San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Street and public offices closures will affect capital on Friday during Obama visit

The visit of U.S. President Barack Obama, who will attend a meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA) on Friday, will alter the daily lives of Ticos in the central canton of San José, as Friday will be a day off for all public workers.

Obama arrives in Costa Rica at 2:05 p.m. and will be received by President Laura Chinchilla at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, north of San José.

Traffic along the General Cañas Highway – which connects the capital with the province of Alajuela – and on 2nd Avenue in downtown San José, will be blocked at different times during the afternoon, starting at Paseo Colón.

There also will be intermitent street closures in Route 27 (San José-Puntarenas) and on the Circunvalación, a belt route around the capital. The hours and exact locations of the president’s travels were not disclosed due to security protocols, Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said in a press conference Tuesday.

Obama will arrive at the Foreign Ministry in San José’s Barrio Amón, where he will meet with Chinchilla at 3:05 p.m. They will hold a press conference at the National Cultural Centre, across the street, at 5:05 p.m. He will then move to the National Theater, where the first part of the meeting of the SICA presidents will be held during a working dinner.

Routes to the hotel where Obama will stay will also be blocked. The U.S. president may stay at a hotel in the canton of Belén, in the province of Heredia, or in Escazú, southwest of San José.

Most public services in the central canton of the capital and in the province of Alajuela will be suspended Friday. This means that public banks, the Immigration Administration, the Finance Ministry, the National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Culture will be closed to general public.

Patient visitation is suspended as well at Calderón Guardia Hospital on Friday, except for very special cases that will be decided by the hospital’s administration. Calderón Guardia Hospital was selected as the official medical facility for any emergency that might occur during the president’s events.

Officials from the Social Security System, or Caja, reported on its Facebook page that “all medical services in all other hospitals will operate normally on Friday, May 3.”  Local health centers, or EBAIS clinics, health administration facilities and hospitals will work regular hours. Only the Caja’s administrative offices located in the central canton will be closed.

The Comptroller General’s Office and the Agriculture Ministry in front of La Sabana Park also will be closed, as well as the campus of the University of Costa Rica (east of San José), where all Friday classes are suspended.

The Public Works and Transport Ministry reported that driving permit offices located in La Uruca (west of San José), Paso Ancho (south) and in the province of Alajuela will be closed.

All artistic performances at the National Theater, Melico Salazar Theater and Vargas Calvo Theater (behind the National Theater) also are suspended on Thursday and Friday. Plays and concerts will resume on Saturday as previously scheduled.

On Saturday, official activities begin at 11 a.m., when Obama attends a meeting with businessmen from the region at the Antigua Aduana facilities, where he will briefly stay. The U.S. president takes off on Air Force-1 back to Washington, D.C. at around noon on Saturday.

Contact L. Arias at

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