New Year’s in San Jose: Bullfighting and Fireworks

January 1, 2015 - 11:34 am No Comments

We headed into central San Jose for dinner. Always a weird feeling when you’re with folks for the last time, knowing that you’ll probably never see them again.

The Downtown Bus

Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica

Police Tower

Group Dinner

Then off to the neighborhood of Zapote for the Christmas fair and some bullfighting. The scene was surprisingly quiet. The carnival rides were lit up but mostly empty, no lines for food, and the vendors were all just standing around. A strange feeling.

Things picked up a bit when Jorge negotiated our way into the bullfight. It was just as nuts as it looks on TV. Guys in superhero costumes and bright t-shirts hop around the ring, taunting and avoiding a pissed off bull. The highlight was watching a guy’s face get stomped by a bull. He walked away bleeding and smiling. When you’re there, though, you get your face smacked by bright orange thundersticks from fans on either side of you.

Jorge Hustles at the Door

Ticket to the Bullfight

Brave Superheroes

Rousing the Crowd

After the festivities, we headed back to the hotel, walking the lonely streets of central San Jose. For some reason, the city was a ghost town. The occasional car passed by, but there was no one around. Storefronts were shuttered, the streets were lined with garbage, plastic bag tumbleweeds crossed our path.

Avenida Central on New Year's Eve

Back at the hotel, we gave each other our little handshakes and hugs and wished each other a good trip home. I do admit that I’ve enjoyed traveling with these guys.

As we were wrapping things up, a little fireworks show erupted right in front of our hotel. You could see and hear these little shows all around the city.

New Year's Fireworks

Feeling festive, a few of us went to the bar down the street. It was empty at first but slowly started to fill up with locals. It seems that Costa Ricans celebrate New Year’s at home with their families and then come out to celebrate after midnight.

Now it’s New Year’s Day. Everyone leaves Costa Rica today except for me. I like to take an extra day at the end of a busy trip like this to decompress and do a bit of exploring on my own. I’ve booked a San Jose city tour for this afternoon. I’ll treat myself to a nice dinner tonight, and then I return home tomorrow.

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