Costa Rica has many hidden gems. Some are hidden because they are hard to reach and others are hidden because people just don’t see the importance of visiting them in comparison to other larger attractions.
Atenas, a small town located in the Alajuela province is named after the same town in Greece because the region’s chief of state at one time had a large admiration for this European country. Although its proximity to the center of Alajuela and the capital city San Jose, this mountain town has been underrated for many years.
Atenas is principally an agricultural town famous with the locals for its fresh farmer’s market held weekly. Mountains, coffee plantations, green fertile hills and fruit orchids are popular around the town. Visitors can purchase cheese, flowers and produce here to continue their travels within the country. The climate in Atenas is temperate, as daily temperatures usually hover around 80 degrees and lower into the 60s at night. National Geographic even catalogued it as having one of the best climates in the world.
Atenas’ largest tourist magnet is the Zoo Ave where travelers can see more than 130 animal species, most rescued animals from the wild. The Zoo has a rehabilitation project and services as both a wildlife rescue center and breeding center. Just south of the town, tourists can also visit the Cerro Atenas protected zone. This nature reserve protects 2,224 acres of forest, helping to restore this wildlife habitat and maintain the natural ecosystem. There is also a beautiful coffee plantation called El Toledo Coffee Plantation.
Weather Atenas Costa Rica
The weather in Atenas is probably one of it’s best features. All year around, the temperature normally ranges from 70 to 80 degrees F. The climate also follows the rest of Costa Rica with a wet rainy season from May through November and a dry sunny season from December through April. Even in the rainy season, the sun usually comes out in the morning, so you are not doomed to 6 months of rainy weather everyday.
Atenas Costa Rica Hotels
Most travelers use Atenas as a simple stop over on the way to one of the beautiful nearby beaches. However the town does have a few small hotels if you decide to stay the night and spend more time in this tranquil hideaway. There are many bed and breakfasts like Vista Atenas, which is adult only and offers an outdoor pool and countryside views. Guest accommodations are smaller hotels like the Casita Mango with apartments that allow guests to be more self-sufficient. Eco hotels like Hotel Colinas del Sol are also popular with tourists. This guest house is located in rural Atenas away from the crowds and offers many amenities that will make guests feel at home.
Atenas Costa Rica Restaurants
Many foreigners have begun to call this small town home in the past few years and this has created a very international environment. Although many restaurants serve traditional Costa Rican cuisine, there are many other international restaurants here. Rincon del Café has breakfast, brunch and lunch in an outdoor eatery where you can enjoy the breeze and great food at the same time. La Trocha is also popular for dinner and serves meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes in a calm, trendy atmosphere. Mi Casa es tu Casa is one of the most recommended places for Latin cuisine. This restaurant mixes Mexican dishes with local Costa Rican cuisine for a fun fusion with great service.
Atenas may be popular in guidebooks only for its beauty but not as a tourist attraction, however it is really one of those places you really have to see to believe. The warm people and the excellent climate will make you want to sit around in the central park and watch the world go by while your forget about your worried and just focus on the breeze.