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Escazú, Costa Rica – A Haven for Expats

Updated on July 25, 2016

Enjoying the Good life in a park in Escazu, Costa Rica

Most people that have considered living in Costa Rica have heard of the city of Escazú because it not only offers some of the best weather in Costa Rica, it is also conveniently located just a mere 12 minute drive from the capital city of San Jose. In addition, Escazú is home to a large population of expats from the U.S., Canada and various other countries. This means that a large percentage of the population speak English and that you will never have any language problems when you are out and about in Escazu.

The area of Escazú is mostly made up of hilly terrain and boasts an average year round temperature between 75-80 degrees. In some circles, Escazú is known as the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica as it is one, if not the wealthiest region of Costa Rica. Many of the elites live in Escazú and in general, thepopulation is mostly made up of middle to high income families.

Many expats have chosen to live in Escazú because it offers them a standard of living that is equal if not better than the ones they left while at the same time offering them the advantages to live in an affordable tropical.

My Beautiful Home in Escazu

Affordable Real Estate

Living in Escazú is by no means for everyone as the price of real estate in Escazú, Costa Rica will easily range from the mid $100,000 USD to multi-million dollar homes. Many expats have chosen to purchase a condominium in the area instead of a home because it is more affordable and provides a greater sense of security. In addition, they are several gated communities that have a high percentage of expats which lets them enjoy the camaraderie of home.

For those who have chosen to buy a home, the property tax in Costa Rica is quite affordable and is %0.25 of the registered value of the home according to the municipality. The catch if you intend on buying a home in Costa Rica is to not purchase a home that falls under the luxury home tax which you will be paying in addition to the regular property tax every year.

For those who have chosen not to purchase property, renting a home, condo or apartment will range from $500 USD up to $3,000 based on the size, location and amenities.

Escazu Costa Rica

Amenities of Living in Escazú, Costa Rica

Speaking of amenities, here are some of the main reasons expats have chosen Escazú as their new home abroad.

CIMA Private Hospital in Escazu, Costa Rica

The Healthcare System

The public healthcare system in Costa Rica is not spectacular but it does cover all Costa Ricans and expats. It is known as the CAJA and everyone in Costa Rica must be purchase health car from them. The cost will depend on your age and the number of dependents and for a family of three the cost is around $60 per month.

However, they are many private insurance companies based abroad that will give you access to some of the best private hospitals and clinics in Costa Rica. In fact, several of them are located in Escazú such as Hospital CIMA, which accepts Aetna Global Benefits, Cigna International, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Guardian Life and several other insurance policies.

Many of the doctors that work at the public hospitals and clinics also work in private hospitals and clinics as all doctors in Costa Rica have to give a certain amount of hours to the public healthcare system every year. This does make it easier for expats who choose to only use the public health system as it means that the majority of the doctors will speak English and that a large percentage of them have received their medical education abroad.

School in Costa Rica

Education in Escazu, Costa Rica

For the expats that have chosen to bring their family along with them, Escazú is ideal because it is the home of several private schools that are accredited abroad. In these schools, English is often the primary language followed by Spanish.

Some of these private schools include, the Pan-American School, Saint Anthony, Blue Valley, Country Day and many more. The tuition for private schools will usually range from $5,000 USD to $20,000 USD per year. On the other hand, the public schools in Escazú are excellent and the only cost involved is the registration fee which runs around $50 USD.

Here is a complete list of private and public schools in Costa Rica

MultiPlaza Escazu Shopping Center

Inside of MultiPlaza Escazu Shopping Center

Shopping and Entertainment in Escazú

If you like shopping then you are in for a treat. Since Escazú is a hot spot for the Costa Rican middle to upper class and holds a large percentage of expats, it makes sense that it would also have a large variety of stores and shopping centers in the area.

For expats that are looking for a taste from home, you will see that Escazú has several shopping plazas, malls and grocery stores that stock up on imported goods. Several of these stores are located in the section of Escazú called, San Rafael de Escazú and include stores such as:

  • Automercado
  • MultiPlaza Escazú
  • Price Mart
  • Wal-Mart
  • Office Depot

In terms of entertainment and dining you are in for a treat as they are several movie theaters, bars and restaurants in the area. In terms of eating out, you will find a variety of restaurants that include Indian food, local food, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and many more.

If you are on a budget, have no fear as a good portion of the people that live in the area are still in the middle class and they do have stores that cater to their price range such as Pali, Wal-Mart and Pequeno Mundo which are some of the most affordable stores in Costa Rica, Wal-Mart being on the high end.


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