Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America

The flight to Costa Rica was interesting. I usually arrive at night so I don't get to see much from the air. This time, however, I was travelling during the day and at relatively low altitude considering the flight from Managua to San Jose is only about 45 minutes. The views of the mountains are spectacular and it gives you an appreciation for just how formidable the terrain in Costa Rica is. If you don't want to fly you can take TicaBus or NicaBus and the cost is only about $30 to go from Managua to San Jose. The trip takes about 8 hours though and I didn't really want to waste that much time on a bus.

Big Uninhabited Island

Sugar Cane Burning

Costa Rican Mountains

Costa Rican Mountains

Costa Rican Mountains

Costa Rican Mountains

I have already posted a ton of photos of Costa Rica but I had the chance to do something different on this trip. The town of Palmares has a huge fiesta at the beginning of every year and I spent a night there. It reminds me of a county fair back home except this one has bullfights, really hot Ticas, and you have to pay 10 cents to use the port-a-johns. Other than that it's pretty similar to the country fair. I went on a Wednesday night so the crowds were small but on the weekends 70,000 to 80,000 come to enjoy the party. They have live bands, food, amusement park style rides, etc.

Flying Into Costa Rica

Walking Down The Street

Fiesta De Palmares

Fiesta De Palmares

Fiesta De Palmares


Proof I was there...

Party Zone

Really Hot Ticas

Nice Hats

My Dinner Cooking...

Ticket Office

Tickets for the bullfight are $4 and I can honestly say that it's the most entertainment I've ever gotten for $4. The festivities began at about 7:30 and we didn't leave until around 11 PM. You can tell by the things they do here that the lawyers haven't strangled all of the fun out of Costa Rica like they have in the USA. The first "event", for lack of a better word, I will call "the hit the emcee with your shoe contest". The emcee stood in front of the crowd and the first person to hit him with their shoe won a T-shirt. What followed was a barrage of shoes being hurled from anywhere and everywhere until someone plunked the guy in the chest.

The next thing that happened was that the mascot (kind of a bugs bunny looking character) goes around firing candy into the crowd. Mayhem ensues as children and adults battle for pieces of penny candy on the floor. It's quite a sight to behold. The next event was a junior cowboy with a miniature horse doing various tricks.

The Bull Ring

Roving Bartender

The Equipment Wagon

The Equipment Wagon

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

The Palmares Mascot

Not The Most Comfortable Bleachers

Getting Closer...

Junior Cowboy

The "Lassadores"

Here's where things get a little crazy. Anyone that wants to fight the bull is free to do so. That's right, if you want to have a 2000 pound bull chase you around all you have to do is hop in the ring. There are no waivers to sign, no 8-week certification course, and no insurance to buy. All that is required is that you are willing to go into the ring. The sponser of the evenings proceedings (Importadora Monge) was offering a 10,000 Colone ($20) gift certificate to anyone that touched a bulls horns. With that kind of financial incentive on the line I almost climbed into the ring myself...

The night I was there they had brought in 2 "professional" bullfighters from Mexico to perform first. The bullfighting in Costa Rica is done in a humane way and no harm comes to the bull. The same thing can't be said for the bullfighter. The first guy, as they say on ESPN, got JACKED UP! The bull got him down on the ground but fortunately didn't gore him. The guy was down for at least 5 minutes but was able to leave the ring under his own power.

The Pros Enter The Ring

Getting Ready

Game On



Taunting The Bull

The second pro bullfighter managed not to get trampled by the bull so that allowed me to get some good videos. Frankly, the first guy didn't last long enough to get much video...

Pro #2



Almost Got Him!

Here Bully, Bully, Bully

The Craziness Begins

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