When you think of Costa Rica, you might rightly consider it a great destination for beachgoers. But there's just as many amazing sights and sounds awaiting in the heavily forested, peaceful interior of this small, Central American country. If you want proof, look no further than Atenas!
Tucked away in the western Alajuela Province, the town's lovely shops and restaurants, gorgeous natural surroundings, and convenient location for exploration make it a must-visit on your next tropical getaway. Stay in one of our vacation rentals to get the most out of your time in Atenas.
Atenas is just 15 miles west of the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José, so if you're traveling by plane, you'll have a short drive between you and your vacation rental. In addition to the sprawling city center close by, you'll have easy access to coffee tours in the surrounding mountains, and the pristine beaches of Jacó just 42 miles away.
With a small population of 5,000, Atenas is far from a bustling city like San José. The city is hardly underdeveloped, however - delicious restaurants like Antaño and Kakaw line the streets, providing a nice place to stop as you stroll through the town. If you're looking for shopping, head to the intersection of Avenida 2 and Calle 2. The drag is lined with shops like the clothing boutique Caracol de Atenas and the Roes Atenas shopping mall.
Don't forget to spend time in the fresh air - Atenas is famed for having a stable, pleasant climate year-round, so whether you're visiting in December or July you can always have a great time admiring the swaying trees of venues like Atenas Central Park. A great way to combine open-air activity and shopping is the famous Atenas Farmer's Market, which takes place on Friday mornings and lasts until late afternoon. Purchase some fresh local ingredients to inspire your cooking back in your vacation rental's kitchen.
You don't have to travel far to find breathtaking natural beauty in Atenas. The Las Minas pools and waterfalls are less than 20 minutes away, providing a gorgeous setting to take photos or read a book as you listen to the gentle sounds of the rainforest around you. Birds, butterflies, and more frequent the lush area during the rainy season, when cool showers bring the trickling falls back to life after the drier winter and spring months.
South of Atenas is the village of Desmonte, where you can take winding trails to another waterfall and natural pools large enough for swimming in. This is a great place to take the kids to beat the heat, though the lush forest is a treat to the eyes in any weather.
Do you love coffee, agriculture, and sustainable environmental practices? Take a tour at the El Toledo Organic Coffee Farm just northwest of the city. The family-owned coffee company offers only the finest in organic beans, and the fascinating process of growing and harvesting can be yours to experience for a paltry fee - with the option to enjoy lunch right on-site.
If you're traveling with kids, be sure to head eastward to La Garita to visit Zoo Ave, where you can admire the exotic animals of the region and partake in exciting activities like a zip line tour of the rainforest canopy!
When you're craving a Costa Rican experience you'll remember forever, you can't go wrong with one of our vacation rentals in Atenas.
Photo Credit: Mark Buehler