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“Black Friday” is a National Holiday in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Living – We all know that Fridays are a very relaxed day in Costa Rica and not much gets done.  Employees normally take about 1/2 the day off talking about or dreaming about their weekends.  But this past Friday was more like a national holiday as it seemed no one went to work.

costa rica black fridayOK, please someone give ME an answer to how was it possible that Multiplaza Escazu on Friday was jam packed with shoppers. Isn’t Friday a work day in Costa Rica? And if everyone is working why isn’t the mall empty, as it is every Friday.

For those who don’t visit Multiplaza Escazu during the week don’t know that there is only one day of the week in this upscale shopping centre where there are actually people, not necessarily buying anything, but people everywhere. That day is Sunday. For the other six days, the mall is “solo” (empty).

But Multiplaza Escazu is not alone in this.

Without question Escazu is the canton with the most shopping centres per capita in the country. Yet, these shopping centres can only count on one day a week for real business. Walmart and Pricesmart are the exceptions, they can count on several more days besides Sundays, typically around the 15th and 30th of the month, pay day, even if they fall during the week.

However, all this Black Friday consumerism had one very positive effect for those who did go to work on Friday.

In my neck of the woods (Escazu – Santa Ana – Cuidad Colon), at 7:00pm there was absolutely no traffic on the Ruta 27. Traffic flowed smoothly from San Jose to past the Santa Ana tolls. No traffic on the Lindora radial. Or the cruce (now rotonda) de Santa Ana.

I got same reports from traffic on the General Cañas, the road to Heredia, the Circunvalacion. Same thing on the east side, confirming that many people took the day off.

I can safely say we can now add “Black Friday” to the list of holidays in Costa Rica. May not be an official holiday, but a legal one, employees using a “sick” day (means they get paid) to shop. And since November is a month without a holiday, it fits.

In case you were asking, the following are the “legal” holidays in Costa Rica.

January 1 – New Year’s Day
March/April – Good Thursday and Good Friday
April 11 – Battle of Rivas
May 1 – Labor Day
July 25 – Annexation of Guanacaste
August 15 – Mother’s Day
September 15 – Independence Day
November – Black Friday – NEW!
November – Cyber MondayNEW!
December 25 – Christmas Day

All the other holidays you hear about, ie. Our Lady of Los Angeles or La Negrida (August), Father’s Day (June), Day ofCultures (October) are not official holidays, but, like Black Friday, workers get to take the day off without consequences.

Article first appeared at

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