With an ideal location, Atenas, Costa Rica offers everything for living your dreams. Atenas is located on the western edge of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, where the mountains drop away to the Pacific Coast.
Less than an hour away are the capital city of San Jose to the east, and some of the best Pacific Coast beaches to the west. The Arenal Volcano is only 2.5 hours north.
The population is about 27,000 residents, including all of the outlying neighborhoods. Atenas has been named a top place for international retirement by International Living, HelpAge International and AARP.
There are an estimated 1,500 foreign residents from North America and Europe who live in Atenas full time. That number almost doubles during Costa Rica’s high tourism season, from December to early April during the colder months to the north, when part-time residents and tourists come to vacation homes in Atenas.
Atenas offers residents a blend of rural and small town qualities, including safe neighborhoods and low crime levels, good public services, excellent public and private schools, easy access to health care, and a thriving active foreign community.
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, the Atenas Municipality and the Atenas courthouse.
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.
What makes Atenas feel like home is its people. Local Costa Ricans — called “Ticos and Ticas” — will welcome you with big smiles and warm friendliness.
History of Atenas, Costa Rica
The town of Atenas was founded in 1868 along 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.
Climate for Atenas, Costa Rica
Atenas, Costa Rica claims it has the “Best Climate in the World.” Composed of mountains and valleys, Atenas ranges in elevation from 2,200 to 4,000 feet. Residents enjoy wonderful weather, stunning landscapes, and panoramic views of valleys, volcanoes and the coast.
According to data from the Costa Rica National Meteorological Institute, Atenas receives 2,500 hours of sun per year. Average daily temperatures in Atenas range from 72 to 85 F during the day, and 60 to 68 F at night.
“Atenas town enjoys a moderate climate. So, we can conclude that the climate is very warm during the day but temperatures drop significantly at night,” writes Atenas historian Eladio Valerio on his website Atenasonline.com.
Neighborhoods in Atenas, Costa Rica
Atenas has a good variety of gated communities, private estate properties, and small farms. Some of the more popular neighborhoods include:
- Roca Verde
- Atenas – EstanquillosHacienda Atenas
- Vista Atenas
- Lomas del Paraiso
- Pica Flora
- Santa Eulalia
- Sabana Larga
- San Ysidro
- Los Angeles
Atenas, Costa Rica Schools
More and more young families are moving to Atenas, and that means kids needing schools. Besides the public elementary schools and high schools in Atenas, there are several excellent private bilingual Spanish-English) schools:
- Green Valley School (pre-school, elementary & high school)
- San Rafael Bilingual High School
- Colina Azul School (pre-school & elementary)
Atenas has a local branch of the Costa Rica Red Cross, which provides emergency medical care and ambulance service.
There is a main health clinic and emergency room in the town center.
Linea Vital Costa Rica provides private health care, emergency care and ambulance service in Atenas.
Hospitals are less than an hour’s drive away in Alajuela and San José, including the internationally-rated private hospitals of CIMA, Clinica Biblica and the Clinica La Catolica Hospital.
Written By Shannon Farley: Shannon Farley is a travel blog writer for Enchanting Costa Rica and Profimercadeo in Costa Rica. Originally from Southern California , Shannon has lived, worked and traveled all over the world for 20 years; she has been living and working in Costa Rica since 1999. She lives in Atenas, Costa Rica with her husband, 5 dogs and 2 cats.
All You Need To Know About Living In Atenas, Costa Rica…Article ID Number 7964
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