While the majority of public institutions and state agencies are closed this coming week, Semana Santa (Holy Week), the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – elections tribunal – will be open all week, including the statutory holidays of Thursday and Friday, to allow Costa Ricans to get a new cedula or pick up a replacement.
The TSE, in San Jose and all regional offices, will be open Saturday (24) and Sunday (25) from 8 am to 4 pm; Monday (26), Tuesday (27) and Wednesday (28) from 7 am to 5 pm, Thursday (29) and Friday (30) from 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday (31) from 8 am to 6 pm and Sunday (1) – election day – from 6 am to 6 pm.
Cedulas at the central offices in San Jose will be issued on the same day. In regional centers, all cedulas requested before Wednesday will be available for pickup on Saturday.
Of note for Semana Santa;
- The offices of the National Registry (property titles, etc) will be closed all week, so will the offices of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) – immigration offices (residency, passports, etc).
- The border posts at Peñas Blancas, Paso Canoas, Sixaola, Sabalito, Tablillas, Los Chiles, Golfito and Limón will be open during Semana Santa
- National and private banks will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – check hours with your branch – and closed on Thursday and Friday. Banks that are normally open on Saturdays and Sundays, ie in malls, will be open their normal hours on those days.
- The toll booths on the autopista General Cañas (by the airport), the Bernardo Soto (Naranjo), Florencio del Castillo (Tres Rios) and the Ruta 32 (Heredia) will be free starting at noon Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The Quickpass on those roads will be suspended during the holidays, Quickpass users will have to pay the tolls in cash. The Ruta 27 (San Jose – Caldera) tolls will operate without interruptions.
- The vehicular restrictions of San Jose are suspended during Semana Santa.
- If you are visiting, don’t get caught by surprise the closing of professional offices and other businesses (ie restaurants, gyms, spas, etc) during Semana Santa. Thursday and Friday are legal holidays, but many businesses close all week. Call ahead first.
- Malls and commercial centers, for the most part, are open all week.
- Sunday, April 1, is election day.
- Traffic volume to the beaches and resorts is expected to pick up starting Wednesday. Leave early, avoid spending more time on the road than you should.
- For traffic returning to the Central Valley, expect Saturday the big volume day, but it doesn’t mean Sunday will be a picnic either. The Ruta 27 will be all lanes to San Jose from Orotina to Cuidad Colon.
- If you are heading out during Semana Santa, a good practice is not to leave your home unattended. Have a trusted person or persons stay at your house or check in regularly. This can apply also to condos with security.
- If you are heading out on the carreteras, do a check of your vehicle: tires, liquids, a general state of repair, etc. Don’t forget the emergency kit. Have tools with you. And water.
- Sunday, April 1 is election day in Costa Rica.
BTW, Semana Santa 2018, if you were not aware, in Costa Rica officially begins on Sunday, March 25 and ends on Saturday, March 31. If you have been around Costa Rica the last couple of days you will have noticed that unofficially Semana Santa began days ago.
Semana Santa is a major Catholic holiday celebrated in Costa Rica with no exception.
Traditions run deep during this special week, and everyone enjoys their much anticipated time off work. Expect a week-long celebration consisting of parades, religious processions & mini-festivals. Plan your travels to, in and around the country accordingly.
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