Is the World’s Best Climate Really in Atenas, Costa Rica?
Where in the world is the best climate is really a rather subjective question. It all depends on what kind of climate you like. Much like wine or art, climate is a personal affair.
So saying that you have “The Best Climate in the World” is quite a claim.
The little town of Atenas, Costa Rica, nevertheless has stepped up and asserted that indeed it has the “Best Climate in the World”. The motto is plastered across the backs of the buses in Atenas, on a few billboards, and even graces the name of a restaurant in town.
Like the famous ad slogans of “Just Do It” (Nike) and “Breakfast of Champions” (Wheaties), Atenas has become synonymous with its famous phrase. Tell anyone in Costa Rica that you live in Atenas, and the reply is always: “the best climate in the world!”
But is it true?
The small coffee-growing town of Atenas is located on the western end of Costa Rica’s Central Valley — 30 minutes from the San Jose international airport, and an hour to downtown San Jose or the Pacific Coast beaches. Atenas’ well-placed location, temperate climate and small-town ambiance are the main reasons it has such a large international expat community — estimated at about 1,500 full-time residents.
Composed of mountains and valleys — there is nearly nothing flat in Atenas — elevations range from 2,200 to 4,000 feet. In Costa Rica, the higher you go up in elevation, the more moderate and cooler temperatures become. Most of the year Atenas sports long sunny days with average daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s F. Nights are fresh with temperatures dropping into the 60s F. There aren’t usually extremes of heat or cold, and you don’t need a heater or air-conditioning in Atenas.
In fact, the Costa Rica National Meteorological Institute corroborates that Atenas receives on average 2,500 hours of sun per year, which is above the national average. It does rain in rainy season, but not as much as in other areas.
So where did the “Best Climate” claim come from?
Many attribute National Geographic as being the source of Atenas’ historic claim to fame. However, a diligent search of National Geographic online archives by journalists reveals that the nationally respected foundation and magazine never made such an assertion.
On the other hand, a Costa Rican marketing professional in San Jose, Teresa Bejarano, tells of a marketing committee that was formed more than 30 years ago by the Costa Rican government’s Department of Marketing and the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR). She said the committee was charged with creating promotional campaigns to highlight the uniqueness of various Costa Rican towns and provinces. Each region’s residents were given a say as to what their slogan would be.
For instance, Heredia became “The City of Flowers”, Puntarenas is “The Pearl of the Pacific”, San Ramon is known as “The City of Poets”, Alajuela is “The City of Mangoes”, and Palmares is called “The Place to Make Friends”.
Bejarano said that the Atenas municipality in conjunction with local businessmen designed the catchphrase for the town’s “best climate in the world” motto, and unveiled it during an agricultural fair. The slogan quickly spread on posters, banners and in marketing materials. And it stuck.
So while Atenas’ declaration that it has the “Best Climate in the World” may or may not be true, depending on who you ask, for its 27,000 residents it is ideal. And the town’s beautiful weather certainly helped give Atenas the ranking as a top place to retire by International Living and AARP.
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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.
Is the World’s Best Climate Really in the Little Town of Atenas, Costa Rica?Article ID Number 9128
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