Happy Birthday Atenas!
On Friday, Aug. 7, Atenas, Costa Rica will celebrate its 147th year of founding. You can celebrate with the town on Sunday, Aug. 9 – the main day off for most people. There will be an exhibition of women entrepreneurs selling their crafts, art and products in the Atenas Central Park from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A children’s area will keep kids happy with inflatable jumping toys, clowns and games.
The Municipality of Atenas honored the occasion with the message: “You don’t choose where you are born, but you can choose where you live!”
Located in the mountains due west of Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose, on the edge of the Pacific Coast, Atenas is known for its ideal location and great weather. San Jose is less than an hour to the east, and some of the best Pacific Coast beaches are under an hour to the west. The town’s rugged terrain of mountains and valleys ranges in elevation from 2,200 to 4,000 feet, offering its residents wonderful weather, stunning mountain landscapes, and panoramic valley and coastal views.
It is Atenas’ location, great weather and small-town ambiance that make the country town a special place to its 15,000 residents (27,000 including the outlying neighborhoods). Atenas also is a top place to retire in Costa Rica, cited by International Living, HelpAge International and AARP, and has attracted a substantial international population from all over the world.
Here is what Atenas residents – both native and new – have to say about why Atenas, Costa Rica is a special place to live:
- “Everyone is friendly and says hello. It is a tranquil town. I’ve lived here my whole life and will probably stay”
- “We take care of each other. It is in our roots. Even with our town’s growth, we have still preserved our small town feel and our customs. People here love our traditions and our tranquility.”
- “One of the main reasons we picked Atenas is because we wanted a cool fresh climate, and it is close to the beach, close to the airport, and close to the city.”
- “We picked Atenas because of location – being half-way between San Jose and the beach. We love Atenas for the climate, living in the country and being a small town. People are very friendly. It’s a quaint old-style village.”
- “Everywhere your eye falls it is so beautiful. The weather is great. The people are the friendliest of anywhere in the world.”
A little history of Atenas, Costa Rica
Atenas was founded in 1868 from the oxcart trail that transported coffee from the fertile Central Valley to the Pacific coastal port of Puntarenas. Atenas was a main meeting point along the route. Traders from the coast would travel up the low coastal foothills to Atenas to meet merchants from San Jose and the valley, each side selling their goods to the other. As Atenas developed, citizens from neighboring cities of Alajuela, San Jose and Heredia relocated to the region. Atenas’ oxcart history is immortalized in the famous Oxcart Monument in town by sculptor Manuel “Manolo” Torrecillas Lopez.
The heart of Atenas is its central park, with the Catholic Church bordering one side and ringed by shops, restaurants and cafes, the National Bank and the Atenas Municipality. The park is a perfect spot to enjoy an ice cream or coffee or simply take in local life. In the late afternoon, flocks of green parrots and the occasional toucan settle in the palm trees above the park.
Visit or live in Atenas, Costa Rica
To visit or live in Atenas, Costa Rica, contact Pure Life Development of Atenas real estate agency. Costa Rica realtors Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzalez-Porras specialize in Atenas homes for sale, Costa Rica properties for sale and Costa Rica vacation homes.
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
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".