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Plan Your Easter Holiday in Costa Rica: Traditions, Things to Do & Where to Stay

The Easter holiday in Costa Rica is renowned for its abundant sunshine, vibrant festivities, and bustling atmosphere. Locally referred to as Semana Santa or Holy Week – a holiday week that typically falls anywhere from late March to early April – the season is characterized by a tapestry of traditions, Spring Break travel, and delightful weather, offering warm sunshine, vibrant landscapes, and lively beaches.

Whether you’re spending the Easter holiday in Costa Rica due to your children’s school break, an interest in Latin American Easter customs, or simply the allure of this dynamic season, Costa Rica’s Holy Week promises an unforgettable experience. Welcome! Because you’re in for an incredible vacation filled with cultural immersion, radiant sun, and plenty of activity.

Note: While Costa Rica’s Easter week is extraordinary, it’s also two more things: 1) Often crowded, especially at the beach (this is one of the busiest weeks of the year); and 2) A somber event that, for much of Costa Rica’s religious population, is the most important five-day (Holy Wednesday through Easter Sunday) stretch of the year. Respect is paramount.

But First, What is Semana Santa, aka the Easter Holiday in Costa Rica?

Semana Santa, alternately known as Holy Week, Easter Week, and even Spring Break (because for many, that’s what it is), is for some a week of deep religious significance and for others, a week of wild bacchanalia and late-night spring break parties.

Wherever you fall on the pendulum – and, chances are, you’re likely somewhere in between the two extremes – this time of year offers a much-needed break from the winter blues and the lengthy first quarter on the corporate calendar (or the second semester for younger members of the family). It’s an opportunity for an elevated retreat, featuring luxury beach vacation rentals, ocean-view infinity pools, world-class surf, tropical forest hikes, and all the amenities you could desire for your getaway.

This time of year often also represents some of the best weather of the year – sun, sun everywhere! – making it an ideal destination for a rejuvenating and unforgettable experience.

Easter Traditions in Costa Rica

The Easter holiday in Costa Rica carries deep religious significance, where Catholicism is the country’s official religion. The observance begins with preparations starting from Ash Wednesday and continues through Lent, during which time one of the most widespread traditional practices involves adorning crosses with purple, black, and white drapes, symbolizing Jesus’ journey to resurrection.

Culinary customs during this time include the preparation of chiverre squash treats – a type of spaghetti squash, cooked down and sweetened with raw sugarcane – and seafood dishes, reflecting Lenten fasting practices. Coastal areas become particularly popular destinations for families during the holiday, leading to a surge in beach-bound travelers. (Note: This means that luxury beach vacation rentals book up quickly, often many months to a year+ in advance. Book early, if you can!)

Additionally, communities across the country host events on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, with Easter Sunday being of lesser significance, although some churches organize Joyful Resurrection processions. While witnessing these traditions can provide fascinating insights into Costa Rican culture, also understand that much of the country’s population is deeply religious, and these processions are solemn religious ceremonies.

On Holy Thursday, one can observe the procession of the Last Supper, featuring representations of Jesus, the apostles, and Mary figures, often conducted in reverent silence. The procession typically commences at a designated point and concludes at a church, where the Last Supper is re-enacted. All are welcome to attend.

Good Friday ushers in the most elaborate events – that is, in the towns that host processions (not all do) – with a route adorned with the 14 stations of the cross, intricately designed and decorated. Participants, portraying figures such as Jesus, the Roman court, soldiers, and disciples, traverse the route in elaborate attire, evoking a profound spiritual and religious experience. All are welcome to attend.

It’s worth noting that in the past, alcohol sales were traditionally prohibited from midnight on Holy Wednesday through Good Friday. However, this regulation has since undergone some updating, with municipalities now having autonomy over alcohol sales during this period. In popular beach areas like Tamarindo, alcohol is readily available, even during these holy days.

Activities, Adventures & Attractions: What to Do during the Easter Holiday in Costa Rica

As we so often say, what you do in Costa Rica is largely a function of what you want to do. The truth is, we’ve lived here for years and still haven’t done it all – there’s just so much to do that, as soon as you’ve done it all, there’s another new thing to do!

So, we say, you do you: Are you an adrenaline junkie? Relaxation royalty? Family traveler? Nature aficionado? Because check, check, check, and check – Costa Rica has you covered!

That said, here are a few things you should at least put on your radar:


Costa Rica is known for many things (and we’ll get to many of those many things, in just a moment!) but great surf is arguably one of our greatest claims to fame. Depending on your destination, the Easter holiday in Costa Rica can serve up swells from north and south, pumping out huge surf (and gentle waves, in some spots), big breaks (and mild crests), and rolling barrels that for decades have inspired both die-hard surfers and newbies alike.

Whether you’re looking for some beginner surf spots where you won’t get in over your head (literally) or are ready to tackle advanced surfing destinations world-renowned for their huge waves, big barrels, hard rights and lefts, Costa Rica is happy to serve up some of the best in the world. And that’s no exaggeration.

ATV Explorations

For those with a thirst for adrenaline, there’s no finer method to traverse Costa Rica’s rugged terrain, seaside cliffs, and expansive landscapes than atop an ATV, or all-terrain vehicle. Excursions typically span a few hours, or you can opt to rent an ATV for a solo adventure. Pro tip: For an extra dose of thrill, pair your ATV escapade with a canopy tour.

Sport Fishing

With its abundance of rivers and proximity to the Pacific, Costa Rica provides year-round opportunities for both freshwater and deep-sea fishing enthusiasts. From colossal yellowfin tuna to delectable mahi-mahi, Costa Rica boasts a plethora of challenging and prized catches.

Birding & Wildlife Watching

As the habitat for over 4% of the world’s biodiversity, Costa Rica is a sanctuary for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Accompanied by knowledgeable naturalist guides, explorers can traverse dry forests, mangroves, and beaches in search of myriad species, from familiar favorites like spider monkeys and sloths to elusive rarities such as humpback whales and leatherback turtles.

Canopy Zipline Tours

Arguably the quintessential adventure activity in Costa Rica, canopy tours are a must for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Soar through the treetops hundreds of feet above ground, reaching speeds that are guaranteed to thrill. Take the plunge from Tarzan swing platforms for exhilarating pendulum swings of over 100 feet. Descend waterfalls and tree trunks via rappelling. Scale a 100-foot rock wall. Prepare for an unforgettable experience.

Tee Up for Golfing

Costa Rica offers a variety of exceptional golf courses, especially in north-western Costa Rica. For example, the Reserva Conchal Golf Club features a world-class course designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones II, offering a championship course with a par of 71. Alternatively, venture a bit further south to the Golf Course at Hacienda Pinilla, a prizewinning, 7,200-yard, par-72 course crafted by architect Mike Young. Both courses boast breathtaking scenery, including mesmerizing ocean vistas.

Dive into Scuba Diving

For those yearning to explore the ocean’s depths, embark on a scuba diving expedition. One of our favorite trips visits the Catalina Islands, a small island archipelago that serves as a sanctuary for a diverse array of marine life, including giant manta rays boasting wingspans of up to 20 feet. Optimal diving conditions prevail from November through May, offering visibility extending 35-80 feet. If Easter Week comes early, whale sightings are possible through March, as are increased populations of various ray species.

Or Go Shallow While Snorkeling

If you prefer to stay closer to the ocean’s surface, a snorkeling excursion is the ideal choice. Fortunately, snorkeling conditions mirror those of scuba diving, with the best times being November through May. Afternoon boat excursions welcome snorkelers to explore nearby reefs, often pairing the adventure with a sunset sail.

Day Spas

Indulge and unwind! Costa Rica caters to relaxation as well as adventure and day spas stand ready to provide outdoor and in-home treatments, alleviating tension with traditional remedies, expert techniques, and innovative therapies. Choose from an array of aromatherapy, natural salves, and local remedies to tailor your spa experience to your journey – whether it’s a volcanic mud body wrap at the foot of a volcano or a Swedish massage with local coconut oil along the Pacific shores.

And if you crave the spa experience paired with ultimate indulgence, ask us about reserving spa services from the comfort of one of our luxury beach vacation rentals.

Where to Stay During Easter Week in Costa Rica

As we’ve mentioned, Easter Week is one of the most popular times of year and vacation homes – especially luxury beach vacation rentals in popular coastal towns – often book months to a year+ in advance.

To fuel your vacation planning, here are a few homes to consider:

Casa Leon

Hacienda Pinilla | 8 Beds | 8 Baths | 16 Guests

Just a few steps from the beach, Casa Leon is a hidden treasure amidst the wonders of Hacienda Pinilla. Because here, in one of Costa Rica’s most unforgettable communities and indescribable destinations, Casa Leon adds its own layers of extraordinary and unforgettable vacation moments.

The perfect choice for families and large groups, Casa Leon delivers everything you expect of a luxury vacation home – a gourmet kitchen, a striking private pooloutdoor living and dining, and stunning design – paired with breakfast preparation (5 days/week), walls of glass, palatial interiors, and what is arguably Hacienda Pinilla’s best location: steps to the beach and just 60 yards down the sand to the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club.

Come the green season, Casa Leon offers that just-right balance of activity and relaxation. Spend your sunny hours on the links (72-par golf course!), the court (clay tennis courts!), the trails (miles for hiking and biking!), or the sands (three of the most pristine beaches in the country!). And then, during a storm, enjoy the lightning show and the pitter-patter of rain from one of your many balconies and terraces. Welcome to tranquility.

>> Inquire Here

Casa Descanza

Hacienda Pinilla | 6 Beds | 4 Baths | 12 Guests

A call to relaxation – descansa means “rest,” in Spanish – Casa Descanza is one of the world’s special places. A true escape, refuge, and retreat, the home is a luxurious respite where you can as easily do nothing as do everything.

That’s because Casa Descanza is located within the exclusive beachside community of Hacienda Pinilla, where you can ride a golf cart to three beaches, hiking and biking trails, tennis courts, horseback riding stables, and, of course, the golf course. Or, as we said – choose to do nothing but relax at Casa Descanza, where you’ll enjoy a private world of leisure and recreational opportunity.

For, as chill as the home is, Casa Descanza is a Spanish-style mansion designed to impress. Overlooking the golf course and fronting the best in outdoor living, this home welcomes you to its outdoor pool and indoor-outdoor terrace, replete with sofas, lounging chairs, and outdoor dining with a grill. All, overlooking the lush links of Hacienda Pinilla’s famed par-72, 7,200-yard championship golf course!

>> Inquire Here

Planning an Easter Holiday in Costa Rica?

When you reserve one of our Costa Rica beachfront villas or vacation rentals, you’re guaranteeing yourself both a spectacular vacation home and full (and FREE) travel concierge services.

So, what does that mean? After you make your reservation, your personal concierge will get in touch. She’ll send our welcome book, which includes plenty of details about the Tamarindo area, activities, tours, and other need-to-know information. Then, your concierge will follow up, in order to know you and your travel group as well as s/he knows Tamarindo.

After you’ve built your must-see, must-experience list, your concierge will help you build your trip around your wish list: tours, adventures, spa services, personal chefs – whatever you seek, your concierge will source. Then, s/he will book them all on your behalf, with zero markup.

And, while you’re here, your personal concierge is on call to attend any problems, questions, or other issues. You’re never without helping, and that itself is its own amenity.

The post Plan Your Easter Holiday in Costa Rica: Traditions, Things to Do & Where to Stay appeared first on Luxury Villas Costa Rica.

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Plan Your Easter Holiday in Costa Rica: Traditions, Things to Do & Where to Stay


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