The rich culture of the region of Guanacaste has had a great influence on Costa Rica as a whole; in fact, the “Guanacasteco” form of folk dancing was made the official dance of Costa Rica. As one of Guanacaste's oldest towns, Nicoya is the natural location to hold traditional cultural festivals and gatherings such as these:

  • Dia de Guanacaste: The second-to-last week in July is devoted to celebrating Guanacaste’s annexation to Costa Rica (from Nicaragua) in 1824. Nicoya’s version of the celebration involves parades and traditional marimba and xylophone music .
  • Saint Los Angeles Day: Nicoya holds an annual festival on August 2 to honor Costa Rica’s patron saint, the Virgin of Los Angeles. Nicoya’s Barrio de Los Angeles neighborhood hosts its own festivities, but there are events occurring all over the city and the island. Usually there are religious activities and prayers but also song, music, and dance; many private homes also mark the occasion with a feast. 
  • Independence Day: September 15 is when Costa Rica and Guanacaste (at that time separate) both liberated themselves from Spanish rule. Because it’s a national holiday, Nicoya holds an all-day celebration in its central plaza.
  • Fiestas Civicas: Unique to Guanacaste, this January festival honors Costa Rican cowboys, or sabaneros. Festivities include rodeo demonstrations, horse parades, folk music and dancing.