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Live Music in Costa Rica? Hell Yes!

We are excited to add a new writer, Mariana den Hollander, who will be giving her insight as a female Costa Rican that has grown up outside of Costa Rica.  We hope you enjoy her writing style and life experiences in Costa Rica. 

After hours of biting my nails on how to talk to you about live music in this country, I have decided that the best way to do it is as if we’re having coffee, you ask for my opinion and you write down my suggestions in your to-do list.

You see, I’m passionate about music and it’s hard not to pour out my heart with each band. Therefore, I will just name my favorite Costa Rican and Nicaraguan artists who write and make their own music. There are many more artists I’m not mentioning just because I choose not to. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance!

So let’s start by just letting music speak for itself. You’re invited to go listen to Sonambulo this Friday 18th at the Jazz Café in Escazu. You might want to dress in very light and comfy clothes, because as soon as you listen to the first beats, you’ll be sleepwalking to the dance floor. No, I’m not exaggerating! This 11 musician’s band, very eloquently mixes all sorts of latin/African delicious beats with a spontaneous spark of funk and contemporary groove. They have participated in several festivals in Europe, USA and Mexico and even though their recipe is very successful, their musical growth and strength as a band, keeps solidifying with every concert. But don’t believe me, just join me on Friday and experience it for yourself. (Let me know what you think)

Another band I try not to miss when they play is Ojo de Buey. This reaggae/roots band not only jams you straight to the dance floor or to your own mental destination with a coconut drink at hand, but also seduces you with its musician’s positive and cheerful vibe. So here’s my list of bands and restaurant/bars where most of them perform. At the end, you’re the one who decides what bands rule and which ones don’t. Music is personal! Furthermore, all of these artists and venues have Facebook pages. Make sure you check them out before you see them live. It might even make you re-think your outfit.


  • Zopilot
  • Cocofunka
  • Max Goldenberg (If you’re ever in Nicoya, don’t miss a performance by this amazing CR folk singer. He normally plays at the Fulana Cosa Restaurant in Nicoya)
  • Maria Pretiz
  • La Escafandra

Now, if you’re ever lucky enough and find that any of these Nicaraguan artists are playing in Costa Rica, DO NOT miss the opportunity. All of them are exceptional!

  • La Cuneta Son Machin
  • Perrozompopo
  • Momotombo
  • Clara Grun
  • Elsa Basil
  • Monroy & Surmenage
  • Milli Majuc

Restaurant/Bars (favorite to least favorite)

  • Jazz Café, San Pedro
  • Observatorio Bar in Barrio La California
  • Jazz Café in Escazu
  • Mundo Loco in San Pedro
  • Latino Rock Café in Barrio La California
  • Lobo Estepario in downtown San Jose

By Mariana den Hollander

Mariana den Hollander is a native Costa Rican artist and published writer. She majored in Fine Arts in The Hague and has resided in the US, Nicaragua, Honduras and Canada. She currently lives in San Jose and recently changed her life to be able to dedicate to painting, writing, promoting musicians and producing music events. Art page: E-mail:info [at]

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