EASTER • SAMANA SANTA in Costa Rica - NO ALCOHOL!!!
WHAT'S EASTER • SAMANA SANTA LIKE IN COSTA RICA??
It's STILL "DRY"!!!
The BAN On the Sale of Liquor is STILL IN EFFECT!!
Semana Santa or Holy Week (aka EASTER) is right around the corner - which means, with all the talk that's been going on within the government - sadly, nothing has happend yet to change the law which translates to you the consumer - restaurants, bars and grocery stores+ in Costa Rica will STAY "DRY" - meaning
NO ALCOHOL CAN BE SOLD/served ANYWHERE within Costa Rica!!!!
WHEN IS THIS IN EFFECT?
It starts at 12:01am (just after midnight) on Thursday - April 5 until I believe 12:01am (just after midnight) - Saturday - April 7. You HAVE to go into a grocery store to see this as it's a trip, as they LITERALLY have to cover/tape up ALL the liquor sections!!
SAY WHAT? BUT I'M ON VACATION!! HOW CAN I WORK AROUND IT?
There are only 3 potential solutions/scenarios to work WITH it:
#1 - Get your alcohol at least the day before (where lines WILL most likely be LONG with people doing the same thing) & BRING IT WITH YOU!!!!
#2 - Most bars (IF they're open) and restaurants will allow you to bring your own - but for their sake (because fines are VERY HIGH if they break the law - including being closed down for a period of time), please bring some sort of cup that doesn't show what's in it and do NOT leave the bottle out.
#3 - Some places (mainly places geared towards tourists) will get creative and "get around this" law by offering some sort of all-inclusive PARTY/Fiesta with a set price for food and drinks (not cheap usually as it is often an open-bar).
WHY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AND NOT EASTER SUNDAY?
Costa Rican's seem to take these 2 holy days quite seriously (well - at least in MOST businesses) - practically shutting down towns not relying on the tourist $$!!!
BUT WASN'T THE GOVERNMENT TALKING ABOUT STOPPING THIS PRACTICE OF BANNING ALCOHOL DURING SAMANA SANTA AND ELECTION WEEKENDS?
"The new "ley de licores" would leave the implementation of whether to ban sales of liquor during Semana Santa and in elections. However, the text has not been approved and the bill is currently before the Comisión de consultas de Constitucionalidad de la Asamblea Legislativa (legislative commission) as directed by the Constitutional Court.
WHAT'S EASTER•SAMANA SANTA LIKE IN COSTA RICA?
Depends on where you are! MANY people in the past go to the BEACH where it's INSANELY PACKED!! Heck - some people even camp on the beaches during this time!!! EVERYTHING there will mean a LONG WAIT - at restaurants, most tours will book WELL in advance, prices will JUMP UP BIG TIME - especially on hotels, airfares and car rentals (Christmas/New Years and Easter/Samana Santa prices can double+ that of Green/Low season!) and don't be surprised if gas prices go up a LOT (oh - they JUST did - 21¢ a liter today!! But that happens in the U.S. also)
I LOVE this as the Central Valley is like a Ghost Town so there's SOOOO LITTLE Traffic and it's SOOOO much quieter!! Though this year will be interesting since MANY people seem to be cutting back in their spending.
BUT - with that said, I'd bet it's safe to say about 95+% of the restaurants and businesses close - especially for that Thursday and Friday (if not the whole weekend). Markets/grocery stores usually go on shorter hours. EPA is usually open.
ALL banks WILL be closed Thursday and Friday (with LONG lines on Wednesday) and trust me - MANY ATM machines WILL run out of money so PLAN ACCORDINGLY!!!
WHAT CAN I DO IF I DON'T WANT TO GO TO WITH THE MASSES TO THE BEACH???
Malls (and many of the stores in them) and movie theatres are usually open. This is a GREAT time to do some of the tourist things you've been wanting to do around the country like La Paz Waterfall Gardens - http://WaterFallGardens.com or MY FAV - you MUST check out the VIP Movie Theatre (or their GIANT screen iMax Theatre) at Nova Cinema in Escazu - a MUST do in your life time!! The VIP theatre has it's own VIP Lounge with a full bar and serving panini's, carmel corn, sushi++ - then you go into the theatre and sit in BIG COMFY leather electric recliners (that practically go back into sleeping position) and while you're watching the movie, waiters come around and SERVE YOU!!!! And it's JUST 5,000-colones - $10!!!! (in the U.S. this would be $20-$40!!!).
WHERE WILL I EAT?
Well, sadly and Goddess-forbid, the safest bet are Americana/gringo establishments like McDonald's, Pizza Hut, probably TGIFridays, Tony Romas, Hooters, Taco Bell, Subway, Quiznos, Burger King, KFC and the like. IF I have the time/desire, I'll look into finding a few NON-gringo places open at least in the Escazu area and share it here. And there's always grocery stores!!
TRAVELING AROUND COSTA RICA DURING THIS TIME:
WARNING - don't EVEN think of driving FROM the beach East-bound especially that Wednesday (April 4) and Thursday (April 5) - or back FROM the beach on Sunday (April 8) and possibly some other days or parts of days in between) as some roads are CLOSED to traffic NOT going in the direction of the masses. Either way - you'll be in TRAFFIC for HOURS - or worse if there's an accident!!
Do YOU have anything to add to this???
Know of any NON-beach area restaurant or business open that Thursday and Friday??
Please get me the info (and ideally their website or Facebook Page) and I'll add them onto this list!!
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Easter / Samana Sante in Costa Rica - NO ALCOHOL Thurs & Fri!!
EASTER • SAMANA SANTA in Costa Rica - NO ALCOHOL!!!