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Where NOT to stay when you look at Costa Rica real estate

Where NOT to stay when you look at Costa Rica real estateBefore it’s too late, let me tell you where NOT to stay when you look at Costa Rica real estate.

Most clients who visit for the first time before moving to Costa Rica don’t have an idea where they should stay when they look at Costa Rica real estate with our agents.

I don’t know anything about your taste for hotels, but I can tell you where NOT to stay when you go to San José.

When planning to move to Costa Rica, San José is not the place for you to stay, for many reasons. You go on the web, and your search for San Jose hotel will give a nice range of different hotels. Or you go to your travel agent and tell the agent you go to San Jose, Costa Rica, right? I’m sorry, but you are wrong. When you are in Costa Rica to see if living in Costa Rica is for you or not, do NOT stay in San Jose.

There are some nice hotels in San José, but if you are looking to move here, ask your real estate agent where you can stay. Occasionally, we have clients who want to look into moving to Escazu, Grecia or any other location west of San Jose. Let me show you why I want to tell you where NOT to stay when you look at Costa Rica real estate.

Where not to stay
Driving to the hotel from the International Airport

A war zone

The photo on the left is right across the street of a San Jose hotel, to me it looks like, a war zone. Walk out the door and you walk either into the red light district full of crackheads and hookers. before you know it, you’ll walk through the zona Dominicana, not an area you’ will feel safe in.

In the photo on the left is right across the street of a San Jose hotel. Honestly, to me, it looks like a war zone. Walk out the door and you walk either into the red light district full of crackheads and hookers or you walk through the zona Dominicana, not an area you’ will feel safe in.

Many capital cities in the world are beautiful and attractive cities, but San Jose is unfortunately not one of those. Oh yes, San Jose has some attractions, mostly museums and some other less educational places that men seem to find interesting.

Unless you need to stay in San Jose for business, you don’t want to go to San Jose. The inner city is definitely not a place to start your real estate tours.

The International airport where you will be landing, the Juan Santamaria airport, is called on your ticket SJO, for San Jose. But the airport is located in Alajuela, 40 minutes away from San Jose.

How to make hotel reservations

Before you make your hotel reservations, ask your real estate agent where to stay and tell him/her your budget. Your real estate agent knows the areas and might get a discount for you at certain hotels in the area. Your agent will pick an accessible, affordable, safe and secure hotel or B & B for you, where you will be treated well.

Where not to stay in San Jose
on the south-east corner of the hotel

Easy search on Google

Most visitors don’t know what areas to look for on Google. So they just search for San Jose Costa Rica hotel (not San Jose hotel because you’ll end up in California). The problem is that many larger hotels list themselves as a San Jose hotel. If they don’t, you might never find them and not book with them.

The Marriot hotel is listed as Costa Rica Marriott San Jose and it is located about ½ an hour west of San Jose, in San Antonio de Belen. Belen belongs to the province of Heredia. The Marriott Courtyard is listed as Marriott Courtyard San Jose Escazu and is located in Escazu. Escazu is 15 minutes from San Jose. There are quite a few hotels who are really downtown San Jose though and you need to make sure you really want to stay there. The inner city is where NOT to stay when looking for real estate.

Staying in a downtown area

A while ago, a client had made reservations for the Best Western San José. On of our agents, Rudy Matthews (now retired), called the client in the States and was adamant about them changing their reservations to the Best Western Irazu.

I didn’t know about the issue. When they were here, they kept insisting they wanted to see property in San José. I thought it was weird these clients kept insisting they wanted to see properties there.

Then it hit me: they wanted to see where they would have stayed if Rudy wouldn’t have called them. When they saw where that hotel was located, they said they now understood why it was so cheap. They agreed that’s a place where NOT to stay when looking for real estate.

If you look at the pictures of the hotel on their website, you’d have no clue. But we took some pictures of the area and will let you decide for yourself. Surfvoucher placed it right in the Red Light District of San Jose so make sure to check photoshoot before you book at ANY hotel.

Where not to stay in San Jose
Only 1 block from the hotel

Check it out for yourself

We took some pictures in the immediate area of the hotel Best Western San Jose. All are taken less than 3 blocks away. Some behind the hotel, were you see the garbage on the streets. One in front of Salvation Army, right behind the hotel, where crackheads and drunks sleep on a cardbox box. One right across the street, of a small covered market that was closed years ago and grafiti artists got hold of it since. If you click on each picture, you’ll be able to see the large one, for better details.

Neighboring empty property needs protection?  This will soon be a policestation in San Jose

Garbage in the San Jose neighborhood  more garbage in San Jose neighborhood

Crack junks one street away from the hotel 

San Jose Industry 1 block away  the San Jose red light district

Time on the road

When you look at Costa Rica real estate while doing your real estate tours with any of the agents in the Central Valley, it will take the agent anywhere between one and two hours to pick you up at the hotel and the same to get you back. We don’t have any agents with listings in San Jose. You don’t want to spend 2 – 4 hours a day stuck in traffic wasting your and the agent’s valuable time.

Nothing against the Best Western

I have nothing against the Best Western hotel or against the owners of the hotel.  I don’t even know who they are. Having clients in that hotel is bad for my business, Costa Rica real estate. When clients ask me where to stay, the Best Western Irazu is amongst the options I send. But I also tell them where NOT to stay.

Feel free to leave your comments on this blog. If you like this article, please feel free to share it on your social media.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon.If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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