Costa Rica’s Santa Ana – Old World Meets New

Small strip malls like this one in Santa Ana leaves one to think they are in the US

Small strip malls like this one in Santa Ana leaves one to think they are in the US

Last week I posted a brief history of Quepos of how it is one of the most Americanize cities in Costa Rica, now I thought I’d write about one of the most industrial cities. When one thinks of Santa Ana, think old world culture that is clashing with modernization.

Santa Ana is a city in San José Province and located about  six miles from San Jose. It is one of the closest cities to the San Jose airport in a West meets East environment.

Situated just beyond trendy Escazú, this smaller, alluring suburb of San José is growing rapidly.  Here is where you will find a large international population, enthralled in the local ambiance due to the modern conveniences provided and its cultural atmosphere.  Local arts and crafts can be checked out at Cerámica Santa Ana, where pottery is still made on old-fashioned kick-wheels, to high rise buildings that hold Forbes 500 companies of IBM, Intel, HP and many more.

Driving around you will see modern-looking strip malls like you see above. At times you swear you are in some suburban US city. Road side stands sell glamorous bouquets of flowers, local produces of mangos, bananas and sweet onions, which are the local crop.

There is even a hot dog stand that serves great dogs, a funky local bar called, Rock and Roll (unreal Hawaii Shrimp plate)  and a trendy   Harley Davidson Club and Bar complete with  mechanics, ear pounding rock and roll music, VIP room, big screen TVs,  and tattoo parlor. This is a unique bar and one of these days I will do a post on it, complete with video. Santa Ana is also  home to Costa Rica’s Largest Harley Davidson Club, Los De XIbalba Motorcycle Club

Developments like the Santa Ana Country Club Condo Project sold out fast

Developments like the Santa Ana Country Club Condo Project sold out fast

Its dry climate and mild temperatures attract sun-lovers and outdoor modern shopping enthusiasts and golfers will appreciate the excellent greens that demand the same fees as those in the US. Some other amenities include modern tennis courts and two equestrian centers that knock on the doors to residential areas. It is not uncommon to drive down a off-the-beaten-path residential street that sports the wealth of million dollar gated communities and homes to the rich and famous that flank cracker-jack houses of local Costa Ricans.

Many diplomats, heads of states, princesses and princes, and embassy big wigs live in this very diverse city that is  close to the international CIMA hospital, whose bilingual staff caters to overseas patients that seek plastic and medical surgery and wellness. American chain and fast food restaurants  Outback Steak House to Burger King will share shopping mall space of businesses like Home and Office Depot and the trendy high-class stores of fashion giants and restaurants.

Multiplaza, the biggest mall in Costa Rica, as well as PriceSmart (like a Wal-Mart of Costa Rica)  The mall is home to over 100 businesses, a large food court, modern movie theaters showing North American movies in English, banks and financial institutions, department stores, restaurants and over 1,000 parking spaces.

However, drive or walk a few blocks and you will get the traditional feel of a typical Costa Rican town, along with its predominantly Costa Rican population, small stores, bars, gas stations, medical and dental clinics, beauty salons, coffee houses, hotels, private schools, restaurants offering local and international cuisine and Sunday fresh fruit and vegetable markets.  Santa Ana has been the choice of real estate and commercial development unprecedented in the entire Central Valley.

Bluntly putting it, Santa Ana combines all the advantages of a metropolitan lifestyle with the comforts of country living.

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