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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Cappello

Easter Week - Semana Santa - in Costa Rica: A Guide for Travelers

Updated: Mar 2

Costa Rica is a country brimming with natural wonders, vibrant culture, and diverse traditions. Among its most cherished celebrations is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, a time when the country comes alive with religious fervor, colorful processions, and community gatherings. If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, you may want to consider the challenges (and rewards) that arise for travelers during this busy time. Let’s take a deeper look! A visit to our website will also give you lots of information about vacationing in Costa Rica!

Semana Santa traces its origins back to the Spanish colonial era when Catholicism was introduced to the region. The week leading up to Easter Sunday is a time of reflection, prayer, and commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Costa Ricans, like many Latin American countries, have embraced these traditions, blending Catholic rituals with indigenous customs to create a unique cultural tapestry.

Semana Santa is marked by a series of religious processions, reenactments, and cultural events that vary from region to region. In the capital city of San Jose, elaborate processions wind through the streets, with participants adorned in traditional attire and carrying statues depicting scenes from the Bible. In towns and villages across the country, locals gather for communal meals, church services, and artistic performances that celebrate the spirit of the season.

One of the most iconic Semana Santa traditions in Costa Rica is the creation of intricate sawdust carpets, known as alfombras, which decorate city streets during religious processions. These temporary art installations are meticulously crafted by hand and often feature vibrant colors, intricate designs, and religious symbols.

For tourists planning to visit Costa Rica during Semana Santa, it's essential to be aware of the potential challenges and opportunities that come with traveling during this time. While Semana Santa offers a unique opportunity to become immersed in Costa Rica's rich cultural heritage, it also brings certain logistical considerations.

The influx of domestic tourists during Semana Santa can lead to crowded streets, fully booked accommodations, and higher prices for transportation and activities. Additionally, many businesses and attractions may have modified hours or closures during the holiday week, impacting travel plans. Many Costa Ricans flock to beach towns during Semana Santa, so if you are planning a beach vacation, you may find that accommodations are hard to come by and require booking far in advance. For help with planning your trip, we can build a custom itinerary to meet your needs. Visit our homepage for details.

For those who prefer to avoid the crowds and higher prices associated with Semana Santa, consider visiting Costa Rica before or after Semana Santa. December through April is dry and sunny on the Pacific coast. And while October and November can be rainy on the Pacific side, the weather on the Caribbean side is ideal at this time of year. 

If you decide to travel during Semana Santa, book your accommodations and transportation (car rental, private driver, or shared shuttles) as early as you can. We also recommend that you stay open minded and flexible, understanding that for many Costa Ricans, this is their annual vacation time, and they want to enjoy it as much as you do! Whenever you come, we welcome you! Our travel blog has lots of helpful articles for anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica. Stop by today! We have articles about rental car tips, transportation options, and much more. ¡Pura Vida!


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