During the spring semester, the students at Kulturstudier have a week without lectures because of Easter. In Costa Rica, this week is known as Semana Santa. This week gives students the freedom to explore new landscapes, whether it is a round trip in Costa Rica or a longer trip abroad to other countries. In this post, I will talk about the trips I took during my Easter break and offer insights into what I wish I had known beforehand.


I spent my first half of Semana Santa in Cancún and Tulum in Mexico. These are beautiful cities with white beaches, serene green waters, and great Mexican food. During dinner time, there was often a dinner show with everything from girls dancing in beautiful dresses to flame shows.

In Tulum, one can visit beautiful natural pits of turquoise groundwaters – called cenotes – and explore amazing caves. These are not only pretty to watch, but they also bear an interesting history – as they were of great importance to the Mayan people. They considered the cenotes as an entrance to the underworld.

In addition to visiting the cenotes and beaches, we also visited the Maya temples. There, I learned a lot of interesting facts about Mayan history, for example, that Tulum was the last great city constructed by the Mayan people. The Mayan ruins were easily accessible and reasonable to visit.

Next, I flew to Guatemala and beautiful Antigua. Antigua is an old town in Guatemala, and it has a lot of charm. We spent one night in the city and got to explore the towns’ churches and local markets. Since we were here in Semana Santa, we also got to see the preparations for the easter parade; where people of all ages dressed up in religious costumes and decorated the streets with colourful images made of flowers.

My favorite part of the stay in Antigua was our hike up an active volcano named Acatenango. There are a lot of different companies to choose from if you want to engage in this hike, and I went with Soy tours – which were really great. It was an overnight tour, and we spent the night in a tent at their camp, with a great view of El Fuego.

Lastly, I spent the end of Semana Santa in Costa Rica because I got visitors and wanted to show them around in San Isidro and the nearby areas. After some days of thrift shopping and relaxing in San Isidro, we went to Quepos – which is only a short bus ride from San Isidro. There, we rented a motorbike and went to the Manuel Antonio beach and different waterfalls. Additionally, we visited a butterfly cafe inside a butterfly garden, which was a nice end to my Semana Santa.

Looking back, I wish I knew that during Thursday and Friday in Semana Santa, many shops and restaurants in Costa Rica will be closed. Also, fewer buses are running the normal routes. Therefore, it is important to book public transportation in advance if you, for example, need to bus from San José to San Isidro during these days. This is also the case in countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua.


While my trip went to Mexico, Guatemala, and Quepos, other students went to Nicaragua, Brazil, Panama, and Colombia. As such, the study week is a great opportunity to travel to new places and get to practice your Spanish.


Nos vemos,

– Pernille