What is the number of my true love’s house?

The complexities of the Costa Rica address system will test the skills of postal workers next week. Tuesday, Feb. 14, is St. Valentine’s Day, the traditional time to express love and affection.

Correos de Costa Rica will help Romeos by providing a 1,000-colon Valentine’s Day card or what it calls a telegram, which it says is simple and economical to express those sentiments of love.

Correos promises to deliver the card Feb. 14. But there is one little problem: The lack of clear addresses in Costa Rica.

For delivery of the Valentines Day telegram to be successful, Correos said, the sender must give complete directions, including the number of the house, the number of the street and the number of the avenue, it says, adding don’t forget the postal code.

Indeed, Urban dwellers have house numbers and everyone has a postal code, although hardly anyone knows it. And even experienced taxi drivers are thrown by addresses given in calle and avenida because they are used to “150 meters east of the old pharmacy that is not a pharmacy any longer and hasn’t been since World War II.”

The five-digit postal code gives the province, the canton and the district. The postal service has an extensive written and video description of the postal codes on its Web site.

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