Festival of Lights Saturday, Dec. 16 At 6:00 pm

This year is the 22nd edition of the annual festival put on by the city of San Jose.


The annual “Festival de la Luz” (Festival of Lights) takes place Saturday, December 16, 2018, starting at 8:00 pm in La Sabana Park, San Jose.

The holiday tradition is the biggest of all festivals for the year-end celebrations.


Preparations for the end of the year annual event starts months earlier. This year, Jorge Villalobos, head of protocol at the Municipalidad de San José, said 12 of the 30 bands from all over the country that signed up to take part in the Saturday night.

This year is the twenty-second edition of the Festival. In addition to the marching bands, there will be cheerleaders and floats.

The parade kicks off at the Gimnasio Nacional in La Sabana, taking a right on Paseo Colon, then onto Avenida Segunda ending at the China Arch on Calle 11.

Some one million are expected to line the parade route, another million or more to see it live on television on Repretel Channel 6, Teletica Channel 7, Channel 13 and Channel 42.

Click here for the official 2017 Festival of Light Brochure.

If you are going to experience the event in person, here are some recommendations:

  • Arrive early to get a front-row seat. Early is like early morning.
  • Be ready for the weather. Bring a sweater or jacket. It gets cold at night in San Jose. It could also rain.
  • Stay behind the ropes.
  • Don’t forget hydration, bring water.
  • Sale of food is prohibited. Having said that DO NOT EAT THE STREET FOOD.
  • Leave valuables at home, carry only enough cash for bus fare, water and food.
  • Your smartphone is a favorite of pickpockets. Leave it at home or locked in the car.
  • Parking your car on the street could see license plates confiscated by the traffic police, broken into or stolen. Park in a secure lot or take public transit.
  • If with children, keep them close, for minors, pin their name and phone number on clothing in case you get separated. NEVER LEAVE MINOR CHILDREN ALONE OR WITH STRANGERS.
  • Alcohol consumption is prohibited and sanctioned with a ¢180,000 colones fine.
  • Having an exit plan ready for the end of the event.
  • Pets can be a problem if they are not used to a lot of people, noise and the fireworks at the start.
  • Enjoy!