El Tope is a traditional Costa Rican festival that celebrates the country’s history and culture. It is an equestrian parade that is often part of local fiestas. The biggest of these celebrations takes place in the capital, San Jose, and is known as El Gran Tope Nacional.
The parade is a horse parade, with many of these topes taking place in different towns and cities around Costa Rica throughout the year. It is a great opportunity for these different towns and regions to promote and show off their horse training skills. Horses are an important part of the culture in Costa Rica, and El Tope celebrates this. It is a way of linking the present with the colonial past, a time when the majority of the population lived in the countryside and depended on horses. As well as horses parading, you will see beautifully painted carts, horse-drawn carriages, and marching bands. You can also expect eating and drinking, dancing, and even some flirting.
El Gran Tope Nacional traditionally takes place on December 26th and is the beginning of Festejos Populares. Festejos Populares is an organized group of events celebrating Christmas and the new year period in San Jose. El Tope Nacional Costa Rica attracts thousands of horse riders from all across the country. It is an opportunity to show off riding skills, majestic horses, and sabanero outfits. The horses are trained to perform special steps, almost like a dance, to entertain the gathered crowds lining the streets. Thousands of spectators converge on the route from San Jose; and beyond. If you are planning to attend the event, you’ll need to get there early in the day to find a good position. If you want to be at the front, you might even have to arrive at dawn. On the day of the parade, the streets around the parade route are closed. At 1 p.m. the parade begins its 4 mile route through Paseo Colon and Avenida Segunda. Loud music plays during the event, and the whole thing is captured on cameras and broadcast on TV.
If you’re interested in attending El Tope, it’s a great way to experience Costa Rican culture and history.