May 07 2012

The Mountain Town of Puriscal

Puriscal is a canton (county) within San Jose province. Its heart and capital is Santiago de Puriscal, a mountain town about an hour west (41 km.) of San Jose. The population of the canton of Puriscal is 41,000 and it is composed of nine districts:

  • Santiago (the county seat)
  • Mercedes Sur
  • Barbacoas
  • San Rafael
  • Candelaria
  • Desamparaditos
  • Grifo Alto
  • San Antonio
  • Chires

Puriscal is known for its “perfect climate.” The average altitude is 3,600 feet, and the average temperature is 70°f, plus or minus 10°f . It tends to have a longer green season and less wind than many other locations.

The canton is also known for its coffee and tobacco farms. In fact, Santiago de Puriscal gained fame for its cigar manufacturing and coffee production. The mountains in this area are beautiful but, though you might not notice, it is one of the areas most affected by deforestation.

Puriscal has its own public hospital and many excellent doctors and dentists. It is also only 45 minutes via good paved roads to La Cima private Hospital and Escazu. There is also comfortable, frequent express bus service to San Jose for $1.75 each way.

Puriscal has several excellent restaurants, including a good Chinese restaurant (the only one in CR with toasted rice plates). And it’s only 1 1/4 hours on good paved road to Pacific beaches with monkeys. Most daily food and household products are available in local pulperias or larger stores in Santiago.

Puriscal offers a lot of options for Expats looking to relocate, with rentals ($300-$900 per month), homes for sale, and new home construction, some with big Central Valley and/or Gulf of Nicoya views. High speed Internet is available everywhere. There are about 200 Expats from many backgrounds and interests already living in Puriscal. This is a low crime area and the police are generally very helpful and friendly.

Why I Chose Puriscal, by Linda Stevener

I chose Puriscal for my permanent home two years ago. I first lived in Grecia for a year to see how I liked living in Costa Rica.  I looked in the Grecia area and San Ramon and in between before deciding on Puriscal.  Every place in Costa Rica has microclimates and wonderful views, so you can find your perfect spot almost anywhere.  I am in the little community of Bajo Campos, at 3,500 ft, near Barbacoas, outside of Puriscal, and the climate for me is just right, cool nights, days in the 70’s, seldom in the low 80’s, and not in a cloud forest.

The expat community here is very friendly, and we have yoga, bridge and poker groups, as well as friends that meet for lunch, dinner or drinks in several restaurants.  We have parties for any occasion at people’s homes, and groups of ladies that meet for lunch in town, or shopping down the mountain. Puriscal is a smaller town than some, and I can park in one spot and do most of my errands by walking, and I feel very safe in town as well as my neighborhood.  Most places I shop know me by name, and will go out of their way trying to help.  I love the small town feel here, and the politeness of everyone, I have had strangers put their umbrella over me and walk me to my car.  I think that’s what makes this place…..the people!”

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