Music

Costa Rica's night life buzzes with live music that ranges from the traditional Latin rhythms to classical symphonies at the spectacular National Theater to pop music at the local discotecas. Like many Latin American countries, the Africa-derived, xylophone-style instrument, the marimba, is the foundation of native music in Costa Rica. On the Atlantic coast, the air is filled with the sounds of steel drums, reggae beats, and other instruments of the Caribbean.

Places to go for live music:

Classical Music

National Symphony Orchestra

When: Concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings at 8pm and Sunday mornings at 10:30am during the season, April through November.
Location: National Theater
Seating: the "galeria" is the least expensive seating section, with prices usually under a dollar.

Una Hora de Musica

For chamber-music lovers.
When: Once or twice a month
Location: National Theater, as well as in theaters in Cartago, Alajuela, and Heredia
Phone: 21-53-41 (call to check performance times)

The Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center

Offers classical music through its University Musicians Series, which brings oustanding groups and soloists from U.S. universities.

Alliance Francaise

Offers a monthly concert or recital.

Goethe Institute

Offers occasional classical music evenings.

Jazz

Goethe Institute

Occasionally offers traditional and avant-garde jazz.

Liverpool Music Hall

Offers jazz, blues and rock bands.
Location: in Barrio Mexico

The Shakespeare Gallery

Features live jazz
When: Monday evenings after 9pm (Jazz Expresso).
Location: in the Sala Garbo

Latin Music

Chavetas Tavern

Live music
When: Monday through Saturday after 8:30pm
Location: in El Pueblo shopping center in Guadalupe.

Balcones

Sometimes offers Andean music.
Location: in El Pueblo

Cocoloco

Features salsa and merengue.
When: Tuesday through Thursday
Location: in El Pueblo

Los Andes

Occasionally features Latin music groups.
Where: near the University of Costa Rica.

Las Esmeralda

Hotspot for mariachi groups - open all night.
Location: downtown San José

Peñas

"Peña" is an intellectual style of performance art that blends music with spoken word and poetry. Local musicians of outstanding ability in this style include Adrain Goizueta y el Grupo Experimental, Luis Angel Castro, Ruben Pagura and Juan Carlos Ureña, and Canto America. Concerts featuring any of these names are not to be missed!

La Rayula

Where: 100 north and 100 east of the San Pedro church

Baleares

Live music on Tuesday nights
Where: 25 east of La Nueva China in San Pedro

Tablado

Spanish guitar, rock, coffee house
When: Monday nights
Location: in San Pedro

The Shakespeare Bar

Luis Castro plays on Saturday nights
Location: in the Sala Garbo movie theater

Rock, Caribbean, Reggae, and Others

El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte ("The Cuartel")

Live music every Wednesday; experimental-Caribe group Marfil often plays.

Parrilladas

Location: near the university

Liverpool

Offers a variety of rock, jazz and blues.
Location: Barrio Mexico

Go anywhere on the Atlantic coast to hear Bob Marley and other Reggae music.


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Costa Rica 101

Costa Rica Music

Costa Rica's night life buzzes with live music that ranges from the traditional Latin rhythms to classical symphonies at the spectacular National Theater to pop music at the local discotecas.

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