Every July 25 Costa Rica celebrates Guanacaste Day, a holiday celebrating Costa Rica’s annexation of the Guanacaste province in 1824.

The official name of the holiday is “La Anexión del Partido de Nicoya”.

The Partido de Nicoya was an area that today encompasses almost the entirety of the Guanacaste province. Over the years the Partido de Nicoya had developed economic and commercial ties with the Province of Costa Rica.

So, in 1812, when Spain called for provincial representatives to attend for the Cortes de Cádiz (Cadiz Courts), Nicoya chose to send their representative with the Costa Rican federation. An official alliance had been born.

Less than a decade later, in 1821, Central America became independent from Spain. By 1824, Central Amerca had formed an independent nation, the República Federal de Centroamérica, otherwise known as the Federal Republic of Central America.

Nicoya had three major cities: Nicoya, Santa Cruz, and Liberia (then known as Villa de Guanacaste). After a few negotiations in open meetings, the three cities decided to call a referendum, which took place in Nicoya. It was a divided decision: Nicoya and Santa Cruz voting yes and Liberia voting no.

The Central American Federal Republic passed the law and signed it on July 25, 1824, allowing the Guanacaste province to become part of Costa Rican territory.

“De la patria por nuestra voluntad” (Costa Rican by choice) is a sentiment expressed by Guanacastecos, reminding us that they are Costa Ricans because they chose to.

The day is celebrated with lots of music, traditional folk dancing, and fireworks. Even a parade or two or three.

Hand-palmed tortillas and tamarindo juice are a proud Guanacaste tradition!