Edited: June 2021

The miracle week in Costa Rica

Semana Santa is the current Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, in Latin America. Most of the countries in the world celebrate Easter, just for a day or for one weekend. But Costa Rica takes a whole week to celebrate this event! 

It is one of the country’s most important religious holidays because over 75% of Costa Ricans are Catholic. Schools are closed, and the cities are almost empty during Semana Santa.

Easter is for spending time with your loved ones

Thursday and Friday before Easter Day are government mandated holidays, this makes it possible for families to spend time together. Parades are held in many cities, such as San José, Cartago, Heredia, and Guanacaste. Here you will see colorful and authentic costumes, depicting the scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion. 

Costa Ricans usually take the whole week off and head to the beaches. It is not unusual to see the beaches filled with large family groups. 

Costa Rican Easter

It is a special time in Costa Rica, and everything is a bit different than usual. Costa Ricans avoid eating meat during Holy Week, and they eat a lot of fish and seafood instead. Families usually prepare rice and shrimp, ceviche, and fried fish. 

The most popular desserts include “Empanadas con Miel de Chiverre”, “Miel de Coco” and “Arroz con Leche”. 

In the past, it was prohibited to sell alcohol on Holy Thursday. This law was changed a few years ago, and it is now up to each municipality to set its own law. 

In popular beach areas like Tamarindo, you will have no problem buying alcohol on these holy days.

No matter how you spend the holiday, you can be sure to see a variety of religious traditions and a unique aspect of Costa Rican culture.

So, if you plan to visit Costa Rica on Easter you should be aware of some things:

During Easter Week the country’s traffic is extremely busy. Therefore, if you fly into San José, you can expect a lot of traffic jams from Wednesday before Easter, through Easter Sunday. 

The beaches are crowded and most hotels are booked months in advance.

Where to travel during Semana Santa?

If you love lots of activities and watching people, this time will be perfect for you. You can enjoy the energy, music, good food, and family fun in Tamarindo. 

You will for sure get in touch easily with Costa Rican people, and this might be the perfect time to practice your Spanish skills! 

There are also several events during the week around the beaches! Tamarindo is never boring, but during Semana Santa it really does become a different, more alive place.


Image source: http://10feettraveling.com

If you prefer quiet beach walks, Semana Santa may stretch a bit your patience. You should avoid the beaches and go more into the central valley, for example San José, La Fortuna, or Monteverde.

We wish you Happy Easter!! 🙂