The week leading up to Easter Sunday, known as ‘Semana Santa’ in Costa Rica, is one of the countries most important religious holidays. The entire country begins to shut down already the weekend prior to Easter, as just about every Costa Rican with the means is already planning their escape to the beach, rivers, or just to visit family.
If you come to Costa Rica for family vacations the week leading up to Easter, you will witness a whole week full of celebrations that consists of parades, religious processions & mini-festivals during the ’Semana Santa.’ The actual holiday during this week is celebrated on Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday. Almost all of the residents in Costa Rica have at least those two days off during this week; however, many enjoy taking the entire week off to spend time with their families and friends. Banks and businesses will also be closed Thursday and Friday, and public transportation is limited. In the tourism industry everything is bustling since this is a very popular time for people to visit Costa Rica.
During this festive week, many Ticos and Ticas head for the beaches to enjoy some sun and relaxation with their loved ones. If they are not at the beach, they are relaxing at home – making traditional food for friends, families and neighbors.
Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are Holy Week’s most important days, and every town’s Catholic Church organizes festivities on these holidays. You can see religious parades in every town, reenacting Jesus’ journey through Jerusalem, the crucifixion, and His eventual resurrection. And of course all the parade participants dress up to perform key roles, including Roman soldiers, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Saint Joseph.
Another thing during Semana Santa is to be well aware of that alcohol is not sold from midnight on Holy Wednesday until midnight on Good Friday in most of the country. If you didn’t stock up on your favorite alcohol before Thursday, it will be hard to find stores willing to sell it to you, especially of you’re vacationing in a less touristy area. It is actually against the law to sell or serve alcohol on Thursday and Friday during this week. When traveling to Costa Rica during Semana Santa, you should keep this in mind, and don’t be surprised if you aren’t able to order your favorite cocktail or beer with dinner during those two days.
All in all, Easter in Costa Rica is a lot of fun and it is a great opportunity to spend your time with your family and friends, enjoying the flora and fauna of this amazing country.
If you would like to experience this very special week, please let us know! We would love to put together a special customized itinerary for you. But keep in mind that this is the busiest week of the year and hotels, tours and transportation options often fill up 6 months in advance!
Written by Kertu Tutt, marketing intern