Alajuela the city

Although many foreigners live in the city of San Jose, the majority prefer one of the smaller communities surrounding the city. These towns range from expensive to moderate places to live. For some mysterious reason, at least six of these towns have the same name—San Isidro—which adds to the confusion of finding your way about Costa Rica! San Antonio is another favorite place name which is scattered about like leaves in the wind.
One of the less expensive, yet pleasant places for foreigners to live is Alajuela. Situated on the western edge of San Jose, this small city is convenient to the airport, just a 20-minute ride from downtown San Jose. Clean, modern buses run every few minutes during the day, stopping at the airport on the way to and from San Jose.

Alajuela's focal point is a large park in the center of town (called the Parque Central, of course), a pleasant place shaded by tall trees, with chess boards built into some of the cement benches that surround the park. If you would like to meet North American retirees to ask information about Alajuela, this is the place to come; sometimes there seems as much English spoken as Spanish. This is the place to find out about housing rentals, who is leaving for the States, who has a car for sale, and who can recommend a gardener or a maid. A reputable money changer sits on a bench across from the bank in case you want to deal with him rather than stand in line. In the evenings, a mixture of classical and pop music can be heard by the park's bandstand where professional musicians entertain a couple of times a week.
A theater showing late-run Hollywood movies faces the park as does an open-front restaurant where 80 percent of the conver­sations are in English. (Other common languages are German, Italian or French.) The restaurant is known as an information center—a place to find rooms or houses for rent, for the latest scoop on what's happening about town. It's operated by an American Family.Not Far From the Park is an Excellent English peaking dentist, a travel agency run by an ex-Floridian, and several real estate agencies with North American personnel.

One interesting business, is the Alajuela Welcome Center. Operated by two long-time Costa Rica residents, the partners offer to share their experience in agriculture, construction and property management with new­comers. The business is affiliated with a travel agency and real estate office. This might be a good place to stop fora preliminary overview of Alajuela as a place to live.
Alajuela has several rather attractive neighborhoods, none very expensive, yet classy in appearance. One area I inspected is called Trinidad, about a 15-minute walk from the park. In 2004, I re-visited an American and his Costa Rican wife at their attractive Trinidad home; three bedrooms, two baths, a maid's room and a garage. Two years earlier, he had estimated the value of his home at $65,000. When asked what the home's present-day value might be, the owner, a retired orchardist from Florida said, "Remember, I told you that property here is bound to go up. Today, I figure $80,000 would be a fair price." In similar U.S. neighborhoods, it would cost triple that, at least. Another nice-looking neighbor­hood is near the local sports stadium, with prices even lower. All have nice landscaping, some with wrought-iron fences.
Housing costs in Alajuela seem to be exceptional bargains, considering the quality of the area. Other places available during my last visit: a two-bedroom, two-bath home for $49,000 and a four-bedroom place for $89,000. An interesting aspect of Alajuela's housing market is that $250 to $500 a month can rent a satisfactory home, one that would sell for between $40,000 and $80,000. This raises the question: is it better to rent or to buy? Some local people are convinced that property will continue going up here, so they advise buying. Who knows?

back to previous page - back to main information page

Do not hesitate to call us, it will be a pleasure serving you!

Tel:+1.888.365.0904 / +506.2643.2953
Fax: +506.2643.1356

During office hours
Costa Rica Time

Costa Rica Hotels

Telephone: +1.888.365.0904 / +506.2643.2953 -- Fax: +506.2643.1356
Center of Jaco next to Banco Nacional, Puntarenas - Costa Rica.
Copyright © 2001 - 2009. Created by
The site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 5 (or higher)