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 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.
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