Esparza, Puntarenas, Central Pacific, Costa Rica
Esparza is being discovered by expatriates and Ticos. This Costa Rica area, second in the province of Puntarenas with a population of approximately 25,000, is situated on the central Pacific coast. The city of Esparza is 80 kilometers west of San Jose on the Pan-American highway, with the new Caldera to San Jose highway 20 minutes away. The Nicaragua border is 2 1/2 hours while the Panama border is 4 hours. The country side is one of rolling hills, deep river valleys, and mountain views.
Esparza, the second oldest city in Costa Rica, was founded by the Spaniards in 1574 (the oldest is Cartago, founded in 1562). Interestingly, the first site chosen by the Spanish for Esparza was situated on a bluff overlooking the Nicoya Peninsula. However, after the streets were laid out in the typical grid pattern, the Spanish abandoned this site in favour of the current location of Esparza as it was further inland and therefore less likely to be attacked. The original streets of the first site in the pueblo of Chumical, are still there and one can wander these streets through rolling hills with stunning views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the city of Puntarenas. The Port of Caldera, an important cargo and cruise ship port was founded in 1577.
Esparza has attracted several new small to medium sized housing developments currently under construction. The question that begs to be answered is “Why chose Esparza?”
The primary reasons are:
-The ideal location of the city: there is quick access to San Jose, beaches, and 2 international airports (San Jose and Liberia)
-Lower prices for land and homes than areas closer to the Pacific or Central Valley
-The climate is comfortably warm year round due to its elevation of about 1000 feet. Summers (December through April) are dry with temperatures in the mid 80’s and cooling breezes. Winters (May through November) have sunny mornings, rains nearly every afternoon and temperatures in the mid 80’s.
Costa Rica Attractions
In less than 30 minutes, the following Costa Rica areas can be enjoyed:
-The Original Canopy Tour in one of the few protected preserves of Mahogany trees
-Carara National Park with one of the largest populations of Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica. This park is also popular destination of international “birders”
-Tarcoles River with its resident crocodiles
-Adventure Park Rio Barranca with canopy tours rappelling, ATV quad tours, superman flight tours, night time canopy tours and hiking
-Playas Dona Ana for swimming and surfing, Caldera, Tivies and Mata Limon
-TaruBari Park with cable cars, canopy tours, superman flights and botanical gardens
-Panaca, an educational and interactive farm with more than 2000 domestic animals and gardens
-The historic Puente de las Damas (Bridge of the Women) over the Jesus Maria River where the locals enjoy swimming
-Ferry to Nicoya Peninsula
-The daily fruit markets of Orotina
-Kayaking in the Mangroves at Mata Limon
In less than 60 minutes, it is possible to participate in:
-World class surfing
-Deep sea fishing
-Dancing under the stars at Mirador Restaurant and Bar in Atenas
There are excellent restaurants in the area for those who enjoy fine dining. To name a few: River View in Esparza, Las Candelillas in San Mateo, Costa del Sol in Mata Limon, Villa Caletas in Herradura
Esparza provides shops for all the basic needs of daily living. On Saturday, there is a fresh fruit and vegetable market with very reasonable prices. For North American food items, the Automercado in Herradura is 40 minutes away. The ferreterias offer a wide range of building materials, including higher end products.
Esparza offers a selection of excellent schools, both public and private. Esparza was the first community to offer computer courses in its schools. There is a branch of the National University in Puntarenas.
There are several physicians, both general practitioners and specialists and dentists in Esparza. The provincial hospital is located in the city of Puntarenas.