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orotina fruit vendors on the road
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Orotina Fruit Festival

Orotina Fruit Festival

For nearly 20 years, the central Pacific town of Orotina has hosted the National Fruit Festival. Known as the “City of Fruits,” Orotina sits in a fertile region that yields much of Costa Rica’s fresh produce. The annual festival honors the town’s heritage and celebrates its agricultural traditions. It attracts visitors from around the country, inviting them to enjoy open-air fruit markets, parties, a horse parade and other festivities. 

The Orotina Fruit Festival is usually celebrated during the third week of March. The participating farmers have been carefully selected based on the quality of their fruit as well as their eco-friendly farming techniques. Expect to see traditional favorites like watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, papaya, pineapple and bananas, as well as seasonal exotics such as soursop, star apples, passion fruit, and rambutan.

The Orotina Fruit Festival also focuses on agricultural and environmental education for farmers and attendees. Daily workshops cover subjects ranging from earth-friendly farming practices to the importance of fruit in a healthy diet. The organizers have made environmental awareness a priority, with a focus on producing quality fruit using fewer pesticides.

Beauty pageants are an important tradition in Costa Rica, and this party kicks off with the Miss International Fruits Pageant, in which ten young women from Alajuela province compete for the crown. Later, festivities continue with a traditional tope, an exciting horse parade through the town’s main streets. Local companies set up stands along the route, providing music and drinks to spectators who are dancing and watching the parade.

Another attraction at the festival is a lively carnival. A parade of Caribbean drummers and dancers, much like a small version of the Brazilian carnival, performs for the crowds. The Orotina Fruit Festival is a colorful event, providing a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Costa Rica’s tropical fruit, friendly people and lively fiestas. Come for the produce, celebrate sustainable farming, and enjoy March’s best party.