You can find an unusual juxtaposition of gringo expats, moneyed aristocrats and old-world Tico village life in this sprawling suburb that climbs a steep hillside overlooking San José and Heredia. The area is really made up of three distinct adjoining neighborhoods: San Rafael de Escazú, Escazú Centro and San Antonio de Escazú.
At the bottom of the hill is San Rafael, which is one part Costa Rica, two parts USA, dotted with strip malls, top-end car dealerships, tract housing and chain restaurants. Escazú Centro retains an unhurried Tico ambience, where narrow streets are cluttered with shops, sodas and old-world taverns. At the top of the hill, the area around San Antonio remains almost entirely residential, a mix of humble rural homes, sprawling estates and spectacular views. The further you get up the hill, the more scarce public transportation becomes, so it’s best to have a car.
Escazú’s proximity to Pavas and Alajuela makes it a convenient place to stay if you want to be near San José’s airports.