The Music of Costa Rica – Part 2

Costa Rica has a rich heritage when it comes to music, it has so many outside influences that have contributed to a wonderful and diverse musical scene that attracts so many tourists to the country.

Music is everywhere you go in Costa Rica that it is almost impossible to avoid it. You can find it in the streets, bars, cafes, restaurants, and just about every nook and cranny. If you mention Costa Rica to an outsider, then they will probably form images of Latin rhythms and exotic dances. But in truth this is only a part of what the music scene is like in Costa Rica and there are a lot more of music styles to enjoy.

Classical Music

Classical music is not normally associated with the Caribbean but the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica is widely respected. But this highly regarded ensemble under the auspicious directorship of Chosei Komatsu is not the only classical offering that the country has to offer. There is also a quite brilliant youth orchestra and the National Symphony Choir which happens to be one of the very first professional choirs in the whole of Central America. Not to be forgotten is the Costa Rican Chamber Orchestra that regularly perform at the San Jose National Theater.


Jazz has long always and close associations with Latin music and there is a very lively jazz scene in the cafes and restaurants in San Jose and Escazu. The country’s most famous jazz ensemble is probably Editus which has found critical acclaim not only in Costa Rica but outside the country also. They actually attained a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Latin Pop Presentation. Jazz has become so popular in Costa Rica that there is now a bi-annual Jazz Festival held in San Jose that attracts jazz musicians from all over the world.


Calypso is a wonderful fusion of Afro-Caribbean music that first originated in Trinidad from the slaves that used it as a way to remind them of their heritage and relay stories of their homeland. There is a famous artist in Costa Rica called Walter Ferguson whose music celebrates his childhood in Panama and the struggles he had to overcome as a young boy.



Hardly surprising for a country that has a Caribbean coastline, Reggae is another musical form that is loved in this Central American country. Local reggae artists that are incredibly popular at the moment in Costa Rica are Fuerza Dread and C-Sharp. They can be seen performing regularly at venues such as La Mochila, which is famous for its legendary reggae nights. Bob Marley’s son Damian cemented just how popular Costa Rica was to the reggae world when he added the country to his world tour. And it was the only Central American country to be so acknowledged. Reggaeton which is a blend of reggae and Latin rhythms that is becoming really popular among Costa Rica’s teenagers and is played expansively in clubs and dance music venues. 

Taking a trip to Costa Rica has many advantages and listening to the music of the country and seeing the live bands is definitely one of them.