Atenas, Costa RicaBy Jonathan Solis

The Park in Atenas town

Even for the same costaricans, used to the beauty of our country and not always aware of the treasure we have, realize the luck we all have when having the chance to visit Atenas.

Atenas is a little village located pretty much in the middle of the Central Valley of Costa Rica, it boasts with a beauty difficult to find anywhere even within the same country.  It is for the most part at between 900 to 1000 mts above the sea level and this and the protection given by its many hills around it provide Atenas to what National Geographic once defined as having one of the best climates of the world due to the stability of the atmospheric conditions like humidity, temperature, precipitation, etc. making it really ideal to stay here simply all year round.

But also, apart from the breathtaking views of the four main volcanoes of the Central Valley (Poas, Barva, Irazu and Turrialba) and also of the Pacific Ocean, visible from some of its districts,  Atenas is enriched by a human resource that`s unique, here the visitor, no matter if national or foreign, can still fully taste what the real costarican is, a human being full of simplicity yet smart and sharp, a person that enjoys life as it comes and that makes of the art of smiling a daily activity. Here we can all still be helped disinterestedly and fearless if someone stops by the road to assist you with your broken car for instance; Atenas people is also people that you can start talking to within seconds in the weekly Farmer`s Market every Friday right when you are buying tomatoes and have the feeling that it`s not the first time, you feel it familiar, warm and genuine. A small town per se but great in harmony, peace and friendliness.

Atenas Park, Costa Rica   Atenas Catholic Church

Although Downtown Atenas has only a few blocks of diameter, it offers the services and commodities one needs to be at ease and comfortable. A few banks, supermarkets, one weekly Farmer`s Market (great place to meet people and some talk) one covered market that works everyday of the week where you can get your supply of meat, poultry, fish and others.

Also several excellent restaurants and bars, among which two of each kind worthy special mention, the first “Restaurante La Trilla”, a nice, open location where Jose (the owner) will personally wait your table and assist you on anything related to your visit, my recommendations not to be missed if there: chicken or sea bass with garlic, both paired with the typical rice, beans, picadillo de papa (a sort of mixture of chopped potatoes and meat) and salad also the chicken soup with coconut and cucumber paired with rice will likely transport you up to heaven in a flash.

The other is a local bar right next to the main square (Parque) called “La Esquina Caliente” or “Punga`s” (owner`s name) where you are certain to look at folklore at its fullest and all the while savoring the coldest beer in town and if you are lucky enough on Saturday you might get to see the Marimba players (wooden percussion instrument very common in the province of Guanacaste) filling the whole place up with traditional music and the laughter and joy of all the attendees.
Of course Atenas also provides with public and private medical centers and drugstores too.

Atenas Park, Costa Rica   Atenas Catholic Church

Atenas is also only 30 min. to the San Jose International Airport, half an hour to the Pacific coast and one day trips can be organized to the Arenal Volcano Hotsprings and also to the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls. Shorter activities like “Las Minas” water sanctuary or “Los Chorros biological reserve, the Orchid Garden or the Zoo could also be done. All of them only within 25 min. from Downtown Atenas.

Jonathan Solis Rios