The capital of Costa Rica, San Jose is a sprawling metropolis that houses a majority of the country’s population. A city of some 3 million strong people, San Jose is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Central America. Though it may seem like a confusing maze at first, this city is actually quite easy to navigate once you figure out where you want to go. The busiest part of the city is downtown San Jose, where there are plenty of museums, restaurants and hotels as well as a few parks and outdoor plazas. However, this area is also the most congested with lots of traffic and chaos.
If you wish to escape the turmoil of downtown, a good place to go is the hills west of San Jose into the neighborhoods of Escazu and Santa Ana. These areas are very popular with foreign expatriates and their families, and have a huge number of stores, services, facilities as well as some of the best restaurants in the country. With their dry climate, superior highway access and close proximity to the Juan Santamaria International Airport, these areas are among the fastest growing suburbs of San Jose.
Roughly, 15 minutes from the center of the city, Santa Ana is a trendy and expensive community with a relaxed atmosphere and with all the modern conveniences. Nestled west of Escazu in the valley, Santa Ana is near the modern CIMA Hospital and Medical Tower, and is also close by to a number of luxury hotels such as the Intercontinental and the Marriott Courtyard. Costa Rica’s largest mall, the MultiPlaza is within close proximity, as is Price Smart and the modern office complexes of Plaza Roble and the Forum.
Two of the country’s foremost residential estates, the Eco-Residential Villa Real and Valle del Sol are located here, with two golf courses nearby. If you enjoy riding or are an avid equestrian, check out the La Caraiia Riding Academy or the Centro Equestre Valle Yos-Yo in the area.
While much of Santa Ana is modernized and property development is high, there is still a part of this district that retains its local flavor. Visit the Ceramica Las Palomas to get some local pottery or check out the colorful road stalls for some traditional goods. In the center of town like in any Costa Rican district, is a soccer field and park with a beautiful church opposite it.