Guanacaste is full of recreational, cultural, gastronomic and educational activities this month in commemoration of 199 years since the annexation of the Party of Nicoya to Costa Rica. The options are as extensive as the joy of the communities in celebrating their identity and traditions no matter what.
If you don’t have much time or you simply want a guide to start putting together your celebration agenda, at The Voice of Guanacaste, we have selected five events you can’t miss, all of which are free.
1. Contest for tortillas palm-patted in the air, Tortilla Festival
Making tortillas patted in the palm of the hand in the air is an art, and the town of Corralillo, in Nicoya, recognizes that, celebrates it and wants to preserve it. For 17 years, the Corralillo Professional Technical College has organized a contest to award whoever prepares the best palm-patted tortilla. There are two categories: students from the school and women over 65 years of age.
“People like to see the show when the ladies make this giant tortilla, with this huge diameter. And we’ve tried to share it with the kids [students] and we do workshops,” explains one of the festival coordinators, Elvia García.
Some of the criteria that the jury evaluates is the way in which the dough is passed through the stone, the “belly” that is made on the tortilla, the size, the shape and the toasting. Quite a show. If you go to the festival, you won’t regret seeing the tortilla masters and tasting the dishes they have for sale at the food stalls. For more information, visit the Tortilla Festival’s page on social networks.
- Where?: Corralillo Professional Technical College, Nicoya
- When?: Monday, the 24th (elimination), 11 a.m. and Tuesday, the 25th (final), 10 a.m.
2. Guanacaste vignettes parade
What does Guanacaste look like? What does its gastronomy taste like? How do people dress here? You can answer those questions if you attend a parade of Guanacaste stamps.
In these parades, you’ll find all the traditions that bring life to the province: cimarrona bands, sabanero cowboys, boyeros (ox herders), carts, people wearing traditional costumes, distributing traditional foods and playing traditional games such as ribbon races.
- Bernabela Ramos Park, Friday, the 21st, starting at 8 a.m. and Tuesday, July 25, starting at 8 a.m.
- Recaredo Briceño Park, Wednesday, the 19th, starting at 4 p.m.
- Main streets of Liberia, Tuesday, the 25th, starting at 8 a.m.
- Bagaces Central Park, Friday, the 28th, starting at 9 a.m.
3. Malpaís concert
Malpaís returns to Nicoya seven years after their last show in the colonial city. For Jaime Gamboa, it means returning to “the people.” “It has a more special meaning, for me above all and obviously for the memory of Fidel’s legacy,” he says with a calm and hopeful voice.
“For that night, we always put our hearts in their place, and we get ready to give everything, to sing with the people, to remember and to sink into the roots, which is what is buried there,” he adds.
Malpaís will also play on the 29th of this month at Liberia Expo.
- Where?: Recaredo Briceño Park in Nicoya
- When?: Tuesday, the 25th, 8 p.m.
4. “I sing to my land” poetry recital
Who says that Guanacaste doesn’t have poets? The Liberia Public Library will host a poetry recital with 10 word artists, with different stories and backgrounds: Soren Vargas, Ligia Zúñiga Clachar, Minor González, Milagro Obando, Edgar Leal Arrieta, Daniel Matul, Níger Jirón (singer-songwriter), Aracelly Bianco, Carlos Cruz and Luis Boniche.
- Where?: Liberia Public Library
- When?: Thursday, the 29th, 5 p.m.
5. Marimba players and folk dances
Although you’ll find marimba players in the streets during these dates, you have to try to attend a marimba concert. Seeing four or more marimba players, some with two mallets in each hand, is an undeniable show.
In addition, if her health allows it, María Bolandi herself, the first female marimba player from Liberia and probably from Guanacaste, will play on Friday, the 21st, at the Liberia Public Library.
You also can’t miss the performances of folkloric groups, in which the dancers display the simplicity, elegance and presence of what it means to be from Guanacaste. The Flor de Caña group will have a special performance that pays homage to the people of Nicoya.
“We did a work dedicated to the canton of Nicoya, trying to bring to everyone’s memory the music and dance of what Nicoya is yesterday, today and always,” explains the group’s founder and folklorist, Marlene Contreras, who also specifies that there was field research to put together the show.
“We took into account the idiosyncrasies of Nicoya: the dance of the little mare (la yegüita), the countdown of days (until the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe), the Confraternity (of Our Lady the Virgin of Guadalupe), and another subject was the blue zones,” she says. Flor de Caña will perform on Saturday, the 22nd, starting at 7 p.m. on the stage in Recaredo Briceño park.
Other groups such as Ojoche, Kumbala, La Gran Nicoya and Caña Fístula will also give performances at the same location. Check the schedule here.
Some of the marimba concert options are:
- Liberia Public Library, Friday, the 21st, starting at 2 p.m., with María Bolandi
- Luna Liberiana Amphitheater, Camilo Reyes plaza in Liberia, Friday, the 28th, starting at 6 p.m.
- Luna Liberiana Amphitheater, Camilo Reyes plaza in Liberia, Saturday, the 29th, starting at 7 p.m.
Would you like to understand the identity of each canton in the province? The Nicoya Liceo (high school) will hold a fair called “La tayuya” with dances, music, gastronomy and Guanacastecan activities.
“The tenth and eleventh grade students are in charge of setting up some little ranchos alluding to that with information from the cantons of Guanacaste,” explains teacher Elsie Jiménez.
The fair will be July 20 and 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the high school facilities.