Explore Escazú, Costa Rica's Enticingly Elevated Shopping Destination

Escazú, Costa Rica is where the most modern shopping in the country may be found. Avenida Escazú is a shopping destination boasting an I-MAX 3D theater amidst a long walking-street of upscale boutiques and trendy cafes, and sleek modern loft apartments line the upper levels of Avenida Escazú. Some evenings, live music acts take to to a series of outdoor stages, and DJs mix at sunset happy hour showcase events. Further afield, seek out the castle-like studio of J. Lang Atelier and Showroom and browse her exquisite line of handmade leather purses. Visit the Altea furniture showroom and pose on sofas custom designed for lounging in high style. Pick up reading for your trip and vintage souvenirs from the shelves of charming Driftwood Books- if you can't find something there, head to the well-stocked Libreria International. On Saturdays just south of the San Miguel church, the Feria Orgánica de Escazú, or Central Farmers Market of Escazú is a showcase of seasonal produce and an opportunity to browse locally grown fruit; a must visit for foodies and organic food enthusiasts. Not far from Escazú, Biesanz Woodworks offers a stunning collection of bowls, boxes, and humidors in the artist's Shaker-inspired style. 


Stock up on books in any language for the rest of your Costa Rican vacation at this large and comprehensive outpost for books. From best sellers to autobiographies and language books to help you get by, Libreria International has something for most everybody looking for a book- or a few- in Escazú. You never know when the rain will come down or the bus will be stuck in traffic, so it's best to be prepared to while away some time the older fashioned way, especially since wi-fi isn't a given in every nook and cranny of the country, and it'd be a shame to be caught with only your Kindle in one of Costa Rica's famous downpours.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Excellent selection of books and CDs for the whole family- stock up here for the rest of your trip before leaving Escazú.

Sophia's expert tip: With more than 16 locations around the capital city of San Jose, you can return your unread books before flying out.

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Sometimes it seems like there are as many babies as there are any other living beings in Costa Rica! If someone you know has one or is planning to, there may be no better place to pick up a gift for the wee one than at Baby Boom. Stocked full of all things baby, this store carries a nice variety of infant and toddler clothing, colorful accessories such as mobiles, educational and just plain cute toys, and a big selection of stuff for parents (and parents-to-be, too). Perhaps you've found yourself in Costa Rica without your favorite diaper bag, or lacking enough entertainment to keep your little one occupied, look no further than the aisles at Baby Boom.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Take a break from shopping for you in this easy-to-browse baby-centric outpost of all things infant and toddler.

Sophia's expert tip: Find all your favorite international brands of baby gear under one roof at this one-stop baby shop.

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Ever wonder where Costa Rican women go shoe shopping, much less how they manage to maneuver the city's treacherous hilly streets in sky high heels, or dance from dusk til dawn while sporting an extra three inches off the ground? Stiletto in the Multiplaza Escazú is one of the country's finest establishments for those in search of some fancy footwear. The modern, streamlined shop features a long list of designer brands such as Coach, Bebe, Vince Camuto, BCBG, Marc Fisher, Peter Kent, Via Spiga, Michael Kors, Arturo Chiang and Lucky Brand. Despite its upscale address and chic decor, Stiletto has a range of styles and prices for almost every shoe shopper.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Women's footwear for all seasons can be found at this chic shoe shop.

Sophia's expert tip: The Michael Kors Daisy Moccasin Loafers are perfect for walking around the city streets.

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Altea Design is where you can come to dream about how you'll deck out your new home in Costa Rica. Showrooms display cutting edge modern sofas, tables, chairs, and all things home decor, with lots of bright colors to complement the country's vibrancy. You'll also find smaller items such as candlesticks, picture frames, flower vases, and clocks. All of Altea's inventory is crafted in Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, United States and other parts of the world, and are distributed exclusively by Altea in Costa Rica. Altea Design is open from 10 am to 7 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Altea Design Costa Rica is a top go-to for home decor.

Sophia's expert tip: Rest tired feet by sampling the sofa selection.

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Multiplaza Mall
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

Multiplaza Mall is located in Escazú along the Santa Ana Highway, and it's a expansive, recently renovated mall with a large number of shops catering to a well-heeled set of Costa Ricans and tourists, who will find designer favorite storefronts such as Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Diesel, and even Oscar de la Renta, plus a surprisingly modern selection of up-and-coming but still upscale shops. Mall lovers can easily spend a leisurely morning perusing the goods of local department stores as well as international chain stores, and if that's not enough, there are two movie theaters, several nice restaurants and a large supermarket also contained within this sprawling complex.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Air conditioning and movie theaters help make this place a family favorite shopping destination.

Sophia's expert tip: Movie theaters at this mall show movies in English.

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J. Lang Atelier & Showroom in Escazu is a dream come true for handbag lovers in Costa Rica. Each piece is designed by Jennifer Lang, who draws her inspiration from the natural beauty of her new home. There are a variety of styles to choose from, including popular clutches and her MIO roll bag, with new designs in the works every season. Key elements of J. Lang's purses and accessories are bright colors and textured leather, and many come with a signature gold leaf zipper pull. These designer purses have been bought by celebrities, and they have been featured in fashion magazines such as In Style and Vogue.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: These lovely leather handbags are inspired by and made in Cost Rica.

Sophia's expert tip: J. Lang carries some accessories for men, too; check out the leather belt collection.

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Though other farmers markets have begun to spring up on different days of the week, the original and biggest is the Ezcazu Central Farmers Market, held each Saturday from 7 am to 1pm just south of the San Miguel Church in the center of Escazu. Farmers come from miles around to set up booths full of fresh food. There is a great selection of exotic fruits such as mamon chinos and carambola (star fruit), an eye-popping variety of vegetables, plus vendors selling fresh fish, artisinal cheese, and handmade crafts. There is usually at least a couple of vendors selling prepared food, too, so try a Costa Rican empanada while you have the chance.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: This is where to see and sample what's in season and find the freshest organic everything from local farmers.

Sophia's expert tip: Get there early as plenty of vendors sell out well before closing time.

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Highly regarded as one of the best woodworking artist galleries in Costa Rica, Biesanz Woodwork is the place to go to pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Barry Biesanz, the artist behind the work, is inspired by the simple Shaker aesthetic, and creates mini-materpieces in the form of bowls, jewelry boxes, humidors, chopsticks, and swords from a variety of hardwoods found throughout Costa Rica. A visit to the gallery in Escazú may include a personal tour of the woodshop, where the aging and carving process is explained, as well as a walk through the picturesque gardens. Hours: Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm Saturday 9 am to 3pm (December to April)

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: The Biesanz gallery shop offers hand-crafted wood gifts from Costa Rican hardwood trees.

Sophia's expert tip: Call in advance for directions and to request a tour.

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Avenida Escazú is Costa Rica's newest and most modern shopping development, considered by some shoppers to be a highlight of a visit to Escazú, already home to the Multiplaza Mall and many other shops. Avenida Escazú follows the newish trend with its long outdoor promenade lined with boutiques, fine dining, and trendy cafes- the country's first Starbucks is proudly located on this strip. Other major international name brands have also chosen the Avenida to open up shop, such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Carolina Herrera, and Tiffany & Co., luring the well-heeled to browse, buy, and be seen. There is an IMAX theater here, showing current movies in English.

Recommended for Escazú's Best Shopping because: Avenida Escazú is designed to be Costa Rica's most exciting shopping destination.

Sophia's expert tip: If the people watching isn't enough, there is often live entertainment on the weekends.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia