Main Content

Exploring Religion and Churches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its religious diversity, with various faiths coexisting harmoniously within its borders. The country’s population embraces a wide range of religions, including Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism, among others. Each faith brings its own unique rituals, customs, and traditions, adding to the colorful fabric of Costa Rican spirituality.

Indigenous Religions and Beliefs

Before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, Costa Rica was inhabited by indigenous tribes who had their own spiritual practices and beliefs. These tribes, such as the Boruca, Bribrí, and Cabécar, revered nature and held deep spiritual connections with the land. Their belief systems revolved around the worship of deities associated with natural elements, such as mountains, rivers, and animals.

To this day, the indigenous communities of Costa Rica continue to preserve their ancestral traditions and rituals. They gather in sacred sites, such as the Stone Spheres of the Diquís, to conduct ceremonies and honor their spiritual heritage. These practices are a testament to the enduring strength of indigenous beliefs in Costa Rica.

Catholicism in Costa Rica

Catholicism has had a profound influence on the culture and identity of Costa Rica. The majority (almost 60%) of Costa Ricans identify as Catholics, and the Catholic Church plays a central role in the religious and social fabric of the country. Churches, cathedrals, and basilicas can be found in every corner of Costa Rica, serving as places of worship and community gathering.

Catholic rituals and traditions are deeply ingrained in Costa Rican society. The celebration of Easter, known as Semana Santa, is one of the most significant religious events in the country. During this time, processions, reenactments of the Passion of Christ, and religious ceremonies take place throughout Costa Rica. The devotion and faith exhibited by the Costa Rican people during Semana Santa is a testament to the enduring influence of Catholicism in their lives.

Catholic Churches in the Guanacaste Area
Beyond its architectural splendor, the Catholic churches of Guanacaste play a vital role in preserving the region’s cultural heritage. These sacred sites not only serve as places of worship but also stand as testaments to the region’s history and traditions.

1. La Ermita La Agonia: Located in the heart of Liberia, the capital city of Guanacaste, La Ermita La Agonia is a striking example of colonial architecture. This beautiful church was constructed in 1866. It shines brightly in the sunlight, representing the whitewashed style that gives Liberia its nickname, The White City.


2. Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles: situated in the quaint town of Santa Cruz, Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles is one of the most revered Catholic sites in Guanacaste. Pilgrims from far and wide flock to this basilica to pay homage to the patron saint of Costa Rica, La Negrita. The basilica’s whitewashed walls and red-tiled roof exude a sense of tranquility, inviting visitors to pause and reflect in its hallowed halls.


3. Iglesia de San Blas: Situated in the picturesque town of Nicoya, Iglesia de San Blas is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Dating back to the 16th century, this church is one of the oldest in Costa Rica, boasting a rich history and architectural significance. Due to structural damage from an earthquake a few years ago, it is closed to the general public, however at times special services are held in it.


4. Parroquia de Santa Rosa de Lima: Tucked away in the charming village of Santa Rosa, Parroquia de Santa Rosa de Lima is a testament to the region’s faith and devotion. This quaint church, with its simple yet elegant design, offers a peaceful retreat for visitors seeking solace and spiritual renewal. Surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills, it provides the perfect backdrop for quiet contemplation and prayer.


Most Costa Rican towns have a small Catholic Church. Services range from daily services to one day a week – Saturday or Sunday services. There are catholic churches in Tamarindo, Huacas,Villa Real, Brasilito, Potrero, and Playas Del Coco .

Evangelical Christianity in Costa Rica

In recent decades, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of Evangelical Christianity in Costa Rica reaching almost 28% of the population. Evangelical churches, often referred to as “mega-churches,” have gained a strong following, particularly among the younger generation. These churches offer a more contemporary approach to worship, with vibrant music, charismatic preachers, and interactive services.

The growth of Evangelical Christianity in Costa Rica has brought about a shift in religious dynamics. While Catholicism remains the dominant faith, the influence of Evangelical Christianity is increasingly shaping the religious landscape of the country. Evangelical churches often emphasize personal transformation, community outreach, and a direct relationship with God, resonating with many Costa Ricans seeking a more individualized spiritual experience.

Evangelical Churches in Guanacaste:
While Catholic churches are more prevalent in Guanacaste, there are also Evangelical and non-denominational churches in the region. Here are a few;


1. Beach Community Church  located in  Playa Brasilito  – BCC is a Christ-centered church serving the beach communities of Conchal, Brasilito, Flamingo, Potrero, and surrounding areas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Church services are Sundays at 10am.

2. Tamarindo Church  located in  Playa Tamarindo  – Tamarindo Church is an English-speaking, Bible believing, community church serving the areas of Playa Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playa Avellanas, Playa Negra, Playa Brasilito, and Playa Flamingo. We also host annual Easter Services and Christmas Eve Services. Visitors are welcome! Church services are Sundays at 10am.

3.  Casa Vida Church,  located in La Garita Nueva (between  Huacas  &  Villareal) – Faithfully believes that the church of Christ has been called to share his wonderful Gospel without distorting the truth or accommodating it to the cultural trends of our times. Their mission is: We wish to be faithful to our Lord having been entrusted with the privilege of preaching his glorious Gospel to all nations by the power of the Holy Spirit all for the glory of God. Church services are Sundays at 9am.


1. Beach Community Church  located in  Playa Brasilito  Saturdays at 6pm

2. Casa Vida Church,  located in La Garita Nueva. Sundays at 10:30am

3.  Centro Cristiano de Guanacaste:  Located in Liberia, Centro Cristiano de Guanacaste is one of the prominent Evangelical churches in the area. It offers a welcoming community for worshipers and provides various services and programs for spiritual growth and outreach.

4.  Centro Familiar Cristiano:  With multiple locations across Costa Rica, the closest church is in Bagaces (closer to Liberia and more central). Centro Familiar Cristiano is a dynamic Evangelical church that emphasizes family values and holistic ministry. Through its diverse programs and services, it aims to empower individuals to live out their faith in practical ways.

Afro-Caribbean Religions in Costa Rica

Another important strand in Costa Rica’s spiritual tapestry is the presence of Afro-Caribbean religions, brought to the country by immigrants from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. Religions such as Rastafarianism and Santería have found a home in Costa Rica, blending elements of African spirituality with Christian influences.

The Afro-Caribbean community, with nearly 8% of the population residing in Limon in Costa Rica, practices their faith through rituals, music, and dance. The annual Limón Carnival, held on the Caribbean coast, celebrates Afro-Caribbean culture and religion. During the carnival, participants dress in colorful costumes, dance to the rhythm of traditional music, and pay homage to their spiritual beliefs.

The Significance of Religion in Costa Rica’s Cultural Identity

Religion holds a significant place in the cultural identity of Costa Rica. The country’s spiritual tapestry is a reflection of its diverse history and the people who have shaped it. From ancient indigenous practices to the influence of Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelical Christianity, and Afro-Caribbean religions, Costa Rica’s religious landscape is a testament to the acceptance and coexistence of different faiths.

Religion in Costa Rica is not just a matter of personal belief; it is a communal experience that brings people together in celebration and reflection. Whether through sacred sites, holy landmarks, or vibrant festivals, religion serves as a unifying force that strengthens the bonds of community and shapes the collective consciousness of the Costa Rican people.

As you explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica, take a moment to delve into its spiritual tapestry. Witness the rituals, customs, and traditions that have endured for centuries, and gain a deeper understanding of the profound impact of religion on the lives of the Costa Rican people. In this land of beauty and diversity, the exploration of spirituality is an enriching journey that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the interconnectedness of faith and culture.

Skip to content