The Annexation of Costa Rica | What is it?



Did you know that Playa Tamarindo was once part of Nicaragua? It probably wasn’t called, Playa Tamarindo back then, but it’s interesting to see (nowadays) how shifting a line in the sand almost 200 years ago has left a reverberating impact on culture, human genetics, and day-to-day life.

Today’s Costa Rica is represented by 7 provinces: Guanacaste, Alajuela, San Jose, Puntarenas, Heredia, Limon and Cartago. However, before 1824, Costa Rica’s northwestern region of Guanacaste was part of Nicaraguan territory. At this time in history, Nicaragua was engaged in a violent civil war that the Guanacastecos (indigenous people from Guanacaste) wanted no part of. They peacefully requested to be annexed to Costa Rica and were approved by the Central American Federation on July 25th 1824.

“De la patria por nuestra voluntad”. This phrase translates to, “Part of this country by our own choice” and rings true especially around Guanacaste. Costa Rican people in general have overwhelming pride in their country, but the Guanacaste culture is truly something special. Guanacaste celebrates the “dia de la anexión” on July 25th each year with typical fiestas and street parades featuring Costa Rican traditional foods like tamales and grilled meat with tortillas. If you’re down here on this date in July, you will see no shortage of concerts, fireworks, folk dances and bull riding to top off the celebration.

Will you be here to celebrate this year’s annexation? If so, great! You will undoubtedly learn something new about this unique cowboy culture. If not, no worries; Costa Rica seems to have a great party just about every night :)

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