Events in Costa Rica
Día de Juan Santamaría
Marching bands, parades, concerts and dances: Alajuela was buzzing on April 11! All these activities were organized to honor Día de Juan Santamaría!
Juan Santamaría was a young Costa Rican soldier and Costa Rica’s only war hero. In 1856, Costa Rica celebrated its victory in the Battle of Rivas against the U.S. citizen William Walker and his mercenary army. In the hope of developing a slave-trade empire, Walker set his sights on other Central American countries after overthrowing Nicaragua’s government.
It seemed unlikely that Costa Rica would win the battle until young Juan Santamaría set fire to a hostel where a number of Walker’s soldiers were staying. The fire led to a heavy loss in troops for Walker’s army, but also killed Santamaría. This act of heroism confirmed Costa Rica’s sovereignty and is celebrated every year with a parade and ceremony in Alajuela. It's a great fiesta to taste Costa Rican culture!
The main international airport is named after the young soldier and you can also visit the museum dedicated to him and the 1856-1857 filibuster. Find more information about this museum here.