The trendy suburb of Escazu
Escazu has a great choice of bars and restaurants for your entertainment and it is also home to the best shopping mall of San Jose, Multiplaza, and to the modern Hospital La Cima, favored by expats or by those coming to Costa Rica for medical care and surgery. A lot of foreigners have settled down in Escazu and in Sta Ana, for its proximity to the city, yet it seems so far away from the bustling San Jose. Escazu is also known for its witches and today there are still commercials named after the famous Witches of Escazu! Furthermore Escazu is also very close to the Juan Santa Maria International Airport that you can reach by taxi or by Transfer Shuttle.
There are two parts of Escazu; San Rafael de Escazu is right at the exit of the highway as you come from San Jose. It is modern and trendy, a good neighborhood with pretty houses, condos and many up market restaurants, hotels, bars, lounges and 3D cinemas. It is home to some of the most exclusive Hotels of Costa Rica, with the Holiday Inn San Jose Escazu, the Real Intercontinental, the Hotel Alta, the Marriot Residence Inn and The Hotel Indigo in Santa Ana. There are also a multitude of Bed and Breakfast and smaller inns to choose from. Escazu is also excellent for those who enjoy gourmet food; from Indian food, with the Taj Mahal, to authentic Italian food, with Restaurante D’Bartolo, Spanish tapas, French or Chinese, it seems that the choice is absolutely endless!
The Old Colonial Escazu
As you go up from San Rafael in the mountains of Escazu you will reach the old town of Escazu. This is a lot more traditional than San Rafael, with lots of typical little restaurants and inns. As you keep going up you reach yet another town, San Antonio de Escazu. From there you may visit some outstanding lodges and restaurants, offering spectacular views and outstanding food in a great friendly and elegant ambiance. If you like hiking, you may take a walk up Pico Blanco towards the big cross of Escazu. At first the trail is fairly flat. The views are superb and it is still very rural, considering it is so close from the city. The whole hike take about 3 hours but is well worth it. Another interesting thing to do is the vegetable market on Saturday where you may meet the local people. Mostly people go to the old Escazu and to San Antonio to enjoy the incredible views of the Central Valley.
Escazu is a great alternative while you are exploring and doing various Tours and visits its museums. Many people in Escazu speak English, as there is a large community of foreigners, yet it has still retained its old Tico flavor. Apart from its great shopping mall, there are many other shops and supermarkets to choose from just about everywhere. It is definitely your best base if you need to be in the Central Valley without having to stay in the city.