San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose: Costa Rica’s Cultural and Business Hub

Most tourists head directly from Costa Rica’s capitol city of San Jose to one of the country’s many rainforests or glorious sandy beaches. However, this metropolitan city has much to offer tourists and residents alike from lively local markets and historical museums to world-class entertainment and international restaurants. Many expats settle in San Jose where they can access first world conveniences and business opportunities yet still enjoy excursions to see the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

Top Neighborhoods of San Jose, Costa Rica

 The city of San Jose consists of several smaller neighborhoods, called barrios, each of which offer a unique flavor and a wide range of housing options. Where expats decide to live depends largely on whether they plan to own a car, prefer to be in the heart of the city or in the suburbs, and how much they plan to spend on housing.   A few of the well-known barrios are described below:

Escazu/Santa Ana

The wealthiest locals and expats tend to live in Escazu, a Western suburb with the highest priced real estate in the country. Homes consist generally of high rise condominiums and apartment complexes. The neighborhood is an easy commute to downtown San Jose and boasts high-end international restaurants and shopping. 


 This diverse neighborhood houses many university and study abroad students along with single family residences. Homes in the mountainside, where many older expats reside, have views of the city and feel pleasantly removed from development. Heavy traffic into San Jose surrounds Heredia making it less ideal for commuters. 

Rohrmoser/La Sabana

A popular barrio among young twenty and thirty somethings, La Sabana has plenty of hip bars and restaurants interspersed with offices. Young professionals make up most of the neighborhood, which lies in close proximity to downtown and makes it an inexpensive taxi ride for those who prefer to live without a car.  

 This neighborhood houses the two major universities: Universidad de Costa Rica and Universidad Latina.  Most residents are students or young English teachers who share multiple bedroom homes. Lots of the city’s inexpensive and lively restaurants and bars are in this neighborhood, making it a great place for young people. Popular bus lines take residents all over the city.

San Jose's Top Neighborhoods 

Other Neighborhoods of Interest in San Jose, Costa Rica