Update Nov. 16 7:26 a.m.: Part of the City Mall parking lot flooded Sunday afternoon after strong rains soaked Alajuela. Firemen report that the flooding was caused when part of the parking garage collapsed, trapping water inside. There were no reports of injuries and the mall will operate as normal this week.
The long-awaited City Mall opened its doors in Alajuela, north of the capital, on Wednesday to a crowd of more than 1,600 that included Costa Rica’s president, Luis Guillermo Solís. Before you head out on your next shopping spree, here are a few things to know about the giant mall.
1) It’s the biggest mall in Central America
With nearly 200,000 square meters and 330 available storefronts, City Mall is easily the biggest mall in the region. The mall’s developers expect it to reach a market of 800,000 people.
2) Not all the stores are open
The mall is currently operating at 65 percent capacity with 210 stores open for business. Several department stores will open for business on Black Friday, and the mall’s owners plan to have 85 percent of the storefronts filled by the close of the Christmas shopping season.
3) You will be able to drive new roads to get to the mall
In order to accommodate the floods of customers expected, City Mall invested more than ₡4 billion ($7.5 million) to expand the Francisco J. Orlich highway that leads into Alajuela to four lanes, build a pedestrian walkway and create an exclusive entrance to a nearby hospital. The roads are still under construction.
4) The mall is considered an important investment
At full-capacity City Mall will generate more than 3,000 direct and 4,000 indirect jobs.
“These type of investments affirm the solidity that we have in this country,” President Solís said during his inauguration address. “There is confidence in the human talent and leadership of Costa Ricans.”
5) It’s the only place in Costa Rica where you can go sledding
Expected to open on Nov. 21, Snow Fun will be Costa Rica’s first-ever snow-themed amusement park. For ticket packages ranging between ₡4,500 ($8) and ₡20,000 ($38), visitors can build snowmen, have a snowball fight and take a ride down a 42-meter sledding ramp.