TOPES and CABALGATAS in the costarican summer !

Now that we are in the middle of the Dry Season, Costa Rica has all these Traditional ‘Fiestas’ !

Traditionally even the smallest village has an event once a year. The big events are of course The Tope of San José, the Fiestas in Zapote, Santa Cruz, Puntarenas and Palmares where they are celebrating the last day today; horse-events, rodeos, fair, concerts in open air and lots of food-stands ! Many many people attend these ‘Fiestas’ that go on until late at night and for each town they are the event of the year.

The Fiestas evolve around People, Horses, Bulls, Drinking & Eating and a lot of FUN !

A cabalgata is a horseback-riding tour through ranches and farms. All can join in, as long as you have a horse.

A Tope is a show-off on horse-back through the streets with spectators, traditionally you dress up, make sure your horse looks it’s finest and you show the spectators all that your horse is capable of. You can easily walk just 6 miles and it will take you up to 6 hours, like in the San José Tope !

Yesterday we rode the ‘Cabalgata’ in Ciruelas. It is all for fun and a good cause. A lot of work for a group of villagers who organize it all. We rode through beautiful farms in between Ciruelas, Siquiares and La Garita and half-way there was a break with music, food, drinks, an auction was held for stuff donated, we saw happy bidders winning saddles and even a pig ! All for the good cause of course !

It was a lot of FUN ! But things can go wrong. I have see people ending up being taken to the hospital and horses get injured. My horse Palomino did not want to go through a river, he is terrified of water ! So a fierce cowboy offered to help and ended up with my headstall in his hand an my horse running off with me on top and no reins to stop him ! Help ! He bucked and ran and in no time we were surrounded by cowboys who came to rescue. It was scary, yet fun at the same time. All yelled and laughed in joy at the happy ending !

Our family-doctor dr. Rivas from the Barrio San José was riding as well and he exclaimed ‘This is supposed to be my day off, I am soooo happy you did not break a leg !’

It was a great day, one makes new friends, we laughed a lot, drank a lot of beers and I went to sleep tired, but with a big smile on my face.

Costa Rica, Pura Vida !