Located to the west of San José, Costa Rica, Santa Ana and Escazú often spark confusion among potential residents because of their subtle differences. Recognized as excellent choices for living, working, and studying, both areas boast a significant presence of upscale homes and luxury residential communities including Cerro Alto, Villa Real, La Hacienda, Valle del Sol, Hacienda del Sol, Bosques de Lindora, and others

LX specialist and managing partner, Clari Vega, is an expert in the high-end real estate market in the west side of the Central Valley. In our recent interview, she spoke about the main differences and similarities between Escazú and Santa Ana in order to help guide potential buyers find their dream future home location.

Escazú and Santa Ana are located on the west side of San Jose, and both are considered excellent options for living, working, and studying. They offer a high concentration of luxury properties.

One of the main differences between Escazú and Santa Ana is the climate. Escazú tends to be 1 or 2 degrees cooler than Santa Ana. The views also tend to be towards the city, overlooking the central valley and occasionally towards the mountains. On the other hand, Santa Ana gives more of a plains, flat feeling. With views towards the mountains, it tends to be a bit warmer and drier.

Both options have direct access to Highway 27, which connects San Jose to the main beaches of the Central Pacific, with Escazú being a bit closer to the San Jose area.

The price of properties is similar in both places, offering a wide range of independent properties, gated communities, and more recently, residential vertical projects.

Ultimately, choosing between Escazú and Santa Ana will depend primarily on individual preferences. If you have to choose between Escazú and Santa Ana, the decisive factors will be climate, temperature, access to schools, access to work, and, at the end of the day, the sense of community that you prefer.

INTERVIEW: What are the main Escazú and Santa Ana differences? (in Spanish)

How are Escazú and Santa Ana similar?

Escazú and Santa Ana are adjacent areas that share common traits that contribute to their appeal both to local and expat residents. Found on the western side of San José, they are both known for providing a blend of peaceful living and practical convenience, with multiple options in vertical buildings, moutainside, or in the lower flat areas close to commercial and corporate centers.

Both Escazú and Santa Ana enjoy direct access to Highway 27 , facilitating easy travel between San José and the scenic Pacific Coast beaches towards Jacó, or further north to Guanacaste.

In terms of real estate, both Santa Ana and the area of Escazú offer a varied selection, including standalone homes, gated communities, and recently developed vertical residential projects. Property prices in these areas align closely, ensuring a diverse range of options for prospective residents, and accommodating various preferences and budgets.

Escazú and Santa Ana differences

What are the main differences between Escazú and Santa Ana?

As we explore these neighborhoods further, it’s crucial to uncover the distinctions that make them unique, offering distinct experiences for those contemplating a move to the coveted west side of San José, Costa Rica.


One of the key distinctions between Santa Ana and Escazú lies in the climate. Escazú tends to be 1 or 2 degrees cooler than Santa Ana. Santa Ana, on the other hand, leans towards a slightly warmer and drier climate.


Escazú and Santa Ana difference

Mountain view from Colonial Reserve in Villa Real, Santa Ana

Both Escazú and Santa Ana offer mountain and Central Valley views.  In Escazú, the views typically extend towards the city and the Central Valley, and occasionally the mountains. In contrast, Santa Ana offers a more westward view of the Santa Ana and Alajuela valley areas, with expansive views extending towards the upward-reaching mountains.


Escazú takes the lead for proximity to San José, with Santa Ana just a quick 5-10 minute drive further. They both have easy highway access and similar driving times to the international airport 20-30 minutes away. Location alone won’t be the deciding factor for most relocators choosing between Escazú and Santa Ana – focus on the specific amenities each town offers, like convenient schools, work centers, or your preferred entertainment, for the perfect Costa Rican home base.

Escazú and Santa Ana

Schools in Escazú and Santa Ana

Both Santa Ana and Escazú have a number of excellent schools, both public and private. Some examples of private bilingual schools in Escazú include:

  • Blue Valley School, in Guachipelín, Escazú, dedicated to social responsibility and a nurturing learning environment through its Montessori Philosophy and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.
  • Lighthouse School in San Rafael de Escazú, focused on a Christian-centered education with its community service program and International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
  • True North School in San Rafael de Escazú, placing conscious leadership at the core of their educational program, and offering the first conscious innovation lab in Costa Rica.
Public vs Private Schools in Costa Rica

In Santa Ana, on the other hand, Saint Jude School stands out in a convenient location in Pozos. This bilingual institution, offering education in English and Spanish with French as a third language, emphasizes excellent sporting facilities, the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, and its unique CASE V program, attracting talented athletes, dancers, and musicians.

Even though there’s a presence of great schools in both areas, transportation between them is simple and fairly common. Therefore, no school should be ruled out solely because of location if they’re found in one of the zones and you’re home is in the other.

Featured Residential Communities in Escazú

Cerro Alto is an exclusive community ideal for families and in an unmatchable location in Escazú. Triple-level security, a variety of amenities and a refreshing design distinguish it from other neighborhoods in the area.

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The residential community of Cerro Real in Escazú offers stunning luxury homes in a mountain-top setting. High-end homes of varying styles and sizes are offered, boasting panoramic views of the east and west parts of the central valley.

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Breathtaking luxury and abundant nature in El Alto de las Palomas. Solaris is one of the newest communities of vertical condominiums in the area, boasting world-class amenities amid landscaped gardens and pristine vegetation.

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Luxury vertical condominium in the remarkable location of Trejos Montealegre, Escazú. Central Park blends the comfort of apartment living with the allure of gated communities. Great security, views, and a wide range of exclusive amenities and extensive green areas distinguish Central Park.

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Featured Residential Communities in Santa Ana

Luxury living in harmony with nature. Eco Residencial Villa Real between Escazú and Santa Ana is home to some of the most exclusive residences in the western part of San José. The community is characterized by its impressive security, wide range of amenities, and more.

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Valle del Sol is the largest residential community in the central valley, extending over 147 hectares and offering a tennis and golf complex. Located in Santa Ana, this family neighborhood is considered an oasis with quick access to golf, private schools and more.

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High-end residential community boasting a rural architectural design and landscaped gardens. La Hacienda in Santa Ana, formally known as La Hacienda del Bosque, offers some of the most exclusive homes and home plots in the west side of San José.

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Hacienda del Sol in Santa Ana is an exclusive residential gated community located just off Highway 27 that connects San José, Escazú and Santa Ana towards the Pacific Coast. It offers great family amenities in a beautiful setting with wide inner roads and a flat terrain.

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World class security and family neighborhood in the vibrant area of Lindora. This popular community in the western part of San José offers amenities, green areas and a wide array of luxury homes.

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Ultimately, the better choice hinges on individual preferences. It’s a personal call, and each neighborhood offers its unique charm to cater to varying tastes and needs, and their own type of community vibe. What is certain is that both Santa Ana and Escazú are great choices to live in!

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