West of San José in the Province of Alajuela is the little town of Atenas, home to Costa Concierges. With average temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the town’s motto is “Best climate in the world” and every year at the end of April they celebrate the “Expoferia del Clima” with exhibitions of Costa Rican arts, tipical food, music and dance. Atenas is also the name of the distrito (district) the city is located in, which covers an area of 8.93 km² and has a total population of approximately 27,000 inhabitants. The city of Atenas itself has about 5,000 inhabitants. It’s name is the Spanish translation of Athens and local folklore has it that in 1833, Jose Rafael Gallegos Alvarado, the region’s Chief of State, admired Greek culture so much he submitted the name for the new town. There are doubts about the authenticity of this claim, but it remains popular legend.

Independence Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

More about Atenas

The city is at an elevation of 698 meters above sea level on the western edge of the Central Valley (Valle Central) and is conveniently located 25 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela, 20 kilometers from Juan Santamaria International Airport, and 35 kilometers from the national capitol city of San Jose.

The town is surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations in a prosperous agricultural area and hosts a weekly farmer's market. The town center features an immaculate, white church and a picturesque park lined with palm trees. There is a community health center, as well as pharmacies, doctors, dentists, a tennis court, fitness center, swimming pools, parks, banks, shops, bed-and-breakfasts, and restaurants in the village.

The heart of Atenas is the central park, a peaceful spot perfect for enjoying an ice cream or coffee or simply taking in the local life. In the late afternoon, flocks of green parrots and the occasional toucan appear in the palm trees above. Several cafes and restaurants line the park and serve delicious and inexpensive Costa Rican cuisine. The central market, a block southwest of the park, is bustling with vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and cheeses to shoes and jewelry.

Like much of the country, the Atenas region was originally inhabited by indigenous Indians. In 1843, the oxcart trail was created to transport coffee from the fertile Central Valley to the coastal ports of Puntarenas and Limon. As the trail passed through Atenas, development ensued and citizens from neighboring Alajuela, San Jose and Heredia relocated to the region. Located on the old road to Puntarenas, the national oxcart driver (locally known as Boyero) monument is located in Atenas, a tribute to the tradition and hard work of that bygone era. Atenas is now flanked by the very busy road that travels to the beach towns of Jaco and Quepos.

Living in Atenas

Atenas, Costa Rica is rapidly becoming one of the leading locations of choice.

Besides having the recognition for the best climate in the world, Atenas is located within 45 minutes of San Jose, 30 minutes to the major shopping areas and the major medical care facilities, and only an hour to the Pacific Coast beaches, making it a very attractive and convenient area for many people to settle. The expat community numbers about 700 consisting of Americans, Canadians, Germans and more. According to a recent survey, Atenas has the largest concentration of expats to total population of any city or town in Costa Rica. This says a lot about the desirability of Atenas – In fact…

In 2010, AARP rated Atenas as "the 3rd best place in the world to retire"

Atenas Market, Costa Rica
Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica