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7 Mar 2023
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Holiday Vacations

In Costa Rica, there is only one other holiday on par with Christmas, and its celebration can be

felt around the country. During one week each spring, Costa Ricans celebrate the biggest

holiday on the Catholic calendar. Unlike in the United States, where Easter is celebrated on one

day, with easter eggs and a bunny, Costa Ricans celebrate the entire holy week: Semana


Traditions of Semana Santa 

Ever since the Spanish first settled in Central America, Catholicism has been the dominant

religion in the area. For Catholics, it is an important holiday as they remember the life, death,

and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In general, the entire Easter holiday is a much bigger

celebration in the Latin world than anywhere else. People attend multiple masses, hold parades,

and many countries celebrate Carnival forty days before Easter, as the last celebration before

lent. Costa Ricans use the Holy Week to have special meals with their family, attend vigils and

mass at church, and attend parades. You can see purple flags and decorations hanging from

windows and doors of houses, as a way to remember the purple robe of Jesus Christ. Many

towns host a parade in which they carry Jesus (in statue form or reenacted) on the cross

through the town for all to see.


One Busy Week in Costa Rica

For many Costa Ricans, Semana Santa is the ultimate vacation week. Most families from the

city come to the beach for a week of family fun under the sun. Most offices are closed on

Thursday and Friday, and schools and many businesses take the whole week off. Nearby towns

like Jaco and Herradura will be filled with local Cota Ricans enjoying the beach and restaurants.

It also coincides with one of the warmest, dryest weeks of the year, making for the perfect

vacation week. Here in Los Sueños, it is just another week in paradise. But changes are

happening around this time.


Weather Changes During Semana Santa

A little known fact about Easter Sunday, is that it falls on the first Sunday after the first Full moon

after the Spring Equinox (March 22). This is why Easter occurs on a different date each year,

always in April and sometimes at the end of March. In other parts of the world, this might not

mean much. Here in Costa Rica, we are very attuned to the changes in the weather and the

wildlife around us. The first full moon after the Equinox often brings the first rain of the year. Not

to worry, this is usually a short rainfall at night, after several months without any rain. This is also

a time when many species go through changes. Purple and orange mountain crabs can be seen

crossing the road to get to the beach in the thousands. The return of the rain signifies a new

season for plant growth and new generations of animals. Interestingly enough, this time of year

is not only important to practicing Catholics, but also to the local flora and fauna.


How to Celebrate Semana Santa

 Nearly every town in Costa Rica has a Catholic church. And did you know? These churches are

always built facing west. During Semana Santa, there are multiple masses held each day. The

biggest parade usually takes place on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter. You might feel an

extra air of celebration as you arrive in Los Sueños, and you may notice that most tourists are in

fact Costa Ricans, enjoying the holiday. Celebrate like a Costa Rican, with good food and drink,

surrounded by family and friends, on the beach. Here at HRG Vacations and Rentals, we would

be happy to host you.