The best seat for the Festival de la Luz is in your living room, in front of your big screen television and with the remote in hand. All national television stations will be carrying the parade live and from “their” point of view, vantage location and commentary.
However, if you feel the need to take in the festival live, here are a few Qtips:
1. Make sure you have an exit strategy. The moment the feeling the parade is over, the mad dash home occurs. And without an exit strategy, it could be hours before you are home.
2. Make you way to the parade route early to get a good seat. Stands have cost associated and you have a ticket to get a seat. The street curbs already have (at 7am) the first line of spectators. Getting there at parade time means you will be 5 or 10 deep.
3. Scout out public toilets just in case the urge overcomes you.
4. Wear warm clothing. It will be cold tonight, the temperature in San José is expected to dip to the mid teens (Celsius). Jackets, scarves and gloves will do.
5. Bring an umbrella. Rain is forecast for the weekend.
6. Have earplugs handy. The music and the crowds can get pretty loud.
7. DON’T CARRY MORE CASH THAT YOU NEED TO GET HOME. Don’t carry or wear valuables. Keep your cell phone well protected, pockets zipped, purses under lock and key and with a chain tied to your wrist . I am exaggerating, but making the point that the festival is a boom for petty theft.
8. Once you’ve staked your spot stay firm. Moving around the crowd may mean losing you place and you won’t go far. Stands have been erected on both sides of the parade route and many are with dead ends. That is an open path may lead to a no exit and no return to your original spot.
9. If you have friends who own/live in one of the new condos on the route, this is a good time to ask for a favour. The few hotels along the route, and the only – The Ambassador – with a few rooms with a view to the road reports sold out for months and at prices of over $300.
10. Most important of all is ENJOY! Although the parade has become more commercial each year, it is still one of the best and illuminating (pun intended) events of the year.