The 2013 Christmas shopping season is history for retailers who now set their sights on the next biggest buying season, the back to school shopping season.

Some stores in downtown San José have already replaced their holiday store windows to focus on school supplies, as parents of almost 1 million school children head out to buy books, pencils, pens, uniforms and more.

IMG_0395Experts recommend parents do price comparison before shopping, as prices can vary up to 50% on the same or similar items at different retailers.

In addition, parents should look for specials, as retailers battle it out to get customers through their doors.

A check on prices by CRHOy.com reveals that a 100 page notebook can range from as little as ¢420 colones to as mush as ¢4.995, more than 10 times. An eraser can cost as little as ¢420 and as much as ¢700. The same for pencil sharpners, construction paper, lunch boxes, etc…

The public school year in Costa Rica runs from February to December, with a two week holiday break in July. The first day of public school in 2014 is February 10. The calendar year for private schools can vary some from public schools, like the British School of Costa Rica that starts is 2014 calendar year on January 22.