Everybody loves the holidays. The chance to forget work and enjoy the sun is gratefully accepted by Ticos and expats alike, with many taking to the beach.
However, a surefire way to put a downer on the season is to get caught without food, money or any of life’s other little essentials, such as beer.
Here is a list of what is open and what is closed during Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week), to ensure your break goes swimmingly.
Government offices: Following an edict from the Casa Presidencial, most government offices will be closed on Wednesday March 19.
Hospitals and pharmacies: Rest assured that public hospital emergency rooms will remain open 24 hours a day. The Red Cross (128) and National Insurance Institute (INS) (800-800-8000) also attend to emergencies at all hours.
The emergency rooms and pharmacies at private hospitals Clínica Bíblica (522-1000), in downtown San José, Clínica Católica (283-6616), in the suburb of Guadalupe, northeast of San José and CIMAHospital (208-1000) in Escazú will also be open 24 hours throughout the holiday period.
Banks: Branches of BAC San José (295-9797), Banco Popular (211-7000), Scotiabank (210-4000) and Banco de Costa Rica (287-9000) will be closed on March 20 and 21. Banco Cuscatlán (299-0200), HSBC (287-1111) and Banco Nacional (211-2000) had not confirmed their opening hours at press time. Opening times for Banca Promérica will vary over the holiday period – contact your branch for more information.
Telephone numbers are available at http://www.promerica.fi.cr/sucursales. ATMs will, of course, remain in service.
Supermarkets: All those who enjoy a tipple should be aware that the nation’s dry law will be in effect on March 20-21. Bars will be sealed shut and restaurants and supermarkets are prohibited from selling liquor for 48 hours on Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21. Of the major supermarket chains, Más x Menos (243-7100), Palí (243-7100) and Megasuper (246-0400) had not confirmed their hours at press time. Muñoz y Nanne (253-4646) in San Pedro, east of San José, will be operating as normal, but Saretto (228-6703) in the western suburb of Escazú will be closed on March 20 and 21.
PriceSmart (283-9464, 288-0008, 262-6365) stores in Escazú, Heredia and the southeastern district of Zapote will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 20 but will be closed all day March 21.
Hipermás (286-0033) in San Sebastián, south of San José, Heredia, Cartago, Escazú, Curridabat, and Guadalupe will be open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on March 20 and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on March 21.
Auto Mercado (257-4242) stores are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on March 20 with the exception of the branch in downtown San José, which will close at 3 p.m. On March 21, all stores in the Central Valley will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of the branches in San José and Los Yoses, which will be closed. The branches at Herradura and Tamarindo will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mail and shipping: Correos de Costa Rica (202-2900) will close on Mar. 19 at midday and will not reopen until Monday, March 24. Similarly, Aerocasillas (208-4848) will close at 3 p.m. on March 19 and will not reopen until the following week. DHL (209-7070) will be open as normal on March 19 but will be closed on March 20 and 21.
Embassies: Holiday closures at major embassies are as follows: The British Embassy (258-2025) will be closed March 20, 21 and 24. The Canadian Embassy (242-4400), U.S. Embassy (220-3939) and French Embassy (234-4167) are all closed on March 20 and 21.
For ideas of things to do during Holy Week and beyond, consult the listings in the Weekend Section of The Tico Times.
The Tico Times will not publish again until March 28.