If you are undecided about where to buy a home in Costa Rica, the five most important things to consider are: lifestyle, climate and geography, infrastructure, community, and pricing.
All of these are very personal, just like choosing the kind of car you want to drive. Your best strategy is to rent a place for a few months to see how you like living in that area.
Atenas, Costa Rica is a top place for international living, and also a fun vacation destination because it ranks high in all categories.
1. What kind of lifestyle are you looking for? What are your hobbies? Do you want a quiet rural or beach life, or do you need the hustle and bustle of a big town or city? Atenas’ ideal location in the western Central Valley, halfway between San José and Pacific Coast beaches, makes it a popular place to live. It is a small town, yet cosmopolitan, and is close to big city action.
2. Costa Rica has many diverse regions and microclimates, but for the most part you can boil down Costa Rica climate and geographyto:
- Beaches – North, Central and South Pacific Coast, and the Caribbean
- Lake Arenal and Volcano Arenal
- Steamy lowland jungle in the southern Pacific region – basically from Dominical south
- The Central Valley highlands, where Atenas and the capital city of San Jose are located
Expect heat at the beach, no matter which coast. Costa Rica is between 9 and 11 degrees north of the equator, and the beaches are HOT! On average, temperatures are about 90+ F with humidity. Air-conditioning is available, but can easily run $400 or more per month. To get cooler, you have to go up in elevation. In the mountains, you can find daytime temperatures in the low 70's, with nights around 40-60 F. However, there are often more clouds and rain in the mountains. The Central Valley is the most moderate. In Atenas, daytime temperatures vary from 60 to 80 F, and 50 to 65 at night, depending on the time of year.
3. Infrastructure in Costa Rica is crucial: quality medical and health care facilities, international airports, good roads, services, and entertainment like restaurants, theaters, cultural performances and shopping. Atenas is close to the SanJose/Juan Santamaría International Airport, top public and private health care facilities, shopping and entertainment in the city, and has easy access to major highways.
4. There are many large foreign resident communities around Costa Rica. Atenas has a great foreign community and quality education at private, bilingual schools.
5. If you want to live at the beach, expect to pay higher prices for a home. The Central Valley has a wide range of affordable real estate in Costa Rica. InAtenas, a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, furnished home on a half-acre lot with a pool and views, and even a car included, is listed at $350,000.
For more information about Atenas, check out the Guide to Living in Atenas, Costa Rica and the list of restaurants in Atenas from Pure Life Development of Atenas. For Atenas real estate, contact Atenas Costa Rica realtors Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzalez Porras.
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".