Costa Rica Living in the Central Valley: Santa Ana is home for me.

This is the second in a series of three articles on desirable towns west of San Jose.

When I was still living in Florida, preparing to make Costa Rica my home, I decided I wanted to live in Santa Ana. My online research and a two-week visit to the Central Valley clinched the decision for me.

I think of Santa Ana as being the second town in a string of three that are located west of San Jose, Escazu being the town closest to the capital, then Santa Ana, and finally Ciudad Colon. Santa Ana is an in-between town in more ways than one.

Santa Ana offers both affordable and expensive alternatives in housing, dining and shopping. The first place I lived was in the southern, mountainous area of Santa Ana called Salitral, named after the spring water that flows down the mountain.

Sweeping views of the Central Valley and neighboring mountains put real estate in demand there. But then real estate in every part of Santa Ana is being bought up quickly.

As prices and availability closer to San Jose become unapproachable for some budgets, the western neighborhoods of Santa Ana – especially Rio Oro and Piedades – look more attractive. In fact, on a drive west along the Calle Vieja (old road) from the center of Santa Ana you’ll see many new developments under construction.

Also growing rapidly is the northern Pozos area of Santa Ana, which is on the way to the airport. Along the Lindora road there are upscale strip malls with a large supermarket (AutoMercado), several banks, restaurants and shops. The airport is only nine kilometers away.

With so many micro-climates throughout Costa Rica, it is possible for everyone to find desirable weather. Because Santa Ana is lower in altitude than most parts of Escazu, the weather here is warmer and drier.

I escaped to Florida from Massachusetts for the warmer weather; here, I enjoy warm, sunny days without the Florida humidity. There’s no need for air conditioning or heat where I live.

What I like most about Santa Ana is its friendly village atmosphere. After living here for only two months, I was known and greeted warmly when I walked into the hardware store, the furniture store, the farmacia (pharmacy) and the librería (bookstore).

Almost everyone says Buenos Dias to me (and I to them) on my morning walk. I’m reminded of the Cheers bar, where everyone knows your name. While the folks in Santa Ana may not know my name, they know my face and they are happy to see me.

The village (el pueblo) of Santa Ana satisfies many tastes at affordable prices. Every Sunday morning I get my produce fix at the feria, the farmers market. The town bustles with restaurants and bars, and is a good central meeting place.

Just outside the downtown grid are Rock N Roll Pollo, a favorite gringo and Tico hangout, and El Estribo, an excellent steakhouse that so many people frequent on weekend nights that you have to park blocks away.

The selection of personal care services is as great here as in Escazu. Women can get a decent haircut for $4 (Sala de Belleza Evelyn is where I go) or pay much more at an upscale salon such as Hollywood Beauty, where my friend offers shiatsu massage.

There are several health clubs with equipment and classes. Shopping in the village of Santa Ana caters mostly to Tico tastes and prices, which I find satisfactory for many of my needs.

Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon have one-way in and out streets, making traffic more manageable than in Escazu. Also adding to the ease of getting around Santa Ana are many side roads that cut through neighborhoods.

It’s an adventure to take a road I’ve never driven on, only to find that it brings me out to a familiar spot. Driving into Santa Ana from the autopista (highway), you can’t miss the ceramics stores selling clay pots. There are also many viveros (plant nurseries) in this town featuring inexpensive tropical foliage.

It’s easy to hop on the autopista to drive ten minutes to Hospital CIMA or the MultiPlaza mall and cinemas. Or you can take advantage of the several clinics in Santa Ana. There is a CAJA clinic here for subscribers to the inexpensive, state-managed health care plan.

And if you don’t own a car, you can depend on the excellent, inexpensive bus service. Buses along the main streets will whisk you to Escazu, San Jose and to other parts of Santa Ana. This is a self-sufficient, friendly town, offering many benefits for comfortable living.

For more information about Santa Ana, you can see the Santa Ana municipality website – in Spanish – here.

Written by Margie Davis – Living in Costa Rica, with help from Amy Stivers and Pat Bliss

Costa Rica Living in the Central Valley: Santa Ana is home for me.

Article/Property ID Number 1015

For more information about quality homes and apartments for sale in the cosmopolitan areas of Escazu and Santa Ana, please contact our recommended, bilingual, reference-checked Costa Rica Realtor Andrés Henfling using the simple form below:

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