by Christine Larson-Krishnan, Community Collaborator
I love this time of year in Costa Rica from September to November. It makes me proud to live here and I always look forward to enveloping myself in local culture and traditions.
It's the time of year tourism slows down and we can start gearing up for our next high season. It gives us a chance to reflect on what we need to do to make our tours better, exceed our clients' expectations and become more efficient in our operations.
It's also a great time for tourists to take advantage of off-season special promotions and good deals.
We also like to take this time of the year to celebrate all of the hard work of our employees. We provide over two months filled with fun, educational and helpful activities for our staff. We do informative talks on how to save money and plan for the future, we do team building activities to get everyone to better get to know one another outside of the four-walls of the office and we are even heading to the beach and doing some camping in the next couple months among many other things.
And it's this time of year Costa Rica celebrates its Independence Day. This year marked 196 years since Mexico proclaimed its independence from Spain and passed on the message on horseback and by foot all the way through Central America. The news arrived to Alajuela, Costa Rica September 14th, 1821 and that message of freedom is now symbolized by the passing of a lit torch all the way from Guatemala to Costa Rica. Each school sends their top students to meet the torch at the crossroads of every major highway and thoroughfare to then bring their lit torch back to "free" their communities.
All young school children anxiously await the arrival of the torch so they can then go parade around the town square to show off their own, handmade torches or "faroles."
It's a truly unique and fascinating tradition. This year as part of our employee appreciation program, we invited all of the children of our employees to do a workshop at our La Fortuna office on handcrafting their torches from recycled materials. The individual creativity of each child (and their parents) was amazing and very inspiring.
Costa Ricans are very patriotic and go all out on celebrating their independence. The 15th of September is rung in at 5am with el timbre de Maria followed by parades in most major cities including school community bands, honor students carrying flags, and plenty of ornate floats.
It was a particularly big deal in our local town because the La Fortuna school band recently took first place in an international band competition in Guatemala.
This is the time when most families get together for traditional meals like picadillo and handmade tortillas, olla de carne meat stew, and other delicious Costa Rican dishes.
My advice... make this time of year your favorite time to come and visit us in Costa Rica!
Have a look at our Costa Rica Vacation itinerary so you can experience the true flavors of this country.
You'll love enveloping yourself in local culture and traditions!