Independence Day in Costa Rica



I was looking through the Costa Rica Outsider archive and I was surprised to find that I’d not written anything about Costa Rican Independence Day yet. That’s not a huge omission, I suppose, but it’s worth mentioning since this is a blog about Costa Rica, after all.

I guess this is my 10th Independence Day in Costa Rica! I came here at the end of August 2006, so even though I’ve just been here 9 years, the confounding math seems to add up to 10 Independence Days. I don’t really even remember the first one, but I was probably just glad to have a break from teaching high school and junior high kids, even if I’d only been at it for a few weeks. I do remember the second one, though. Even though we supposedly had the day off, there was a parade in San Ramon that our students were participating in, and it was also “mandatory” for their teachers–Angela and myself included–to participate.

Fortunately, I quit that job at the end of that year, and I never looked back. But that also seems to be the source of nearly all my Costa Rican Independence Day pictures. Here are a few from that year (2007):  

Some cheerleaders in the parade, in front of the San Ramon cathedral.


A guy watching the parade with an iguana on his head. Sure, why not?


Lots of flags.

Since this is not a history blog or a blog that people come to for actual facts about Costa Rica, I won’t really get into the history of Costa Rican independence. Of course, it was a Spanish colony, and it got independence along with the rest of Central America in 1821. That’s about the gist of it.

To celebrate, there are obviously no military parades or anything like that, since there’s no military here. People also don’t tend to grill or have fireworks like they do in the US. That’s probably just due to a different culture (they don’t really grill much here anyhow), and the fact that it’s usually rainy here in the middle of September.

They do have parades like the one in the previous pictures, and the schools all have activities during the whole week to teach about Costa Rican history. The kids also have little lanterns that they carry around the cities in parades on the evening of the 14th, but I’m not really sure what the significance of that is. I think they just like a good parade around here (or a bad or boring one, if need be).

I hope that doesn’t sound too jokey or sarcastic. I’m now a Costa Rican citizen and everything, but I don’t really feel especially patriotic. I think that probably comes from having a split allegiance between two countries, but also from having lived in a few different countries, and realizing that every country has some great things and some not-so-great things. But I do often joke that I’m more Costa Rican than most of the people in this country since I actually had to go through the long, tedious, baffling nationalization process, because I wanted to be a citizen of this country. The rest just happened to be born here.

Anyhow, I guess that’s about all I have to say about that. Some day I’ll maybe go do more patriotic activities–maybe when my kid is older–but for now, it’s nice to have a day off.


This was Independence Day a few years ago. And I did actually grill, as you can see. But it begs the question: whatever happened to that awesome shirt I had of the alligator eating a bird??

So, thanks for reading! If you’re in Costa Rica, have a great Independence Day!

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Just One Monkey On One Of Infinite Typewriters at Costa Rica Outsider
Hello, and welcome to Costa Rica Outsider! My name is Ryan Sitzman. and I'm the proverbial "man behind the curtain" for this site. I hope you like it, and I'd love to hear any comments or feedback you may have. I also have a language learning blog at, or you can check out my personal site at Thanks for stopping by!

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