If there's one place that offers everything except snow for Christmas, it's Costa Rica. The holidays falls smack dab in the midst of an invitingly warm and sunny time of year in Costa Rica, right after the rainy season, so everywhere is green and extra lush, and everyone seems to be infused with especially festive cheer. Though there are countless reasons to visit the country for Christmas, here are 10 of the best. Photo courtesy of rkelland
1. Beaches The sun is usually shining on Christmas in Costa Rica, and with water warm enough to bask in, a trip to one of Costa Rica's world-class beaches is just the gift you really must give yourself.
2. Surf It's tends to be up for Christmas in Costa Rica, especially along the Caribbean coast.
3. Festival de la Luz In San Jose, Costa Rica the Festival de la Luz marks the start of the Christmas holiday with a spectacular street party. Live bands, elaborate masquerades, and extravagant displays are highlights of this sensational celebration in the city. The week long festival kicks off at 6pm on December 26th with a grand display of pyrotechnics from the highest buildings. Find the Festival de la Luz located between Paseo Colon and Avenida 2, where the trees of the streets are decorated with lights.
Festival de la Luz — Photo courtesy of El collecionista de instantes
4. Shopping Souvenirs make excellent Christmas gifts, especially bags of Cafe Britt coffee
5. Fiestas Zapote At Christmas and for an entire week following it, this otherwise nondescript residential neighborhood transforms into the country's biggest party, including a tope, a wild Costa Rican horse parade.
6. Tamales A Christmas tradition in Costa Rican, otherwise they are not easy to find. Don't miss the chance to try these special tamales available only in the weeks that lead up to Christmas.
Ron Pope is Costa Rican Egg Nog — Photo courtesy of izik
7. Ron Pope Costa Rica's version of egg nog, this delightful beverage is a bit sweeter and a bit stronger. Dos Pinos is a national brand that offers an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic option; both come in single-serving sizes and are available in the cold case of most markets only around Christmas.
8. Shopping Souvenirs make excellent Christmas gifts, especially bags of Cafe Britt coffee
9. Sloths Spend Christmas with these happy creatures and see why Costa Rica makes them smile so.
Puerto Viejo — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
10. Puerto Viejo de Limon Far from traditional holiday hubbub, even this sleepy seaside village fills with the Christmas spirit for the last week of December, when Ticos from the city join tourists and locals for a long week of days spent relaxing on PVs amazing beaches and evenings with an Imperial in hand. The Lazy Mon at Stanford's is a local favorite for getting footloose and festive.