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Prohibition during Easter week in Costa Rica


Prohibition during Easter week in Costa RicaThe United States had Prohibition from 1920 – 1933, promoted by a “dry” crusaders movement and led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties.

82 Years later, 26 municipalities in Costa Rica still prohibit the sale of liquor in bars, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and  liquor stores during Thursday and Friday (2nd and 3rd of April 2015) in Easter week. The local police will make sure the liquor department in the grocery stores will be covered and taped off with plastic or some other smart way to stop you from buying it (as shown in photo at the end of this blog) and there will be no beer or other liquor expended anywhere. (Administrative court has ruled against the ban in August 2016 – Editor)

Of course, that doesn’t mean you will not see anybody drinking during those days. Those who live in those municipalities prohibiting the sale of liquor during Holy Thursday and Friday will make sure they purchase their rum, whiskey and beer on Wednesday. It is the unsuspecting foreigner who will be in trouble when they run out of their favorite alcoholic drink.

I know, I might seem worried to you about this whole liquor Prohibition, in Spanish called “Ley Seca”, but those who know me well are aware that I’m not much of a drinker, even though there is a photo on this website where I have a Bloody Mary in my hand. 

I have a lot of clients who read Ivos blog who I know will appreciate the heads up on this. Easter week is the time of the year when Costa Rica has the highest temperatures. Even though I’m not much of a beer drinker since I was in my twenties, there is nothing nicer than an ice-cold beer when it’s hot.


A cold Imperial at the right time


Only Holy Thursday and Friday are official holidays but it is customary for many who live in the Central Valley to go to the beach for the whole week. There was a time that even the municipalities in the beach areas in Costa Rica had the Prohibition, but with pressure from hotels and restaurants there was a change in the liquor law in 2012 that allowed the municipalities to take an individual decision on disabling the Prohibition or not. 

Can you imagine all those people on vacation, staying in a 5-star hotel and not being able to order a piña colada? It’s bad for business and I’m glad most municipalities got smarter enough to think of tourism and their tax payers. In 2009 the Election Court of Costa Rica had already eliminated the Prohibition on Election Day, which was a real good move since tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in Costa Rica.  

If you are worried about not being able to get any alcoholic beverages during Easter, check if you live in any of the following municipalities: Heredia, Santa Barbara de Heredia, San Isidro de Heredia, Flores, Bagaces, Esparza, Cartago, El Guarco de cartago, La Unión, Jiménez, Turrialba, Alvarado, Oreamuno, Puriscal, Tarrazú, Aserrí, Alajuelita, Vázquez de Coronado, Moravia, Montes de Oca (San Pedro and surrounding areas), Palmares, Poás, Dota and Cañas. 


I left the two most important municipalities that don’t allow liquor sales during “Jueves and Viernes Santo” for last because we have a lot of clients in those areas: Atenas and Naranjo.

If you still miss your chance of getting your beers in time, you will find fruits everywhere and you can make delicious mango juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, sweet lime juice, papaya juice, melon juice and hundreds of other juices and still enjoy life in Paradise. If you are a religious person and you’re looking to go to church during Easter, read this blog.


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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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