San Jose - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The U.S. Embassy leases large townhouses or homes in the richer, western suburbs of the city for families and has some smaller apartments closer in for singles. All housing is in gated compounds; most houses are not stand-alone but most compounds do have pools and other amenities. Commute times in normal traffic are around 30-45 minutes, but the traffic is unpredictable and commutes can be longer. - Sep 2020

We all live in condos. The presentation is fine, but the commutes are terrible whenever the country is not on vacation. - Jul 2018

Housing is nice, though not constructed with the best quality. Yards are tiny to nonexistent. Commute time is LONG!!! Traffic here is awful. Takes forever to get anywhere due to congestion. - Dec 2016

Housing is fine, except that Costa Rican homes generally have teeny tiny yards or gardens. There is no typical commute time, as traffic is so bad that you never really know how long it will take you to get anywhere, except that it will almost always be painful. The housing close to the Embassy is 30-45 minutes to the Embassy and 30-45 minutes to the location of the new site of the main school (CDS). The housing closer to the new school site is 45-60 minutes to the Embassy and 15-30 minutes to the school. Some Embassy staff commute to and from work very very early or late to reduce commute times. There is another school that is a good deal further from the Embassy, and there are some other smaller schools that are not quite as far. - Feb 2016

Houses and nice apartments, mainly in Santa Ana. Commute can vary from 15 to 45 minutes or more depending on traffic, accidents, rain, and the latest bridge collapse. - Apr 2014

It's a mix of apartments, duplexes and houses, and most come with very small yards. Some apartments are located near the embassy making it a 5-10 min commute, but these are typically assigned to singles or couples. Housing is typically located in Escazu or Santa Ana, with more & more housing moving towards Santa Ana due to sizes & costs. It can be difficult for large families, as it is hard to find housing with more than 3 bedrooms. Commutes from Escazu to the embassy range from 15-30 min. Commutes from Santa Ana range from 25 - 40 min. Most housing has space for maid's quarters, which typically includes a bathroom. Many families use this for additional storage space, as storage is limited. Most houses are also multi-story, making it difficult for the physically disabled. Additionally, most flooring is either tile or wood or a mix of both. Carpeting is rare due to the humidity. - Jun 2013

Housing is nice and large. Depending on where you live it can take anywhere from 25-40 minutes to/from work. - Aug 2011

We live in a beautiful house (single family home) in Trejos. Most embassy workers live in Escazu in big appartments or in gated communities. The houses are very nice, but have no pools. - Feb 2010

Most Embassy homes are two-floor town-houses, with a very small yard. Most people say that housing is generally smaller than other posts they've been to but we like our town-house. Single employees are assigned apartments. Some families have stand-alone houses. Most housing is in Escazu, a 10 minute drive from the Embassy. New roads built over the last year have made commutes pretty good, and they just completed a new road to the beach which will make it roughly an hour and fifteen minutes to the nearest beach. - Jan 2010

Varies. I lived in three locations over three years, including a very local, typical small town, and two affluent, expat areas. If you work at the Embassy you will most likely live in Escazu and the distance between Escazu and the Embassy is not far at all, but it all depends on traffic....which in Escazu on the main road is horrendous. - Jul 2008

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