West of San Jose, in the province of Alajuela , lies the town of Atenas . All hills and slopes are dressed with coffee plantations, bushes, trees and, as accessories, well maintained houses. The town was established by Indians, its first citizens, and later named and inhabited by people that came since 1750 from San Jose , Cartago, Heredia and Alajuela. The settlement initially developed thanks to an oxcart trail on 1843. Coffee beans were sent to the ports of Puntarenas and Limon using this trail. Then the railway to the Pacific came along and brought more prosperity to the town. However, the most important reason for it to develop was the construction of the Costanera Highway that joined the capital and the Pacific zone and that crossed this town.
This town got famous when National Geographic chose it to have “The Best Climate of the World” in 1994. On every bus that goes to Atenas you may read the sentence “El Mejor Clima del Mundo”. This is a valid claim since daily temperatures go from 80 degrees during the day to around 60 degrees at night. Since then, every year people of Atenas celebrate the Expo-Climate. On this fare they exhibit and sell arts and crafts of the area and typical food. There is music and dancing too.
Atenas is an agricultural region covered with coffee and sugar cane plantations. Covered with nature, it is not surprising to find a wide variety of animals and fruit. The social activity centers at the central park in front of the Catholic Church (as traditionally it is in Costa Rica ). There people meet in a peaceful environment. They may walk for a while, greet each other, enjoy a snow-cone, date on a bench or just talk about the good old days. It is not rare to hear hundred of birds on the palm trees of the park (parrots and some black birds are the most common ones). Around the park you may find several small “sodas” to eat some typical Costa Rican food, or cafeterias.
In this place you find the Zoo Ave that rescues and breeds more than 130 animal species. Also, you may visit the Central American Farm Cattle School (ECAG), an agro-ecotourism and animal husbandry school in Balsa, Atenas. There you can go to the crocodile and tilapia farms.
Atenas past, as well as its future, has been determined by the roads that lead to it and that connect it with the rest of Costa Rica . The oxcart road that made it possible to transport Atenas coffee produce to the ports, the Costanera that allowed people to get to Costa Rica’s main beaches in half the time they were used to, and, finally, the new Highway to Caldera that will make it possible to even cut that time in more than half. Atenas, with its wonderful climate, will be halfway from the beach and the city.
Do you like to go to the city but won’t live there? Do you enjoy going to the beach very often but won’t stay there more than a couple of nights? Do you love the countryside life but need a little more of the city excitement and the beauty of the ocean without living there. Then Atenas is perfect for you. Its wonderful climate and friendly people makes Atenas a great place to live, but the new highway makes it the perfect location to reside. All the conveniences and the comforts of both worlds will be enjoyed by this town’s citizens.