Bull baiting in Costa Rica begins on Christmas Day with the opening of the national festival in Zapote. The sport, which requires grown men to risk life and limb while taunting livestock is part of the rural traditions of Latin America.
In Costa Rica, none of the bulls are killed, so the activity is considered humane, at least for the bulls. For the participants, however bull baiting can be hazardous. The law requires them to buy a special policy with the (INS) national insurance institute, and on-site medical attention is provided by the Cruz Roja. More professional riders also mount the bulls.
This year, participants will receive bracelets with color codes, which correspond to their time slot to enter the arena. The system will control access and allow police to disqualify participants in advance if caught drinking alcohol.
The festival in Zapote continues until January 5th.