Costa Ricans know how to give a good party and throws a few good festivals worth checking out if you’re visiting at the right time.

The Virgin of the Sea Celebration is held the Saturday closest to July 16 each year. The celebration is a nod to the Virgin of Mount Carmel, the patron saint of Puntarenas. It starts with a colorful regatta of a wide variety of boats – fishing boats, yachts – in the gulf. That’s followed by fireworks, sports events, special masses, concerts, parades and dances. There is plenty of excellent food and drink, of course.

San Pablo’s day is another religious festival you can enjoy in Puntarenas. This one features food, dancing, sports and various fairs. It’s held in January each year.

Mother’s Day is held in August here, but it’s taken so seriously it’s a national holiday, while also in August you can enjoy National Parks’ Day, when all the country’s parks are celebrated with a variety of educational and cultural activities.

If you happen to be in Puntarenas after Christmas, take a trip over the mountains to San Jose and enjoy the festival held there the week after Christmas. Although it’s not officially a holiday, many people in Puntarenas and Costa Rica in general take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. In San Jose during this last week of the year, you can enjoy cultural events, horse processions, bullfights and a New Year’s Eve dance.