What’s Open, What’s Closed During Semana Santa
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, for many may be a time of prayer and solemn processions, but many Ticos opt for a beach vacation. While coastal destinations invariably will be crowded from now until after Easter on April 4, the capital city of San José will be pleasantly free of congestion, and license plate restrictions will be lifted for the entire week before Easter.
With much of the population traveling during this time, the Transit Police will be out in force on the highways, armed with a new – and much stricter – Transit Law, checking cars and watching for reckless or drunken drivers.
Most businesses will be closed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday (April 1 and 2), and a dry law prohibits the sale of alcohol from midnight Wednesday, March 31, until midnight Saturday.
The following is a list of what’s open and what’s closed during Semana Santa.
Government offices: Following an edict from the Casa Presidencial, most government offices will be closed March 29 – April 2.
Hospitals and pharmacies: Rest assured that public hospital emergency rooms will remain open 24 hours a day. The Red Cross (128 or 911) and National Insurance Institute (INS, 800-800-8000) also will attend to emergencies at all hours.
The emergency rooms and pharmacies at private hospitals Clínica Bíblica (2522-1000), in downtown San José, Clínica Católica (2283-6616), in the northeastern suburb of Guadalupe, and CIMA (2208-1000), in the western suburb of Escazú, also will be open 24 hours a day.
Banks: BAC San José agencies (2295-9797) will operate as usual Monday and Tuesday, closing at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, they will close at 5:30 p.m. and will be back in operation the following Monday. Agencies in malls will be closed Thursday and Friday but will open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Scotiabank (2210-4000) will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and reopen Monday. Banco Nacional (2211-2000), Banco Popular (2211-7000), Bancrédito (2551-3011), and Banco de Costa Rica (2287-9000) will be closed from Thursday through Monday.
Supermarkets: The dry law will be in effect from Wednesday at midnight through Saturday. Bars will be sealed shut and restaurants and supermarkets will be prohibited from selling liquor, including wine and beer, for the 72-hour period.
Auto Mercado stores (2257-4242) in downtown San José and Los Yoses will be closed Thursday and Friday. Other stores of the chain will offer a special schedule that was not defined by mid-week. Muñoz y Nanne (2253-4646), in the eastern suburb of San Pedro, will operate as usual except on Friday, when it will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saretto (2228-6703), in Escazú, will be closed Thursday and Friday.
All stores in the supermarket chain Más x Menos (2243-7100) will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, except for its store in Jacó, which will be open until 10 p.m. on Thursday and 9 p.m. on Friday. The Mas x Menos stores on Cuesta de Moras in San José and in Alajuela will be closed on those days. Hipermás (2286-0033) will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. Palí stores (2243-7100) will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.
Call the Megasuper Supermarket Chain (2246-0400) for its schedule.
PriceSmart (2283-9464, 2288-0008, 2262-4848, 2297-2343) stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. They will be closed on Friday.
Mail and shipping: Correos de Costa Rica (2202-2900) will be closed from Thursday to Monday. Aerocasillas (2208-4848) will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and will reopen on Saturday. DHL (2209-6000) will be closed from Thursday to Monday.
Embassies: The British Embassy (2258-2025) will be closed from Thursday until Tuesday, April 6. The Canadian (2242-4400), U.S. (2220-3939) and French (2234-4167) embassies will be closed from Thursday until Monday.
Veterinarians: The National University (UNA) veterinary hospital in Barreal de Heredia (2260-9234) is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Dr. Bitter’s clinics in San José and Escazú (2227-5017) will be closed Thursday and Friday. Dr. Adrián Molina (2228-1909, emergency 2225-2500) in Escazú will be closed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.