Writing about where to specifically celebrate New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica is a bit of a challenge – because on December 31st the entire country basically turns into one giant party. You can pretty much just walk outside and go anywhere to find something fun to do – street vendors, music and crowds of people drinking Imperial beer flood the streets all night long.

Where to celebrate 2016 New Year in/around Tamarindo:

Aqua Discoteque – Aqua is hosting a huge neon party hosted by Heineken to ring in the New Year from 9pm-5am. Music will be by Matos, with an open bar from 9-11pm. There is a $6 cover, and they’ll be giving away free Heinekens to the first 150 people to arrive. Be sure to wear lots of glow sticks and neon things.

Pangas – Pangas will be featuring live music and fireworks at midnight. They’ll have their regular menu plus a few surprise specials (to be announced).

Sharky’s – Sharky’s will be offering drink specials and dirt cheap booze all night long!

The Loose Moose – This brand new Tamarindo bar and restaurant recently opened its doors and is ready to party hard for New Year’s Eve. Girls drink for free from 8-10pm, and there is no cover to get in. $2 bourbon shots, champagne showers and a midnight fireworks show under the stars. Music by DJ Alex Orias and DJ Pipe.

Latitude Blue Come have dinner and a glass of champagne for $30. There will be live music from 5:30PM to 7:30PM, a circus and fire show from 8:30PM to 9:30PM and more live music from 10:30PM to 12;30AM. For reservations calls 2653-2222.

Marie’s – CHarly Lopez & The Electric Stormw ill be playing at Marie’s restaurant and bar in Playa Flamingo. For reservations, call 2654-4136. The dinner special is a pork loin with homemade applesauce, passionfruit mimosas and some surprise desserts.

Playa Flamingo: For a quiet (and inexpensive) New Year’s Eve you could also just grab a beach blanket and a cooler and find a spot on Flamingo Beach.


Here are some of the major highlights when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica:

Pork Dinner: Pork. It’s what’s for dinner on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica — having a roast on December 31 is akin to eating turkey on Thanksgiving in the United States.

Fireworks: At the stroke of midnight you can expect to see fireworks lighting up the sky in pretty much any town or city in Costa Rica. The best place to watch them in Tamarindo is right on the beach – but to avoid the crowds, try driving up into the hills or going to a less crowded beach like Playa Flamingo.

Wish Lanterns: Wish lanterns are another popular (albeit dangerous) tradition. People light up these beautiful paper flying fireballs and set them free as they make a wish near or at midnight. If you must light a fire lantern, make sure you get ones that are biodegradable — you wouldn’t want to ensnare any baby sea turtles or dolphins when they fall over the ocean. This may be the last year you can light them up in Costa Rica, as they can be a fire hazard and there is a petition to make them illegal.

12 Grapes for Good Luck:

This was originally a Spanish tradition that spread to Costa Rica (along with Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Colombia). It’s a pretty easy custom to follow – you just eat one grape for each month of the year at midnight. The clock will strike 12 times and you eat a grape with each beat. That’s it.

Photo credit: Genna Marie of Tamarindo Family Photos