The winter cold and snow may be ready to take over the north, but in our southern tropical paradise, the summer sizzle is just getting started.
With an ever-growing array of unique things to do in Costa Rica, a host of exciting summer festivals, and the year’s best Tamarindo beach surf, your summer travel plans are as bright, sunny, and balmy as can be.
Ready to know all about our sizzling summer plan for 2024?
Here are all the fantastic adventures Costa Rica has in store.
Best 2024 Summer Events in Costa Rica
The 2024 summer events festival calendar in Costa Rica is gearing up to be the best yet.
Zapote Festival, San Jose – last week in December, 2023
One of our favorite ways to farewell the old year is by enjoying the shenanigans of the Zapote Festival in the capital, San Jose. The festival features fun amusement rides, vibrant concerts, delicious local food, and a bull run in the streets. The festival offers enticements for young and old alike.
If you’re flying into San Jose at the beginning of December and planning to hit the Tamarindo beach surf, spending a night in San Jose to take in the festivities is worth it.
Envision Festival, Uvita – March 4 – 11, 2024
Swiftly rising to become one of the most anticipated summer festivals in Costa Rica, Uvita’s Envision Festival brings together a world of music and alternative wellness activities. Combining tunes with education, art, and craft, Envision is a weeklong alternative living experience that brings together everyone dreaming of a deep connection with community and nature. Enjoy immersive workshops, yoga classes, spiritual ceremonies, and musical concerts.
Puntarenas Carnival – Last week of February
Featuring a host of local dance groups (comparsas), elaborate floats, stilt-walking performers, homegrown musical ensembles, and an array of engaging activities, the Puntarenas Carnival (almost) gives Rio a run for its carnival money.
From fishing and sports competitions to lively concerts, a grand horseback riding parade, dazzling fireworks, and the crowning of the carnival ‘queen’ (reina), there’s a wealth of entertainment to savor during this lively, colorful event.
National Boyero Day, Escazu – Second Sunday in March
The ox-pulled cart is one of Costa Rica’s most iconic symbols, and one of the country’s last summer events is all about celebrating it wholeheartedly. These hand-painted, elaborately decorated traditional carts reinforce Costa Rican culture, as they symbolize the work done by farmers and coffee pickers.
Escazu’s carts and oxen parade in a long and joyous caravan from downtown to the Church of San Antonio. Enjoy masquerade dances, music, food, and daily fireworks. The town is just a few miles from San Jose, so your itinerary can easily include a visit.
If you’re heading to Costa Rica for a summer surf camp, you’ll be happy to know that the very best summer events in Costa Rica are famously held in and around Tamarindo, on the coast of Guanacaste.
The country’s most pumping surfing hub is transformed by a bevy of fabulous festivals, concerts, and events throughout the summer.
Here are our fave local events:
Tama Fest, Tamarindo Beach – December 25, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
The Tama Festival injects some serious Christmas cheer on Tamarindo Beach and is one of the best reasons to book a surf camp for the end of the year. Aside from the ‘usual’ wicked surf and epic sunsets, you’ll enjoy a weeklong festival that fuses an eclectic mix of music with fantastic gastronomy and epic rides and rodeos. Culminating in a New Year’s Eve party that is always unforgettable, Tamarindo’s December festival is the highlight of the Costa Rican summer calendar.
Ocaso Underground Music Festival, Tamarindo Beach – January 4- 8, 2024
The Ocaso Festival attracts thousands of electronic music fans and hundreds of DJs from all over the world every year. With a particular focus on local Latin American talent, the festival is an exceptional way to kick off the new year in style.
The 2024 concerts will be held in three venues in Guanacaste, two of which are in Tamarindo: The Crazy Monkey Bar and The Alley (Tamarindo) and the Bohemian Lagarto on Playa Lagarto. Don’t forget to stick around for the communal beach clean-up day on January 8.
BPM Festival, Tamarindo Beach – January 24 – 29, 2024
The BPM Festival is an international multi-day music event held in some of the most prestigious summer destinations all over the world. In the northern summer, it’s held in Mykonos and Ibiza; in the southern summer, it rocks the shores of Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica.
Bringing together some of the world’s most famous artists, musicians, and DJs, BPM is considered among the world’s best dance and culture festival events.
Tamarindo International Surf Film Festival, Tamarindo Beach – March 15-16, 2024
In only its second year of operation, the Tamarindo International Surf Film Festival is one of summer’s most highly anticipated events. The surfing community lapped up the events last year, with surfing film screenings from every corner of the globe entertaining the crowds for two nights.
Enjoy the company of like-minded surfers during two nights of food, surfing film screenings, and late-night DJ parties.
Unique Things to Do in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is renowned for offering an enticing array of unique outdoor activities in summer, all set within some of the world’s most pristine wilderness.
Combining adrenalin thrills with nature is what Costa Rica does best, and if you love being active on vacation, you’ll find our dreamy shores to be your kind of paradise.
For the ultimate thrills and spills, here are our recommendations for the best summer activities in Costa Rica.
Soak in natural mineral hot springs, Arenal
Costa Rica’s most active volcano region is home to the country’s world-famous mineral hot springs. Enjoy a dreamy, soothing escape in Arenal when all the thrills get too much. Here, you’ll find hot springs resorts offering day passes for anyone wishing to relax and a therapeutic soak.
Wildlife spotting tour in Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s smallest national parks. Yet, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in wildlife concentration. Set along a verdant stretch of the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is a veritable wildlife haven, home to capuchin monkeys, sloths, coatis, iguanas, and so much more. You can hike the park’s many trails and swim under its glistening waterfalls. If you’re looking for that one wildlife-spotting destination guaranteed to deliver, set your sights on Manuel Antonio.
Scuba diving in the Caño Island Marine Reserve
One of the most unique things to do in Costa Rica, and the one activity that attracts SCUBA lovers the world over, is diving the marine-life enriched waters off the coast of Caño Island. Caño, a remote and uninhabited island about 30 miles off Uvita Beach, is a unique destination. It is only accessible to intermediate and experienced divers on live-aboard day trips and multi-day expeditions. For your troubles, you’ll be rewarded with pristine coral reefs and a mesmerizing abundance of marine life, including manta rays, sharks, whales, dolphins, and a menagerie of colorful tropical fish.
Ps. Don’t have enough time to include a trip to Caño Island? Never fear, you can enjoy a stellar Snorkeling Tour off Catalina Islands nearby Tamarindo. The volcanic isles are revered for their enriched waters, attracting an abundance of outstanding marine life. Because this is Costa Rica, after all, and you never need travel far to soak up the magic!
White water rafting on the Tenorio River
Costa Rica is one of the world’s most famous rafting destinations, and the Tenorio River is one of its most popular white-water hotspots.
What makes this spot unique are the Class III and IV rapids and the fact that the river meanders along a stretch of primary rainforest. While rafting, you’re surrounded by luscious tropical landscapes and will have the chance to spot monkeys, sloths, and toucans. This unique activity is not just about adrenaline – it’s a chance to connect with nature in its purest form.
Iguana’s one-day Whitewater Rafting Tour is the best way to inject some adrenalin-filled fun into your stay.
Canopy tour with thrilling zipline
Did you know that ziplining was invented in Costa Rica? It’s true! What is nowadays a thrilling sport was once used as a method of transport for scientists and biologists who wanted to reach Costa Rica’s remotest wilderness.
Today, canopy tours with ziplining are one of the unique things to do in Costa Rica.
Combine the thrill of ziplining with the enchanting beauty of the country’s forests, renowned for their lush biodiversity. Soar through treetops on zip lines and soak up panoramic views of the verdant landscape, where orchids, ferns, and wildlife thrive.
Learn all about our Zip-lining Canopy Tour
See nesting turtles on Playa Minas
Playa Minas is one of Costa Rica’s prominent turtle nesting sites and, in the heart of summer, nighttime tours offer the priceless chance to see mass nesting events of black turtles and, albeit more rarely, leatherback turtles. These incredible creatures return to their ancestral shores to nest once a year, in a spectacle often dubbed one of nature’s most extraordinary.
Learn more about our seasonal Turtle Watching Tours on Playa Minas
Don’t forget that when you book a tour with us you get 15% off surf lessons AND 15% off surf board rentals. See here for details!
Surf camp in Tamarindo
The Tamarindo beach surf is as iconic in Costa Rica as sloths and ziplines. This is the country’s foremost surfing mecca and, in a country home to almost 300 surfing beaches, that’s saying something.
Set against Costa Rica’s Guanacaste coastline, Tamarindo is a haven for surf enthusiasts, offering waves, private lessons, and weeklong camps catering to all skill levels. With year-round warm waters and reliably consistent waves, Tamarindo is considered one of the best places in the world to learn how to surf.
Tamarindo offers an intoxicating fusion of adrenaline, salt air, and a vibrant surfing community. If you’re looking for a deep connection to the surf, then the sun-soaked shores of this coastal paradise are tailor-made for you.
At Iguana Surf, we bring you the best Costa Rica Surf experiences, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
So why not come join us this summer, and experience the best Costa Rica has offer.