This holiday season, get away to paradise and indulge in one of the best things to do in Costa Rica with family and friends: Escape for a tropical holiday while you embrace the new and old traditions of another culture. Complete your luxury holiday experience and reserve one of our Costa Rica all-inclusive private villas.
Because there’s a certain charm to a holiday in Costa Rica: Surrounded by loved ones, amidst your favorite festivities, and forging new traditions under the radiant sun, you can do everything from completely escaping the holiday season to fully embracing a Costa Rican Christmas-to-New Year’s week. The choice is yours!
That said, whether you’re envisioning a Chanukah / Christmas / Kwanzaa celebration, contemplating a tropical escape on New Year’s Eve, or planning to escape the season entirely – and trust us, you’ll be in good company – the time to start planning is now—yes, today. Right now! There’s not much time left and it’s the busiest season of the year. And in the meantime…
Where to Stay
The holidays book up very quickly in Costa Rica – often, months or even years in advance of the season. Luckily, some of our newer Costa Rica all-inclusive private villas and vacation homes still have last-minute availability in late December to early January. Book soon because these are rare finds!
Playa Langosta | 8 Beds | 6 Baths | 18 Guests
When you want the privacy and exclusivity of luxury villa with the amenities of a private boutique hotel, Villa Estrella Azul answers with an eight-bedroom, expansive villa just a two-minute walk to the beach. And not just any beach, but Tamarindo’s most stunning stretch of pristine sands and lapping surf…
This incredible home welcomes you to total pampered luxury – to an oasis of white-and-blue décor that immediately puts you in a beach state of mind. To open design, indoor-outdoor living, and entertainment spaces that welcome gathering and celebration. To a gourmet, chef’s-ready kitchen, gas grill, and a brick pizza oven by the pool.
To an abundance of windows blend indoors and out, inviting you to wander out to the custom infinity pool and then in, to the spectacular dining table, out to the open-air yoga pavilion and terrace and then, in (and up) to the rooftop terrace and sun porch. And then, there are the breezy balconies with sleeping pergolas, designed for evenings under the stars… Because here, at the “Blue Star” Villa, not even the sky’s the limit.
Tamarindo | 14 Beds | 12 Baths | 28 Guests
Embark on a captivating journey as Compass House and Casa Leo Loco seamlessly converge, creating one of our most sought Costa Rica all-inclusive private villas (Elite Service level) and redefining the essence of opulent celebrations. At the heart of this extraordinary union lies the captivating spectacle of ocean views, treating you to daily masterpieces of expansive blue horizons and awe-inspiring sunsets.
Compass House emanates an exquisite harmony between untamed jungle allure and untouched luxury. Nestled in nature’s embrace, it stands as a sanctuary of tranquility and repose. Picture yourself watching the sunset from your private infinity pool, where the sky and water blend into a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of hues. For surfing enthusiasts, the tempting waves beckon just a stone’s throw away, ensuring an ever-present allure.
In stark contrast, Casa Leo Loco extends a warm invitation with its majestic, three-tiered tower, evoking a fairy tale brought to life. Its panoramic vistas are nothing short of breathtaking, especially as the sun gracefully descends over your private infinity pool, painting the horizon in vibrant shades of gold and rose.
It’s no surprise that the combined splendor of Compass House and Casa Leo Loco, where nature’s allure intertwines seamlessly with luxury, creates a holiday retreat promising both awe and rejuvenation.
Dominical | 4 Beds | 5.5 Baths | 8 Guests
Where the majesty of the ocean meets an opulent infinity pool, an exclusive fitness sanctuary, and gastronomic wonders, Villa Sueno emerges as the tranquil embodiment of your Costa Rican dreams (sueños). It’s an enthralling vista that spans the shimmering coastline and vast Pacific, offering 180º panoramic views. Welcome to a dream turned reality. Welcome to bliss!
In Spanish, the term sueño aptly doubles as “sleep,” capturing the profound, contented rest you’ll relish, knowing your every dawn will break in such a paradise. A paradise where vistas lure your gaze out toward the Pacific, where the infinity pool offers uninterrupted sights of the dense jungle and the expansive sea beyond. Dive into these refreshing waters, immerse in the verdant forest backdrop, and get lost in the cerulean ocean depths. The sheer contentment and serenity you’ll find here are, indeed, indescribable.
In this haven, where serenity dances to nature’s cadence, you will resonate with the very soul of Costa Rica and, even more profoundly, with your own. Immerse yourself in the dream – the sueño – that is Villa Sueno.
Costa Rican Holiday Traditions
The beauty of Costa Rica’s holiday traditions is that many of them are secular: More cultural than religious, they are deeply rooted in customs that reach back through the decades, long filling the season with light and joy and celebration.
So, whether you’re here to embrace the holiday or avoid it, you can enjoy some of the tastiest and sparkliest traditions of the season.
Taste a Tamal
True or False: The fastest road to bliss is through the stomach.
We think so! And if you’re nodding along (or perhaps salivating a bit), then you’re in for a treat with Costa Rica’s delectable holiday tradition: tamales! Gift-wrapped in plantain leaves, Costa Rica’s spin on the renowned tamal features seasoned corn flour, a medley of veggies, and a generous serving of pulled pork – all tied together with a festive bow! During this time of the year, these delights can be found almost everywhere. For an insider’s tip, try asking a local, “¿dónde se encuentra el mejor tamal?” (Where can I find the best tamale?)
Sip on Rompope (Costa Rican Eggnog)
Do you know what pairs perfectly with your tamale? A tall glass of rompope, Costa Rica’s beloved rendition of eggnog.
Slightly lighter and less eggy than its U.S. counterpart, rompope is equally delicious – and usually packs a punch, boasting at least 4% alcohol (more, if you opt for a homemade version). You can grab a shelf-stable Tetrabrick rompope from any supermarket or, for the adventurous holiday drinker, explore artisanal bottles available at local vendors.
View the Festival of Lights
It only happens once a year, so timing is key! In Costa Rica, the holiday season doesn’t truly kick off until the Festival de la Luz, or the Festival of Lights.
Taking place a few weeks before the holidays (this year: December 16, 2023!), Costa Rica’s grand holiday parade showcases elaborate costumes, themed floats, and millions of twinkling lights. While the parade graces the streets of San José, you can catch the spectacle from anywhere in the country, via local broadcast TV!
Plan a Costa Rican Traditional Christmas Feast
Yes, we’ve circled back to food – because in Costa Rica, the holiday season is inseparable from delightful feasts.
Traditionally, the centerpiece of a Costa Rican Christmas dinner is a succulent piece of pierna de cerdo asada: roasted pork, cooked to absolute melt-in-your-mouth perfection. If you prefer a homemade touch, ask our concierge (included with all our Costa Rica all-inclusive private villas) to arrange for a private chef or meal prep service. Alternatively, for those who’d dine out, pierna de cerdo is readily available in many typical restaurants during this festive season.
Take a Ride
For a holiday thrill in Costa Rica, know that the country often celebrates with seasonal turnos, similar to county fairs.
While the renowned “big rides” are usually found in Zapote, a district of San José, keep your eyes peeled for local town parks transformed into holiday fairs. From bumper cars to bouncy houses, these mobile fairs offer a diverse range of amusements. So, whether you enjoy the larger attractions or opt for smaller delights (like churros!), there’s fun for everyone.
Delight in Twinkle Lights
If you’re in town early in the month, attend a town Christmas tree illumination. Costa Ricans gather around massive public trees for this festive occasion, which is often accompanied by fireworks.
If you’re celebrating the holidays later in the season, take a leisurely walk around; depending on where you’re staying, you’re likely to encounter homes, hotels, and businesses adorned with enchanting holiday lights, adding a tropical sparkle to your Christmas joy.
Buy a Lottery Ticket
Feeling lucky? In Costa Rica, the grand annual jackpot, known as “el Gordo” (the Big One), is drawn just before Christmas (this year: December 17, 2023). Purchasing a Gordoticket is believed to bring luck (if not riches) in the new year.
And even if luck doesn’t smile upon you, rest assured that Costa Rica’s lottery system directly funds social programs throughout the year. It’s a win-win. So, happy holidays from our LVCR family to yours!
Ring in the Año Nuevo (New Year)
Between December 25 and January 1, Costa Rica kicks into full holiday mode. While Christmas is more traditionally a family holiday, the week following is often seen as a time for visiting the beach, enjoying time off with friends, and ringing the new year in with style.
Light the Barbecue
Nothing embodies the Costa Rican spirit quite like a sizzling barbecue feast on New Year’s Eve. Be it the aromatic traditional coffee wood, the smoky allure of charcoal, or whatever fuel is at hand, Costa Rican families and friends unite around the flame, armed with their favorite grilling delights – sausages/chorizo, chicken, beef, veggies, hotdogs, hamburgers, corn tortillas, and more – to roast and toast to the approaching year.
Please ask us about our Costa Rica all-inclusive private villas and luxury homes with grills and barbecues!
Costa Rica ushers in New Year’s Eve with two distinct approaches – and both are entirely acceptable and enjoyable. Here, the holiday is synonymous with fun, so feel free to choose your preferred style!
The newest way to celebrate New Year’s Eve is with a lively party, customized to whatever you love most. For many Costa Ricans, this means a larger, more festive version of the traditional gathering – amplified with an abundance of music, ice-cold beers, and (legal) fireworks.
You can also avail yourself of New Year’s Eve parties, which are very popular here at the beach. While once rare, they are now more accessible, so if you’re keen on going out for NYE, there’s always a venue and a way. (Feel free to ask us; we’re awaiting the announcement of all local events!)
Watch the Fireworks
Fireworks play a central role in Costa Rica’s New Year’s Eve revelry, and if you ask us, it’s a spectacle to behold!
Traditionally, Costa Ricans purchased their own fireworks – the smaller, safer (arguably), do-it-yourself variety available at roadside stands and ignited in backyard celebrations. Today, these fireworks remain highly popular – although less so than before – and have evolved in complexity; some backyards showcase impressive professional displays!
For an absolute guarantee of a breathtaking fireworks show, many commercial establishments and public spaces organize their own displays. And here at the beach, some of the finest shows take place right on the beach. Stake out a spot before midnight, sink your toes into the sand, and marvel as fire dancers come to life and fireworks illuminate the sky. It’s magical!
Adopt a New Tradition
Latin America, including Costa Rica, boasts numerous New Year’s customs and traditions, each laden with hopes for luck, happiness, financial prosperity, and joy in the coming year. Here are a few cherished favorites:
- 12 Grapes: Some Costa Ricans indulge in 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, symbolizing 12 wishes and prosperity for each month of the upcoming year. Grapes, often imported and considered a holiday delicacy, add a sweet touch to the celebration.
- Santa Lucía Flower: Many Costa Ricans tuck a Santa Lucía flower (often dried) into their wallets on January 1 – a talisman believed to bring financial success throughout the year.
- Coordinate Your Underwear: Surprisingly, an old wives’ tale in Costa Rica links the color of your underwear on NYE to the fortunes of the new year. Opt for red to kindle romance, choose green for financial success, and don yellow for an infusion of overall good luck!
- Grab Your Suitcase: Craving new adventures in the coming year? Grab your empty suitcase and take it for a walk around the block (or thereabouts) to ensure a year filled with exciting travels.
And there you have it – you’re now primed to say ¡Feliz año nuevo!, pronounced (more or less) like feh-leez ahn-yo new-ay-voh, it translates to “Happy New Year!” If writing it down, be sure to include the ñ in año, as omitting it could result in a somewhat cheeky (albeit humorous) phrase!
Plan a Perfect Holiday Escape & Peruse More Costa Rica All-Inclusive Private Villas?
For a country smaller than West Virginia, Costa Rica is vast and our holiday options are many.
So really, it begins with you: How do you define luxury? What are you most looking forward to? What’s important to you in your accommodations? What do you want to see and do while here? And where do you want to go?
At LVCR, we have two specialties: Planning the best things to do in Costa Rica with family and you. Yes, you. Because a great vacation is rooted in heart – in what you and your group hope to get out of your travels. So please, tell us why you’ve chosen Costa Rica and what you dream for your holiday travel. If you don’t know exactly where you want to go, even if you haven’t whittled down your wish list, we can help. We love to help.