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National holidays in Costa Rica are few, much less than in other parts of the world. There are mandatory holidays, which are days off by law, and festive days, which are not mandatory. Any employee required to work on a mandatory holiday must be paid double wage, due to this reason most offices, stores and services close on mandatory holidays. The only exception to the rule are supermarkets, gas stations, and emergency services.


  • January 1: New Year's Day. New Year's Eve is not mandatory, but most places close early on the 31st of december.
  • April 11: Day of Juan Santamaría (national hero).
  • Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. The date varies each year. 
  • May 1: Labor day
  • July 25th: Day of annexation of Nicoya.
  • August 1 - 2: Pilgrimage to the Basilica de Los Angeles in Cartago. Most places close down at noon on the 1st of August, and the 2nd is a mandatory holiday.
  • August 15: Mother's Day
  • September 15: Independence Day
  • October 12: Day of Cultures
  • December 25: Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is not mandatory, and most commerce will open all day on the 24th.

August 2 and October 12 are semi-mandatory, which means that if the employee wants to take the day off, he can with no consequences, but will not be paid. The rest are paid holidays. 

Holy Week (Easter week)Edit

The week that ends with Holy Thursday and Good Friday is known as Holy Week. Only two days (thursday and friday) are mandatory holidays. However, many offices and small companies will close down the entire week. 

Christmas holidaysEdit

Only Christmas Day is a mandatory holiday in December. However the law mandates that employees must receive 2 weeks off for every 50 weeks worked, which works out pretty well for the Christmas holidays. Many workplaces will distribute those 2 weeks between easter and christmas, creating spaces of several days off for employees.

Small offices and specialty commerce will normally close around the 20th of December, and come back the first Monday after the New Year. Government follows similar rules. You should take this into account if you have any needs that may require paperwork in a public office in December. 

The dates between the 26th and 31st of December will probably be off for most people that work in services, with the exception of customer service employees. Most doctors and practitioners will also close on the 24th and not be back until the New Year.