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Escazu, Costa Rica

Escazu, Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Escazu, Costa Rica: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in Escazu?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Escazu, they said:

"I would advise them to spend time not as a tourist but as one might live here. Visit the grocery stores. I did not realize that some items I depended on were not available. The sales tax is almost double what it is in our town in the U S. I did not realize that mail is not delivered to one's house here. Check out the banks and see if you can open an account from which to pay your local bills. Check out the medical and dental choices here. We love Mario Garita Dental Group! If you want to have a Buyers's agent that is super awesome. Rudy Matthews is your man," added another expat who made the move to Escazu.

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What do I need to know before moving to Escazu?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Escazu, they said:

"ESCAZU!!! Even our local Tico friends (who were all educated in the states) and have lived all over CR would agree. CR is booming right now, at least for professionals in law, medicine, computer science/network administration, & architecture/engineering. Our best friend here has to hire software engineers from India because CR workers are so expensive and doing so well here. This is just our opinion of course. For example, one of our son's opinions when he visits us in Escazu is disgust. He thinks why leave the states to just live in an expensive, English speaking, mini-California suburb. He leaves as quickly as he can to stay in the rural & beach areas (he luckily speaks fluent Spanish) to escape our lifestyle. He could never afford to live in Escazu as a musician/artist. Final note and a plug for Outlier Legal and the founder attorney Rafael Valverde who went to law school in the states. Do not make the move without reading his website articles at the very least & he and his team provided enormous support (and still do) in dealing with the puzzling and very unpredictable bureaucracy that is CR," remarked another expat who made the move to Escazu.

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How do I find a place to live in Escazu?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We spent 4 years staying for short time in a number of areas. We recognize CA prices are not reflective of Florida or Texas prices. Adjust accordingly. 3 choices: The beach areas: Ridiculously hot & damp; humid so A/C runs non-stop, Where as in Escazu we rarely need it as the temperatures in the Central Valley at 4,000 feet rarely go above 80 or below 63. Rarely use A/C but if we do electricity is crazy cheap in CR unlike CA. The water is great here too, No need anywhere in CR for bottled water like CA. We still love to visit the beach which is only 2 hours away (Pacific side) but just not live there. Central Valley: 3 choices Heredia (nice but a little too rural), Santa Anna (a little too hot & too small, (Although the golf course is amazing there!), and the best in our mind Escazu. The perfect location in Escazu is anywhere close to the Costa Rica Country Club (no we could never afford to belong). Five years ago, we stayed in La Sabana (loved it) first as our home base and after many stays all around CR returned and bought a beautiful condo with high security in Escazu. The cost was 20% of what our condo was in San Diego and 4 times the size! We can walk (or a truly short drive) to so many restaurants, large supermarkets, shops and even two great movie theatres showing films in English! Food was a big worry, yet in Escazu we can buy the same foods we enjoy in the states (and lots of great Italian restaurants!). And virtually no mosquitoes at this elevation unlike the beaches! Also, best hospital in central America only 2 miles away (CIMA, JCHO accredited, many English-speaking docs). Ditto for dentistry. All much cheaper than the states. If you do not know any Spanish (like us) and now retired in your late 60’s, learning a new language can be stressful, Hence Escazu. Our culture shock has been minimal which has been a big relief, but we like the challenges of learning Spanish, & have learned the patience it takes (Tico Time) like spending 3 hours in a bank just to get a new debit card, which stopped working for some unknown reason after a month, needing an attorney to buy a car, etc. But some things are very fast like walking 3 blocks to our internet/TV provider (by the way great hi-speed) and getting service sent to our condo, multiple times, within the hour! And everyone is soooo happy and helpful! The politest most respectful drivers we have ever seen. We have traveled all over the world and have never experienced such absolute courtesy on such a grand scale. Certainly not in the states. And we have made a number of Tico professional friends here, been to their homes (very welcoming) and they have been nothing but helpful, sincere and trustworthy. They truly are the happiest people in the world! By the way we have spent a lot of time in Mexico (my brother lives there) and that is a dangerous unpredictable place compared to CR, but certainly cheaper as is Belize (truly scary)," mentioned another expat in Escazu.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Escazu?

"Condo with high security. However we never feel fearful walking at night to our favorite restaurants or store as their are guards everywhere. This is true pretty much everywhere we have been in CR. We have always felt very safe (unlike dealing we the herds of homeless drug addicts in CA)," explained one expat living in Escazu, Costa Rica.

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What is the average cost of housing in Escazu?

If you are thinking about moving to Escazu, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Condo's in Escazu, especially close to either Avenida Escazu or the San Jose Country Club also start at $ 500,000 and many head into the millions now. An older studio (70 sq. meters/800 sq. feet) just sold for $270,000 in Avenida Escazu...," added another expat in Costa Rica.

"Much much lower both in terms of cost of buying and maintenance (e.g. electricity, internet much cheaper, water, etc.). Also housekeeper, for example is only 3,000 colones an hour ($4.67)! Ridiculous! We doubled her "salary" from the start. And monthly condominium fee are only $ 400/month vs. $800-1200/month in CA. Wow," remarked another expat who made the move to Escazu.

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How do I meet people in Escazu?

When we asked people living in Escazu about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"We have enjoyed the weekly farmers' market in Escazu and have met many of the farmers. We live in a condo and have met many of our neighbors and picked up helpful tips from them. Our realtor was a very helpful resource and has put us in touch with others he has helped. A driver that we frequently use has been an invaluable source of information," commented one expat who made the move to Escazu.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What should I bring when moving to Escazu?

People living in Escazu were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Nothing as we travel back to the US at least 4 times a year, but bring little back to CR. One of the amazing good surprises is that CR has pretty much everything that we can get in the US, for the same price of less (unlike what you read in the forums). That is why we decided against moving our car, furniture, etc. and instead buying here and bringing 4 large suitcases per month of personal items from the US. for a year (for free if you fly Southwest). The caveat is we are use to CA costal prices (now $6 a gallon for gas & 900-1000 per square foot to obtain a dwelling). Even our replacement used car here was the almost exact price as it would have been at home. (understand used car prices have rocketed higher in the states and COVID hit families hard here in CR - hence a great deal)," added another expat in Escazu.

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Will I be able to find a job in Escazu?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Escazu, they reponded:

"As retired people we are not able to work in Costa Rica. It would be nice if we could as we would learn the language quicker. My husband is a pediatrician and would love to volunteer his services," remarked another expat living in Escazu, Costa Rica.

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What is life like in Escazu?

When we asked people living in Escazu what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"People seem to enjoy their families and church. We have met many interesting and friendly restaurant owners and enjoy going out to eat. The sodas are a great place to meet people both from Escazu and the rest of the world. Soccer is a favorite sport with the men for sure," remarked another expat who made the move to Escazu.

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AGS Worldwide Movers can move you to and from anywhere in the world. Presently the AGS Group has over 141 locations in more than 95 countries and has one of the largest networks in the international removals industry. We relocate 85,000 families every year. Free moving quote!

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Is there a lot of crime in Escazu?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Crime is something that is always concerning no matter where you live. In our area, there are home invasions. We had this in Miami too. We are not flashy with jewelry (I only wear a simple silver wedding band). Petty theft seems to be an issue so many people have gates around their homes. I really hate this. We have been lucky so far with no incidents," added another expat in Escazu.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Escazu accepting of differences?

"People have been very friendly and helpful. The taxi drivers are a wealth of information and very good about correcting my Spanish pronounciation," explained one expat living in Escazu, Costa Rica.

Answer this Question

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What are the pros and cons of living in Escazu?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Escazu responded:

"The weather is absolutely perfect in Escazu! Much better then San Diego even. What has been the best is it does not rain as much as we were led to believe it would. It might say 100% chance of thunderstorms each day but then there is no rain. Love it! No need for heat or A/C ever. The town has everything that is familiar to being in the US. You can even see movies at the MultiPlaza in English! Some of the best Italian food we have ever had is here. We are close to the international airport which allows us to make our regular forays to Europe and Caribbean easy. It is also a relatively quick trip back to the US to see our large families and grandkids (and for them to come stay with us here). The closeness to the US, weather and cheap housing was why we chose CR, and once we spent time at the VERY hot and humid beaches, easily settled on the weather in Escazu. Everyone we have met is Pura Vida and so friendly and helpful, so different then the US. Yes we are probably being taken advantage of but we have so much and they have so little so that is not a negative to us. Yes you have to be very patient for anything involving citizenship, money transfers, setting up local bill paying and banking - not easy at all. And the language challenge is significant but Goggle Translator is an amazing help for this. Without it it would have been much more frustrating. And yes traffic and the condition of the roads are a negative compared to the US including how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B even though it is technically only 20 miles. We have yet to use a bus but love that they have Uber here and used it a lot until we bought a car. That purchase in itself was challenge but we used a English speaking service via our attorney group (Outlier Legal) and went well. We have used Outlier Legal for so many things. They have been (and continue to be) amazing. They even sent an agent with us to open a bank account 3 years ago! We could go on and on...," said another expat.

Answer this Question

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What type of social life can someone expect in Escazu?

When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Escazu, they replied:

"Great area to relocate to full of folks who speak English and no Spanish like us," said an expat in Escazu.

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"We were able to make a new Tico friend who has been a enormous help to us. Our adjustment would have been MUCH harder without his help, especially not speaking Spanish," remarked another expat in Escazu.

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What advice to expats in Escazu have about housing?

"Housing is sooo cheap here versus San Diego, CA. And we completely remodeled our large condo for such an incredibly low cost vs. San Diego. We were in shock when the bids came back. And the high quality materials we used were also dirt cheap compared to San Diego. We replaced all major appliances (frig, stove top, TV's, oven, microwave, all plumbing fixtures, etc. etc. and the prices were comparable to the cost in the US. We had heard they would cost much more. They did not," said another expat.

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What are medical services in Escazu like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Escazu, they replied:

"Escazu (and Hospital CIMA) is the # 2 reason why we moved her. #1 is the PERFECT weather," mentioned another expat living in Escazu.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Escazu, Costa Rica

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