Heredia: San Rafael, San Isidro, Belén and Cariari

The city of Heredia is Costa Rica’s third biggest city, capital of the eponymous province, and located between (and north of) San Josè and Alajuela. The towns around the city – including San Rafael, Santa Barbara, San Isidro and San Joaquín de Flores – have become popular places among both expatriates and upwardly-mobile Ticos looking for a safe place to raise a family.

As these places are smaller Tico towns that are not very well connected to the affluent urban areas in San José and Escazú, development has been slower and prices haven’t risen as quickly. Even so, these areas, with their cooler climates and great views – are becoming increasingly popular and are never more than 40 minutes or so from larger areas with shopping and amenities. 

For basics, Heredia has amenities similar to those found in Alajuela, including large supermarkets and a full-scale shopping mall. It’s also a university town, adding a nice student vibe to parts of the city.

Belén (also known as San Antonio de Belén) and Cariari are located very near to the airport and the highway. Belén has developed recently into a modern commercial center with an older town center nearby. Residential properties are being developed here and the place is proving popular among expatriates because of its proximity to both the airport and Escazú.

Finally, Cariari is a large gated community made up of several smaller communities near the Herradura Hotel. It was originally developed about two decades ago with the foreign resident in mind. The area has plenty of security, areas for children to play, and a golf course for residents. As it is a well-established community, price fluctuations there are less radical than in other areas. 

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Daniel prop

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