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Central Valley Neighborhoods Costa Rica

There are over 4 Million people living in Costa Rica. Ttwo Million people live in the Central Valley Plateau or the Central Meseta as it is known in Spanish. The main city and capitol of Costa Rica is San Jose, with Heredia and Alajuela close by. The suburbs of Escazu and Santa Ana have exploded in the last 10 years and they are the two places most ex-pats settle in if they intend to live in Costa Rica full time because of the high level of services offered.

The altitude of the central valley area varies between three thousand and four thousand feet above sea level which gives us a mild spring like climate all the year around. The valley has a number of mountain ranges around it and has very good soil for all types of farming because of its volcanic ash origin. There are many coffee farms all around the central region with some of the finest coffee coming from the Grecia region.


The Rohrmoser area is a solid middle class Costa Rican area which has been popular with locals and ex-pats for many years. Rohrmoser is going through a few changes with the new National stadium being built close by and numerous high rise apartment buildings going up many of which sell out before being completed. The current president, Oscar Arias, lives in Rohrmoser boulevard. Lots of Embassies and consulates are located here.

The La Sabana area is centered around the largest green area in the city of San Jose and next to Rohrmoser. The New national stadium is actually at the Western end of this park.

The La Sabana park is meeting and picnic place on weekends and very popular with locals. The park was donated to the city many years ago on the condition it is never developed. Many businesses are located in this area with lots of good quality housing and new apartment buildings lining the border of the park.

The Pavas area is a little South of La Sabana and it is here you will find the US Embassy and lots of local housing and just about every business you can think of including bars and restaurants.


Escazu and Santa Ana, west of San Jose, are by far the most modern and popular suburbs in the central valley. Most ex-pats living in the central valley of Costa Rica decide on these two areas because of excellent level of services available. The area has undergone incredible growth over the last 10 years. Many new high-rise buildings are evident just driving through Escazu. The best shopping (Multiplaza, Avenida Esaczu), hospitals (Cima), and restaurants and cinemas including a new IMAX theater can be found here. New construction is going on everywhere.

Escazu offers excellent bi-lingual schools for all grades. The Intercontinental Hotel is located right next to the Multiplaza mall, which has just undergone its 5th extension and is fully leased out. Many other smaller strip malls can be found all around Escazu.

Some of the best private gated communities like Villa Real and golf community Parque valle del Sol, can be found in these communities on the southwest side of the Central Vally of San Jose, Costa Rica. From where the writer lives in Villa Real I can see the Ocean on a clear day, as it is only about 80 km away.

Office Depot, Price Smart, and various other large stores like the large EPA store (DIY), and Hipermas (Wal Mart) are all also in this area. Restaurants are everywhere and a vibrant feel is almost palpable.

This is the boom area without a doubt and will continue to be popular as the new highway, which is now open drops drive time to the Mid Pacific beaches from 2.5 hours to 45 min. This is a big plus for the area. Large office developments like FORUM are also expanding rapidly in this area.

Sub area of Escazu is Bello Horizonte and Trejos Montealegre which Have a mix of Costa Rica and ex pat residents.


Cariari is an older suburb, one of the first with a golf course and numerous hotels and a large mall close by. A large selection of housing is available in Cariari from smaller homes to large estates. It is located about 7.5 km North of San Jose. Close to the airport in Alajuela and near a major highway. Belen backs into Santa Ana and has had tremendous growth also. Lots of Schools and businesses in this area and a huge diversity of housing stock for all budgets can be found in Belen, Costa Rica.


These two towns are close to each other North of San Jose. Both are thriving local cities with bustling farmers markets and all services and a more rural feel. Heredia has some areas high in the hills and it can be cloudy and rainy a lot particularly in the green season.

Many homes in Heredia with large lots known as QUINTA type properties. San Rafael and Barva are good local area areas here. Heredia has numerous hotels like La Condessa located in its hills. Lots of choice for rural living. 40 min from San Jose.

Alajuela has lots of coffee farms and similar to Heredia. Lots of good views of the valley from Alajuela and Heredia hills.

Alajuela is the second largest city in Costa Rica with Heredia being third.


The Cartago area is the old capital of Costa Rica and provides excellent farm land due to its proximity to Volcan Irazu. Cooler climate as Cartago is higher in the Costa Rican mountains. Some great Finca type properties and farms can be found in the Cartago mountain region. Cartago has all services expected but a slower pace of life. The Orossi Valley East of Cartago has spectacular scenery. All sorts of properties are available in Cartago from modest homes to larger estate farms.

Isthmus Real Estate — San Jose, Costa Rica

Office in Hotel Barceló San José Palacio

Phone: (506) 8391-9051, 2291-0208 • eMail: