Not long after celebrating the U.S.’s Independence Day, Julio and I headed to Liberia to party hard with the Ticos in celebration of the Annexation of Guanacaste (their own Independence Day). Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste, which is one of seven provinces here in Costa Rica. Guanacaste is located in the northwestern corner of the country and is extremely popular with the locals as well as many tourists. The beaches are gorgeous and there are some really interesting places to visit, like the desert (!). Guanacaste has an Annexation Day because the entire province was once part of Nicaragua. In the early 1800’s, the people of Guanacaste decided they would rather be a part of Costa Rica, and through a referendum, their dream became a reality on July 25, 1824.
Today, Ticos in Guanacaste do not take this historical event lightly – they commemorate it by whooping it up with friends, family, and neighbors by way of carnivals, concerts, festivals, and round the clock celebrating in the streets. One of the highlights, attracting people from all over the world, is a music festival thrown by the Espinar family in the middle of the rainforest – Fiesta Espinar. Another pinnacle is the horse parade! Cowboys and cowgirls from all over Costa Rica bring their finest horses to Liberia to parade through the streets of downtown with musicians and audience dancing and weaving their way alongside.
The horse parade started off with everyone going in one general direction, but towards the end of the day, it was chaos. Horses and riders were galloping or walking all over the place, in no particular order or fashion. And as the sun set, it was difficult to get into the bars for all the horses lined up outside with thirsty riders!
Julio, the dogs and I spent all day at the horse parade and then moved on to some quality family time with the branch of the fam that lives in Liberia. We spent a couple days with one of Julio’s sisters, her children, and her children’s children. Does that make me a Grand-Aunt? I love this side of his family – they are so full of life, sweet, genuine, joyful, and also a little bit crazy.