Ever since childhood, I dreamed of far away, exotic lands ruled by kings and queens who lived in gold drenched palaces in a fairy tale settings. My dreams were so vivid that I could visualize myself as a part of these landscapes. I could actually reach out and touch the lush green mountains and frolic in the crystal waters of a babbling brook.
As I matured, so did my dreams, along with a growing sense of urgency to see the world. Now that I am a grown up, I realize that I have lived a charmed life, as I was encouraged by my wonderful family to cultivate and follow my dreams. I was always told, "You can do whatever you put your mind to in this life." Thus, my dreams created a burning desire to live in a foreign and exotic land. Those dreams lead me to Atenas, Costa Rica, my fairytale land.
Over the years much has been written about Atenas, Costa Rica. But why Atenas? What is so special about this "pueblito" tucked into the lush green mountains? Well, I can only tell you about Atenas from my perspective and what brought this charming little corner of the world to my attention.
Like others before me, I could go on about Atenas's climate, what some call "el mejor clima del mundo" (which translates to "the best climate in the world"). It's true, the climate is marvelous. Daytime high temperatures range in the mid 80s with nighttime lows from the low to mid 60s. I was born and raised in hot and humid Florida, so this is a vast improvement!
As a person who has been involved in real estate my entire adult life, I could impress upon you that Atenas has the most important feature in real estate, LOCATION. From Atenas, it is just a short 30 minute drive to San Jose, 25 minutes to the Juan Santamaria International airport, and 45 minutes to the Pacific coast via the new San Jose/Caldera Highway. Heaven knows, I have spent more than my fair share of time on these roads, enjoying every corner that can be explored in Costa Rica. In fact, every chance I get, especially in the summer, I head out on the weekends to explore something new. I've climbed Costa Rica's highest peak, Mt. Chirripo, swam in the Rio Celeste (not sure if I was supposed to or not), and soaked in remote sulphur hot springs near the Rincon del la Vieja volcano. Atenas is in the perfect location to access all of these natural splendors.
However, to me one of the most amazing things about Atenas is its people! Their friendliness really contributes to the excellent lifestyle that exists in this beautiful little spot in paradise. I can tell you from first hand experience that the wonderful people in Atenas, both the native Ticos and the ex-pats, are at the top of the list when it comes to the reasons why AARP Magazine named Atenas as one of it's top 10 retirement destinations in 2010. This place has everything!
There are some really great restaurants in and around the Atenas area. You have a wide array of restaurants that serve up delicious local fare. If you're looking for exotic cuisine, there are fantastic Japanese and Indian restaurants not far away in Santa Ana. One thing is for certain, you'll never go hungry in Atenas!
In addition to all these great reasons for enjoying Atenas, you have the advantage of being close to world class, state of the art medical facilities in the capital of San Jose. My mother lives here as well and I can attest to the top quality medical care that she has received in both Atenas and San Jose. If you have children, Atenas is also an excellent place to raise a family. There is a great sense of community here and it offers a safe and tranquil country setting where children can still be "children". Atenas has some of the top rated schools, both public and private, in Costa Rica.
It is no wonder Atenas has become not only a top retirement destination, but a great place to discover the "pura vida". In Costa Rica, you will frequently hear the locals wishing you, "pura vida". What exactly is "pura vida"? I can honestly say that in the past seven years of living in Costa Rica that I have discovered the meaning of pura vida! The literal translation of "pura vida" means "pure life" in English. However, to the Ticos (locals) it really is more than an expression, it is a way of life! Pura Vida means to slow down, to take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and be grateful for all the blessings we have in this life. When I take my morning walk, it is just as much about mental relaxation as it is about physical exercise. Here in Atenas, I really soak up my surroundings. The sights and smells of the fresh countryside are truly invigorating. When I go to the "feria" (farmers' market) every Friday morning in downtown Atenas, this experience is part of the "pura vida". Not only do I get to buy the very freshest fruits, veggies, and dairy products, but I am met with hundreds of smiles and a lot of friendly exclamations of "hola" or "buenos dias". The spirit of the town is alive and it makes me feel alive! Even sitting on the front porch, rocking away and doing nothing, brings to mind the essence of pura vida! Come to Atenas and slow down, enjoy life, and soak up the PURA VIDA!
To this day I still dream. That is just who I am - a dreamer. Everyday I wake up in a place called Atenas, Costa Rica and I feel most grateful for the life I live. My surroundings are much like those in my childhood dreams, this time with mountaintops covered in forests and coffee plantations, stunning vistas to the Pacific ocean, and magnificent views of the night lights of San Jose. The air is fresh and nature abounds. Hummingbirds and butterflies dart by, only stopping long enough to take the nectar from amazingly exotic plants. My morning coffee is locally picked and processed. The fresh food that makes its way to our table comes from local growers or right from our own garden. It is an incredibly healthy way to live, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.
I am often asked if I have any regrets about moving to Costa Rica and my response is always the same. I have one regret and it is that I did not move here sooner. I am blessed beyond words and I know it. Pura vida!
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".