Green hills on a cloudy day in Escazu, Costa Rica.

6 reasons why you should visit Escazu, Costa Rica

Escazu is rarely on travellers' itineraries when they head to Costa Rica, and what a shame! The little suburb outside of San Jose offers a unique vibe that can't be experienced anywhere else in the country.

It's one of my favourite city escapes with its high-end shopping, excellent restaurants, and don't forget the almost all-year-round 24-degree weather. And with it being located in the Central Valley, you can escape to beaches on either side of the country quickly and easily.

Whether it's a stop on the way to the Cloud Forest or you're looking for a peaceful place to stay when you visit, here are a few reasons to add Escazu to your Costa Rica itinerary.

Flowers and countryside views in Escazu, Costa Rica

1. Escazu lives in eternal spring

Escazu experiences what many would call "eternal spring," never too hot, never too cold, but the perfect temperature all year round. This makes Escazu the perfect place to relax and unwind at any time of the year.

This also plays a major factor in why so many people have retired in Escazu over the last ten years. Skipping winter and avoiding the melting heat waves of August sounds pretty good, huh?

This mild climate is achieved thanks to its location 1000 meters above sea level, which gives it that unique temperate feel while keeping humidity away. It's also one of the reasons why Escazu boasts so many beautiful green areas like parks, gardens, and even a bio-reserve.

This spring-like weather also means you can enjoy outdoor activities in Escazu year-round. Because it's a city surrounded by mountains, it's an excellent spot for hiking and biking.

Like the rest of the country, the city does have a rainy season—but it's not as extreme as other regions in Costa Rica. Instead, most rain showers come during the late afternoons and evenings.

So, when the San Jose Sun is beating down, the Central Valley of Costa Rica is definitely the perfect escape.

Town centre in Escazu, Costa Rica

2. Escazu has excellent high-end shopping

Escazu puts the word trend in trendy. And you can't be a trendy place without having one of the best shopping centres in the country. If you love shopping, then that's reason enough to visit Escazu.

The city is known for having some of the best boutiques and shops in all of Central America. I thought that was a pretty high claim until I travelled to Central America a few years ago and could barely find a decent place to buy some clothes.

Then, I actually visited Escazu and was blown away. Escazu definitely lived up to the "best shopping" name, from high-end designer stores to chic boutiques.

The shops in Escazu are definitely pricier than the usual markets and second-hand shops you find throughout Central America, but they offer unique items that are made with quality material that you really can't find anywhere else—unless you're shopping at the H&M or Zara.

For a little bit of luxury and many options, head to Multiplaza Escazu Mall. This place has everything from designer clothing brands to high-end home décor stores. It's definitely the biggest mall in the area, and you can easily spend a few hours here.

If you're headed to the beach after Escazu, stop by Kai. They have the cutest swimwear, perfect to spice up your beach vacation.

Participants in the annual Oxcart Festival parade in Escazu, Costa Rica

3. You can go to the Oxcart Festival in Escazu

Being from Texas, the Oxcart Festival in Escazu feels a bit like home, and I love it!

Each year, on the second weekend of March, Oxcarts from all over the country make their way to Escazu for the weekend-long celebration. Now, maybe you aren't from Texas, and you're thinking, what the heck is an oxcart?

Well, an oxcart is basically a large wooden cart that's pulled by an ox. These carts were widely used in Costa Rica in the 19th century, and still, to this day, a lot of the farmers and cowboys are using these same oxen to plant and sow their land.

The Oxcart Festival is all about celebrating the transportation culture in Costa Rica and the incredible significance of these oxcarts in their history. During the festival, you'll spot multicoloured carts lining up on the streets outside the church in San Miguel de Escazú, with the oxen getting ready to pull them, stamping and snorting in excitement.

You'll also see the Costa Rican cowboys and cowgirls all dressed up and ready for the parade to start. You can join the lively parade by walking behind the carts and following them along the parade path... but watch out, lots of the oxen will be having their morning bathroom break. So it's best to look down every now and again, ha!

The parade is filled with marching bands, dancing puppets, and a whole lot of cowboy hats. You can even buy one from a vendor and join the fun. The parade starts at 9 a.m. near San Miguel Central Park.

Three dishes at a restaurant in Escazu, Costa Rica

4. There are many great restaurants in Escazu

Escazu is one of the most affluent areas in Costa Rica. So you know what that means—yummy food!

From five-star restaurants with delicious international cuisine to more laidback local spots that serve traditional dishes, you'll find exactly what you're craving in Escazu. I'm not kidding; in the centre of the neighborhood, there is a restaurant on every corner.

I mean, choosing where to eat can be hard enough, but with so many options... pfft! But don't worry. Here are two of my favourites to go to when you're in Escazu.

First up, my favourite restaurant for local Costa Rican food in Escazu is La Posada de las Brujas, and it's unreal! The food, the price, and the atmosphere are all Chef's Kiss! It has a more casual, laidback vibe, unlike the higher-end restaurants. But if you're looking for traditional food, then this is your go-to!

Order the Patacones Brujos to get started, trust me. Patacones are fried plantains, and they are incredible. They'll stuff them with meat and cheese and put a little bit of spice on them. You might want to order two rounds of these!

If you're looking for something more upscale, then I highly recommend El Novillo Alegre Escazú. It's an Argentinian Steak House and wowza, it's incredible. It's the perfect place in Escazu for a date night, birthday dinner, or night out with friends.

Start with a glass of red wine and enjoy yourself; you're in Costa Rica, after all. And if you're a meat eater, you have to get the Bife De Lomito—it's a classic Argentinian favourite that I'm constantly dreaming about.

A monarch butterfly on a flower in Costa Rica.

5. You can explore Mariposario Butterfly Kingdom

A little out of left field, but the Mariposario Butterfly Kingdom is a great reason to visit Escazu. I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the Butterfly Garden. I've been to a few others, but the one in Escazu has me singing its praises.

The farm was established in 2011 and has created a wonderland of caterpillars to cocoon safely and be released as butterflies in a natural habitat. They even have a place set up where you can watch butterflies make their way out of the cocoons and out into the world. It takes them a bit longer than I would have thought, but it's a really cool transformation.

The Butterfly Kingdom is all about environmental education. They offer guided tours where you'll get to learn about the life cycles of different butterfly species in Costa Rica and understand the importance of conserving and preserving the environment, all while getting up close and personal with the fluttery little guys.

You'll be able to discover a wide variety of Costa Rican butterflies, including the magnificent Blue Morpho. These are a little harder to get to land on your fingers, so you may have to watch them fly around you. But the Monarchs are more than happy to take a rest on your hand. Just put a little bit of squishy banana on your fingertips, and voila! Here they come.

This is one of the most unique experiences you'll have in Escazu, and if you're travelling with kids, they'll absolutely love it.

Looking down at the city of San Jose from the hills of Escazu

6. Escazu is close to San Jose

Escazu is one of the most accessible cities to visit when you're in Costa Rica; it's literally only 11 km from the San Jose Airport. Getting in and out has never been easier. Escazu is a suburb of San Jose but feels a world away.

While both San Jose and Escazu are within the same geographical region, they offer entirely different experiences. San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, is a bustling urban center known for its vibrant nightlife, hearty street food, and rich cultural history.

On the other hand, Escazu offers a more relaxed and upscale experience—perfect for those who love the luxuries of life. Often referred to as the "Beverly Hills" of Costa Rica, Escazu is known for its high-end shopping malls, gourmet restaurants, and luxury homes.

Its vibe is more suburban and tranquil compared to the hustle and bustle of San Jose. Despite their proximity, these neighbouring locales provide contrasting flavours of Costa Rican life. And I find that beautiful.

So many times, people have told me, "Oh, you have to visit this place or that place." Then I look at the map, and it takes two buses, a 20 km hike, and a boat to get there, ha! But not Escazu. It's so close to all the action that to miss this little neighbourhood would be a disservice to your Costa Rican adventure.

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Carae Hilcher

Author - Carae Hilcher

Carae is a free-spirited Texan, an expert traveller, and an adventurous soul who is passionate about living life to the fullest. With a contagious laugh and a love for unforgettable experiences, she is full of stories from around the world that she loves to tell.

Carae has been writing about her adventures for the past three years and loves diving into different cultures and seeing all the new places. When she's not on the move, you can find her practicing yoga or enjoying the beach-—with a cocktail in hand, of course. She has an unstoppable zest for life and tries to make the most out of every day.

Last Updated 10 October 2023

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