Vehicle restrictions in the Costa Rican capital will be temporarily suspended for the holidays beginning Monday, Dec. 23, and will be reinstated on Monday, Jan. 6, Traffic Police Director German Sandí Marín announced on Thursday.
The last day of the restriction, which prohibits certain vehicles from traveling in downtown San José and on the Circunvalación, a belt route around the city, is Friday, Dec. 20, the same day that most government offices close for the holidays.
Sandí said that 650 Traffic Police officers will be monitoring checkpoints to catch speeders, drunk drivers and motorists who haven’t paid their marchamos, or mandatory car insurance.
Those operations began on Dec. 1 in the central cantons of each province, he said.
Beginning Dec. 25, Traffic Police officers will monitor transit out of the Central Valley to tourist destinations throughout the country. Another group of police officers will monitor the large year-end activities in the capital, such as the Zapote Fiestas (with Tico bullfights, carnivals and other events) and the National Horse Parade, or Tope, among others.
In January, roadside checks will focus on people traveling to the Palmares Fiestas in Alajuela, north of the capital, and the Santa Cruz Fiestas in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
Festival de la Luz to light up San José on Saturday
The traditional Festival de la Luz, or Festival of Lights, takes place tomorrow in downtown San José. Traffic Police are preparing a special security operation that includes 120 officers who will begin patrolling on Friday.
Traffic around La Sabana Park, in western San José, will be regulated beginning at midnight on Friday to allow for the arrival of floats participating in the Saturday parade.
At noon on Saturday, Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda will be closed to traffic due to the festival, which begins at 4 p.m. with a costume parade. Floats and marching bands will join the festivities at 6 p.m.
The street closures on Saturday are expected to affect traffic on other main routes, including the General Cañas Highway, which connects San José with the province of Alajuela, and sections of the Circunvalación.
Traffic Police recommend avoiding driving in the western section of the capital on Saturday, if possible.