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Summer Cultural Fiestas in Atenas, Costa Rica

Atenas Costa Rica Oxcart Parade, image by Shannon Farley

April is a big month in Atenas, Costa Rica
. This month the charming Costa Rica coffee town celebrates cultural traditions with three big events.

From April 17 to 20, 2015, the Senior Living Residence (Hogar de Ancianos) in Atenas will hold its annual Costa Rica cultural fiestas with a horse parade, horse show, music and dancing, and traditional foods and activities. All events will be held at the Hogar de Ancianos plaza behind the facility in the center of Atenas. Here is the schedule of events:


  • Friday, April 17: 5:00 p.m. Exhibition of traditional trotting horses, called “trotadores” in Spanish; 8:00 p.m. concert and dancing.
  • Saturday, April 18: 1:00 p.m. Traditional horse parade, called a “tope” in Spanish; 8:00 p.m. open-air dance and concert.
  • Sunday, April 19: 9:00 a.m. Catholic mass; 10:00 a.m. Traditional Costa Rican marching band and parade, called a “Grande Mascarada y Cimarrona” in Spanish; 11:00 a.m. Bingo with prizes; 3:00 p.m. concert; 7:00 p.m. dance.
  • Monday, April 20: 1:00 p.m. Traditional horse riding ribbon race, called “Carerras de Cintas” in Spanish; 7:00 p.m. Grand finale dance and fireworks show.
  • Food and drink will be sold throughout the festival.

Costa Rica Mascarada

The Atenas cultural fiestas are very popular and provide much-needed fundraising for the Senior Living Residence that provides a permanent home for approximately 70 seniors. “The popularity of the fiestas is that everyone in Costa Rica feels tremendous tenderness toward most seniors. The reason for the fundraising is that we need to close the gap between what it costs to actually take care of the senior residents and what the government and other institutions provide. We have to fundraise about 30 to 35% of our budget,” commented Marietta Arce, treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Hogar de Ancianos in Atenas. For more information, contact the Hogar de Ancianos in Atenas at 2446-5224.

Atenas Costa Rica Climate Fair

The weekend of April 24 to 26, Atenas will host its annual Climate Fair (Feria del Clima) in the Central Park. Put on by the Chamber of Tourism and Commerce of Atenas (CATUCA), the fiestas will feature the exhibition and sale of products with emphasis on environmental conservation, recycling, natural and organic, etc. There will be live music, dance performances by community groups, and traditional food and drink. The event is very fun for families. For more information, contact CATUCA at 2446-1047.

Atenas Oxcart Parade 2013, photo by Shannon Farley

The Climate Fair culminates on Sunday, April 26, with the much-loved traditional Costa Rica Oxcart Parade. Organized by the Atenas Oxcart Drivers’ Association (Asociacion Cuna del Boyero Ateniense), more than 300 oxcart drivers with their teams of oxen and carts are expected from all over the country to participate. The Atenas Oxcart Parade will begin at 10:00 a.m., traveling from the Atenas Senior Living Residence through town around the Central Park and back again.

Atenas Oxcart Parade 2013, photo by Shannon Farley

The oxcart driver, his team of matched oxen and colorfully-painted wooden oxcart and oxen yoke are one of the most deeply-defining national symbols of Costa Rican culture. So much so that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2005 proclaimed Costa Rica’s traditional oxcarts to be an Intangible World Cultural Heritage. Located on the traditional main oxcart route from the capital city of San Jose to the Pacific Coast, the town of Atenas has a long history with oxcarts. Atenas was the central meeting point for traders from the coast and from San Jose, 36 km away, to sell their goods. Atenas’ oxcart history is immortalized in the famous Oxcart Monumenton the main road into Atenas by sculptor Manuel “Manolo” Torrecillas Lopez.

Atenas Costa Rica oxcart monument

Atenas, Costa Rica is a favorite place for international retirement
. The quaint country town is located less than an hour’s drive from the capital city of San Jose, 30 minutes from the Juan Santamaria International Airport, and 45 minutes from Pacific Coast beaches. See what it would be like to live in Atenas, Costa Rica – known for its sunny climate – in this new video.

For real estate in Atenas, Costa Rica contact realtors Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzalez-Porras of Pure Life Development of Atenas, specializing in Atenas homes for sale and Costa Rica vacation rentals.

Article by Shannon Farley

Costa Rica Realtors Chamber

Tours in Costa Rica

Pure Life Development of Atenas is a full service tour company. We feature full vacation packages and day trips for the family. Our tour director Nelson Conejo is very experienced and provides a personal service and attention to detail second to none in Costa Rica. Please write Nelson or give him a call to arrange your next Costa Rican vacation at (506)2446-0447 or

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Retirement Living in Atenas

Interview with Pure Life Development co-founder and certified realtor Dennis Easters, about Costa Rica ranked by AARP as "one of the best places to retire abroad".


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