Carrera de Cintas: Guanacaste Tradition celebrated in Potrero

Written by Abigail Sampson One of my favorite things about Costa Rica are the festivals and ‘Dia de something’s…’ of which there are many, celebrated in even the smallest communities. A couple of weeks ago, hundreds of cowboys rode into Potrero for the ‘Carrera de Cintas’ and the town sprang to life.

Two riders compete against each other to catch the ribbon

The Carrera de Cintas (‘belt race’) is an event of showmanship and skill in which cowboys from ranches around the region bring their best horses to compete, socialize and barbeque. The atmosphere was festive, with a sense of friendly competition as horses raced in pairs on either side of a rope, their cowboys aiming to poke a small stick through a belt loop on a red ribbon strung across the lanes. Most of the cowboys were men, as is traditional, however women have been allowed to enter in recent years and there were several competing, giving the boys a run for their money. Kids raced too, on ponies that needed little encouragement to spring into action. Indeed the sheer numbers of horses and ponies made for a sizzling atmosphere.

A rider shows the concentration and skill needed to snag a ribbon

The whole day was a family affair with food stalls and picnicking taking place right next to the race track. The horses waiting their turn in the streets in some sort of organized chaos, traffic attempting to make its way past and spectators trying to simultaneously get in on the action and shelter from the cascading rain all made for a spectacular day. Want to read more? You can see Abby’s own blog here with loads more photos and details of how she took them.

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