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Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off Supports the Hogar de Vida

It’s that time of year in Costa Rica where the weather is perfect; dry and sunny. The annual festivals are in full swing.  Traditional tope’s are everywhere, with Palmares leading the way.  Here in Atenas, February brings another great event, the annual chili cook off to support the Hogar de Vida de Ninez in Ateans (www.homesoflife.org). 


This year will be the 5th Annual Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off (www.atenaschilicookoff.com), which was started and hosted by Kay and Tom Costello of Kay’s Gringo Postres.  Mary Cook, a great friend and client of ours somehow wrangled Gerardo and I into entering the contest as chili cooks this year (we usually take a more behind the scenes approach by a monetary donation).  In the end, we decided it would be a lot of fun and we love the feeling of being able to be proactive and do something for the community!



Five years ago, Tom and Kay Costello wanted a way to help the local children’s home.  The idea of a chili cook-off was born with the idea of getting the community involved as well. Since the it’s inception, the annual chili cook off has grown to become a full blown event.  Last year there were 14 chili cooking teams, over 600 people in attendance from all over Costa Rica and around $3,400.00 was raised to support the Hogar de Vida de Ninez in Atenas.  This year the event has attracted 30 chili cooking teams (including Pure Life Development of Atenas) and they are expecting over 1,000 attendees with hopes to exceed the amount of last years donations.


The Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off is not child’s play, it’s serious business!  The contestants are judged on by a panel of 5 judges flown in from TEXAS, where chili is an art form.  The judges will be judging on the following criteria:

  1. Aroma
  2. Color
  3. Taste
  4. After-taste
  5. Consistency

The judges cannot make faces or commentaries and in the end will pick the top three chili’s.  In addition to the panel of judges, the public get’s to vote and there will be a People’s Choice Award.  For the contestants there are very specific rules and regulations that must be followed, if not you will be eliminated!



This years chili cook off will take place on February 12, 2012 at Quinta Romavista, in Barrio Mercedes of Atenas.  The event is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The entry fee is 1,500 colones per person.  In addition to the chili cook-off/tasting, the event features live music, a silent auction, raffles with prizes, contests, games, a beer and wine garden, hot dogs, wings, pies, cakes and many other things to keep the senses happy!  For a map and more details, please check out the website at :  www.atenaschilicookoff.com.  If you have any questions on how you can get involved or learn more about the event, go to the contacts page and fill out the form, or mail one of the event coordinators directly.



We learned about the Hogar de Vida de Ninez and Tim and Dena’s wonderful work via Tom and Kay and many of our amazing clients, turned friends, like Doug and Kathy Case, who have volunteered at the “Hogar”  over the years.  It is always a privilege to be asked to work with an organization that provide an invaluable service to our community, especially to little ones who otherwise would have no place to go. Directly from their website, the mission of Hogar de Vida is:


“ Homes of Life is a Christian mission dedicated to caring for orphaned children through mission work in Costa Rica and Guatemala missions.  In partnership with Children of Promise International, Homes of Life provides a safe, loving environment where children can thrive.  We count on the generosity of volunteers, donors and other organizations who share our dedication to the well-being of children around the world.”

To find out more about the Hogar and how you can help, please check out their website at: www.homesoflife.org Please remember, “helping” is not just about money...volunteering is just as valuable.



Everyone who knows Tom and Kay, can see from the moment you meet them what big hearts they have.  Over the years, they have not only lived in Atenas but have both made a concerted effort to become part of the community that is Atenas.  Having a soft spot for children they wanted to find a way to help support the local children’s home, Hogar de Vida de Ninez, thus the Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off was born. The small desert business they started over 7 years ago has blossomed into a great little diner (Kay’s Gringo Postres) where expats and locals can meet and have coffee, something sweet or a great meal.  Sunday brings the breakfast buffet with goodies such as eggs, bacon, sausage, gallo pinto, biscuits and sausage gravy, fresh fruit and sweet rolls!  You will always be greeted with a big smile and hello....and more often than not a hug and kiss...Come on, your at home, don’t be shy!  You can enjoy Kay’s Gringo Posters Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 - 6:00, Saturday 8:00 to 4:00, and Sunday 8:00 to 1:00.  Kay’s Gringo Postres is located just past the Red Cross in Atenas, on Calle Guiesero.



Gerardo and I want to ask all of our friends, family and clients to come out and support team Pure Life Development on February 12th.  Your support will do amazing things for some very deserving children.  Not only will you be supporting a worth while cause, you will have a great time in a positive atmosphere socializing and enjoying the great entertainment and tasty food!  We look forward to seeing you all!


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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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