Music in Costa Rica is music to dance to. From Salsa to Chamber music there is something for everyone. Live bands play at different clubs all over the country. Salsa, Jazz, Rock, Tango, Tex-Mex, and Calypso are all on the venue at different nightspots in Costa Rica.
If you are staying in and around San Jose the best nightlife is found at El Pueblo in Escazu. Here you can find restaurants, nightclubs and shops. Club Twister is one club that is very popular playing contemporary and Latin music. Another is El Tobagan and while they are open only on the weekend they are always packed.
Somewhere in El Pueblo the Tango Bar is located. It has a couple of older gals that serve drinks and perform sentimental ballads. If you are lucky an Argentine visitor will be able to translate the lyrics. Occasionally you will have the treat of seeing a good tango performed.
Costa Ricans love to dance and they are so good that it is scary. Not too much cha cha, but there is plenty of cumbia, merengue, lambada, and salsa. If you get a chance before you go to Costa Rica try to get in some salsa lessons. It is the most fun you can have and it sure makes you know that you are alive. There is dancing at night in any number of clubs all over Costa Rica but most of the better hotels have music at night.
If you speak a small amount of Spanish and you are looking for local happenings then you can try to read the local papers the Tico Time and La Nacíon. These should help you find local movie times and info on concerts and festivals.
Every year in February and March there is the Monteverde Art Festival, which has local musicians and visiting guest musicians. The venues for the music change from year to year depending on what festival planners have in mind so check the local newspaper or simply ask around. The local Ticos will be more than happy to give you any info they have on where the next performance is.
Costa Rica is predominantly Catholic so most of their holidays follow the usual Catholic holidays such as Christmas and Easter but one holiday that stands out is the celebration of the Black Christ Esquipulas. This festival originates in Guatemala but is celebrated all over Costa Rica. There is large population of Guatemalan immigrants so this may have something to do with the celebration.
The Teatro National was built over a hundred years ago an in that time Costa Ricans have developed there own national theater company. Additionally Costa Rica has their own Symphony and Ticos love classical music almost as much as Salsa.
For those of you that like a different kind of nightlife there are also a few nature and wildlife tours. In the Mountverde Cloud Forest there are night tours that show you the beauty of wildlife that only shows itself at night.