Escazu

In the last decade or so, Escazú – located a few kilometers to the west of San José – has transformed from a large village into a into a small city. The fast pace of development has brought with it some problems. Because of the lack of a zoning plan, the density of development remained unregulated for quite some time, and even today the roadways have not kept pace with the massive swell of residential construction. Roads which remain little more that asphalt two-lane tracks are constantly paralyzed by a crush of commuters driving luxury SUVs.

Despite the traffic crunch, Escazú is the upper crust’s favorite place in the Central Valley – and indeed, Costa Rica – to do business, go shopping, see a movie, go on a date, eat out, and live. It is the most North Americanized spot in the country and  popular with expatriates. It has a friendly feel to it and there is alot to do.

The old village center retains some of its quaint traditional feel, despite the condominiums and strip malls going up all around it. In some places adobe buildings still line the narrow roads, and the whitewashed church, the park, and the football pitch still dominate the center. Often farmers can be seen trotting their horses up the lanes to and from their farms, a reminder that not everything in Escazú has been quick to change.

Still, the past has been left quite a bit behind. The new center of Escazú is called the Golden Mile, where fast food restaurants and pricey clubs and cafes line a four-lane road jammed with traffic.  Further up the Golden Mile, there are lots of small strip malls and commercial centers filled with pharmacies, clothing stores, beauty salons and restaurants. The largest shopping complex, of course, is Multiplaza Escazú, a shopping mall full of U.S. and European-brand chain stores, several restaurants, a multiplex cinema and an Automercado supermarket. Several large furniture and interior stores, PriceSmart and Office Depot, the Real Intercontinental Hotel, and the Plaza Roble office complex can be found in the same area. More office and condo complexes start construction in that part of town every day.

Escazú has a variety of different residential areas, from pricey Trejos Montealegre, just off the highway, to San Antonio, which is up in the hills and has cheaper land and residences for sale. Hillside properties in Escazú have fantastic views of the twinkling lights of the Central Valley. A recent up-and-coming area is Guachipelin, which even has a commercial center. Though growth in land value in much of Escazú has paused, Guachipelin is still experiencing appreciation in value. As far as style, you can get pretty much anything in Escazú, from low-, mid-, and high-rise condominiums to houses in gated communities to traditional Tico-style houses up in the hills. A few lots are still available as well, though not many, and they’re very pricy.

Though the area is rather North American in its look and feel, the community is actually quite diverse. The sheer convenience of living in a place with so many amenities has attracted everyone from middle and upper class Ticos, to North Americans, Europeans and South Americans. This diverse, international community is very active. There are plenty of groups to join, volunteer work to get involved in, and the area has a golf club.

The old and new Escazú, however, do not exist in isolation of each other. While you can live on imported foods and expensive restaurants, you can also buy your fruit and vegetables from the local market and eat from the comfort of your own home. Most people mix the two, enjoying the conveniences of modern life, as well as slipping off occasionally to sip fresh coconut water or drink in the local cantinas in old Escazú.

Properties in Central Valley

Daniel prop

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