Holidays are a time of joyous celebration in Costa Rica, one of the biggies here is known as Semana Santa or Holy Week. This year Holy week is from April 14 – 20th, on the Easter Sunday families, gather at Catholic mass, traditional foods are cooked and enjoyed at home. For the less religious thousands upon thousands flock to the beaches to enjoy a much-needed vacation. You won’t see much of the Easter bunny during this holiday, but you will notice hotels are booked solid, public bus transport is on a reduced schedule, and all government offices and banks are closed.
Time of Reflection
Perhaps one of the most significant events on the Catholic calendar, Semana Santa is a time of religious reflection for most Costa Ricans. The days preceding Easter Sunday are marked by elaborate parades and processions meant to reenact the journey of Jesus through Jerusalem. Each town and village organizes festivities, ranging from fireworks and parades to rodeos. Many counties enforce Dry Laws which ban the sale of alcohol from Wednesday until midnight on Friday. Be sure to stock up on your favorite beverages beforehand so you’re not short on beer, wine or cocktails during these days.
If your Costa Rica vacation plans happen to coincide with Semana Santa, be warned that the Central Pacific beach destinations like Jaco and Manuel Antonio will be full of partying locals. Whole families camp along the shores, fill up hostels and hotels, that are booked up months in advance. You may have a hard time finding accommodations on short notice. Most banks and post offices will close their doors from Thursday through Sunday. Once the week is up everything will return to normal hours of operation. If you’re traveling via public bus, remember that schedules will be cut back by as much as fifty percent.
So if you are looking for a good time of year to come to Costa Rica, Semana Santa might not be for you. Now if you want to experience some real culture of the country then again this might be for you. One of the best ways to see the culture and traditions of Ticos is to come during this week. So you have been warned, it is by far one of the busiest weeks of the whole year. Nearly everyone has time off and the highways going east and west are absolutely packed. Despite these drawbacks, Just exercise a little patience, and head toward the volcanoes or mountains if you’d prefer a more relaxing getaway.
Let us know when you are coming for a visit.