streets of Costa Rica. Be sure to bring some colones because after you smell the scent of roasted pork, pata de cerdo, filling the air, and the sweet, creamy taste of eggnog, it will be hard not to buy and sample some.

Whether you’re looking for gifts for the kids, view a Costa Rican nativity scene, or just hoping to spread some Christmas cheer, the holiday season in Costa Rica is full of hope, joy, and love. The country celebrates Christmas in a big way, with plenty of events and traditions that will keep you entertained for weeks on end. So come and celebrate Christmas in Costa Rica with your loved ones.

5. Christmas Parties - Costa Rican Style

Another Christmas tradition is Christmas parties which are an essential part of the Costa Rican holiday celebrations. The gatherings are usually held in homes, community centers, or restaurants where families, friends, and neighbors come together to share the festive spirit. The traditional Christmas decorations such as the Christmas tree and the nativity scene are always a focal point, and the party is often decorated with colorful lights, garlands, and other ornaments.

The Christmas party is a time to enjoy traditional Costa Rican food and desserts, which include roast pork, tamales, pata de cerdo, and other Costa Rican delicacies made with corn flour and wrapped in banana leaves. Costa Rican desserts like Christmas cake and other local favorites are also served to sweeten the occasion. Of course, no party is complete without a drink, and eggnog and spiked punch are some of the popular choices.

Live music is a significant feature of the Christmas celebration, and many Costa Ricans love to dance to the rhythm of the marimba, guitar, and other musical instruments. It’s a time to let loose, have fun, and make lasting memories. Little toys are often given to children to play with, adding to the festive ambiance. It’s also an occasion to exchange gifts, greet each other with “Feliz Navidad” and “Merry Christmas,” and spend time with loved ones.

New Year’s Eve is also an essential part of the holiday celebrations, and many Costa Ricans spend the evening attending parties or watching the national horse parade, “El Tope Nacional.” On the stroke of midnight, fireworks light up the sky as people welcome the new year with hope and joy.

The Costa Rican Christmas party is a culturally significant tradition, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate the holiday season in a vibrant and joyous way. The festivities are marked by food, drink, music, and most importantly, spending time with loved ones. It’s a time to cherish family time, make memories, have fun, and wish each other a happy and prosperous new year.

6. Festival de la Luz in San Jose

The Festival de la Luz is an annual Christmas celebration that brings to life the holiday spirit in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city. The festival is a stunning display of colorful floats, adorned with twinkling lights, alongside marching bands, dancers, and other performers. This festival, drawing crowds of thousands of Costa Ricans and visitors alike, takes place in downtown San Jose, and is the perfect opportunity to marvel at the displays, including Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, and even Santa Claus himself.

With a cheerful Feliz Navidad and Christmas tradition embodied throughout the city, the Festival de la Luz is a beloved tradition for Costa Rican citizens. The festival highlights the country’s vibrant culture and is a perfect way to kick off the Christmas season, leading up to Christmas Day and the famous horse parade featuring the Three Wise Men. Experience the magic of Christmas in Costa Rica with this delightful festival that embodies the essence of the season.

Book a Luxury Villa for Your Family Christmas in Costa Rica

For some families, traveling around the holidays can seem daunting, and the idea of arriving at a hotel on Christmas Eve for a Christmas vacation is less than ideal, but Costa Rica is home to some of the most luxurious private villa rentals in Central America, providing your family with first-class amenities plus the comforts of home. In Costa Rica, you can enjoy sprawling and spacious villa rentals that feel like home, with the world-class service of a five-star hotel, so you can experience the best of both worlds. Here are just a few of the luxurious amenities and services offered at a typical luxury Costa Rica villa rental: 

  • Infinity Pools
  • Personal Concierge
  • Private Chefs 
  • Fulltime Maids
  • Ocean Views
  • Beach Access

Booking a luxury villa for your Costa Rica family gathering is the best way to enjoy each other company while taking a much-needed break from the chores of everyday life. Also, a perfect vacation to celebrate milestone birthdays.

Plan Your Next Christmas Family Reunion Today

You’ve discovered the perfect destination for a Costa Rica Christmas family gathering. Now all that’s left to do is find the perfect accommodations for your Christmas in Costa Rica. The answer is simple: Vista Hermosa Estate

Vista Hermosa Estate is a Costa Rican all-inclusive resort offering world-class amenities in the heart of paradise. Contact us today to learn more about this magnificent family vacation villa, check availability, and book your family’s stay. We can’t wait to become part of your holiday memories!


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