Home Uncategorized “Good Friday” is ice cream for lunch in Zarcero

“Good Friday” is ice cream for lunch in Zarcero

by Shelly Rivoli
Ice cream for lunch in Zarcero, Costa Rica, on Good Friday

Sometimes, you’ve just got to go with it, even if “it” means ice cream for lunch.

Traveling in Costa Rica during the Easter Holy Week, you can expect some things with certainty: You will have the pleasure of seeing many crosses decorated with purple shawls and flowers in front yards, you will likely cross paths with a religious procession at some point in your journey, and you will have a hard time finding anywhere to buy food over Easter weekend.

When we embarked on a long day’s drive on winding mountain roads on Good Friday, I had underestimated just how long or far we would drive before finding our next meal. Fresh out of snacks and getting low on water, we discovered that even the mini market at a self-service gas station was closed for the holiday. The fabled city of Zarcero was a ghost town dotted with occasional colorful souls drifting between the church and family gatherings.

Every kind of shop imaginable was shuttered on each block we circled in the town.

When I saw a temporary stand doing business at the edge of the church square, I nearly drove onto the sidewalk in anticipation. The assortment of large root vegetables, however, held little appeal for the kids and seriously raised my mother’s eyebrows. We were hungry and growing hopeless, and nowhere near our destination.

“Ting! Ting!” Enter the ice cream man.

That’s when we learned that, while it is against city ordinances to run shops or restaurants on Good Friday in Costa Rica, it is perfectly acceptable to sell ice cream and popsicles in the church square. Eating ice cream for lunch on Good Friday, we reasoned, could therefore be no sin.

Good Friday, indeed. It will always have special meaning–and I suspect, ritual–for our family.

As it happened, fewer than 5 miles south on the highway, and beyond the city limits, we found a fantastic hillside restaurant turning a tidy profit by serving the Ticos traveling over the holiday weekend.  Remember this if you find yourself on the road to Zarcero Easter weekend.

For more help planning your family vacation in Costa Rica, see other Travels with Baby tips here.

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Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby
Curious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.

 

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4 comments

Terumi April 6, 2012 - 1:51 pm

I love ice cream for lunch! And I think we’re going to try and take the kids to Costa Rica too. I’ll have to follow more to see how it goes. Can’t wait to hear of some great places to visit.

Reply
Shelly Rivoli April 6, 2012 - 8:04 pm

Goes?! It already went! 😉 Still compiling tips, but check out all these posted so far at: http://www.travelswithbaby.com/planning/destinations.htm And yes, you guys should definitely go!

Reply
Sonja April 6, 2012 - 10:29 am

That’s a great story! It always amazes Americans who haven’t traveled how utterly and completely many countries shut down on religious holidays and sometimes even on Sundays. You’re spreading the word! Looks like you’re traveling with Grandma, too. That’s so special for your children. Have fun!

Reply
Jessica April 6, 2012 - 7:26 am

Sounds like a great tradition!

Reply

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