The Día del Negro (Black Culture Festival) is hosted in late August and early September, with domino and oratory contests, music, and art. Contact the Black Star Line (Avenida 5, Calle 6, tel. 506/2798-1948), which has a legendary social club upstairs and also hosts an annual “Lady Black Beauty” contest for women over 35.
Each October 12, Puerto Limón  explodes in a bacchanal. The annual Columbus Day Carnival is celebrated with a fervor akin to the bump-and-grind style of Trinidad, with street bands, floats, and every ounce of Mardi Gras passion, though in a more makeshift fashion. The weeklong event attracts people from all over the country, and getting a hotel room is virtually impossible. The celebrations include a Dance Festival—a rare opportunity to see dances from indigenous tribes, Afro-Caribbeans, and the Chinese communities—plus bands from throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as beauty contests, crafts stalls, fireworks, theater, and calypso contests.
Most bars have a raffish quality. An exception is Cevichito (Avenida 2, Calles 2/3, tel. 506/2758-4976, from 10 a.m. daily). The bar, decorated with flags of the world, has a large-screen TV and one-armed bandits, plus groovy music.
The weekend Disco Acuario in the Hotel Acón is jam-packed and sweaty, with a pulsing Latin beat ($5, including a beer; free to hotel guests).