I have been living in Costa Rica for over 15 years now. Yes, the first few years it was hard to get into the Christmas mood. I grew up in the south of Germany in a small town near the Black Forest where you could almost count on a white picture-perfect Christmas. As I am writing this blog in my office in Escazu (a small town in the mountains near San Jose), the sky is blue, temperature at about 25 degrees Celsius and the birds are singing in my yard. But sometimes it is good to let go of long-time traditions and look at how to adopt some new ones. Here are some of my favorites.
Tamales are a traditional food made from ground cornmeal, vegetables, potatoes, and a selection of pork, beef or chicken, all formed into packed rectangles and wrapped up like a gift in fresh plantain leaves. It is a bit heavy but a great breakfast food. Just enjoyed my first Tamal last Sunday. Maybe I am overdoing it a bit, but I love to put a fried egg on it. After all, it is Christmas, right?
The Christmas Winds are bringing down temperatures a bit and I enjoy seeing the Ticos getting out their coats, scarfs and mittens. OK, it drops to 16 degrees where I live. For Northern European standards”¦ not so cold, right? But it gives us a chance to light our fire place. For me the first two weeks of December are the best time to visit Costa Rica, especially the Pacific beaches. Temperatures are a bit cooler than normal and the end of the rainy season left everything super lush and green.
Aguinaldos is the 13th month salary that is sacred to Costa Ricans. Every employee has the right to a Christmas bonus that is paid during the first months of December. Even more reason to visit Costa Rica during this time of the year. It makes Ticos that have been identified as living in the happiest country in the world even happier.
Christmas Eve is when Christmas is celebrated in Costa Rica. Christmas dinner is served and everybody is waiting for the pending birth of baby Jesus. Presents are exchanged and the typical meal includes pork roast and turkey. ” Exotic” fruit such as apples and grapes can”™t be missed. And of course the Christmas tree, which is a more of a Christmas bush (Cypress).
Someday, I look forward to taking my Costa Rican Family to Germany for a cold Christmas, but for now, I am very happy to be here in the sun. The first two weeks of December still offer a good amount of space at the hotels of Cayuga Collection. The holiday season and full hotels start around December 20th. Contact us for last minute reservations at [email protected].
Hans Pfister, President of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality www.cayugaonline.com