Thursday, July 16, 2009

How and why did we choose Atenas, Costa Rica?

How we decided on Costa Rica will be a post unto itself in the future, but once we narrowed it down to Costa Rica, how did we choose Atenas of all places?

For those of you who still don’t know where we are on the planet, we are here.

Costa Rica is a small country but there were still many choices regarding where we could live. We considered for awhile to live on the West Coast by the beach but both of us had fallen in love with the Central Valley. We had stayed at Leaves and Lizards (close to the Arenal Volcano) and one of the owners, Debbie, provided us with a contact at a good school in Atenas called Colina Azul. Since finding a school for the kids was one of the top priorities, the rest just fell into place from there. (Well, “fell into place” makes light of all of the research, e-mails, and hair-pulling that went on during the year but anyway…)

Atenas, Costa Rica is a small, friendly, quiet town with an agricultural base, great climate, friendly people, a good multi-national community base and anything we don't have here in Atenas is just a short drive away (we are only a half hour from San José, the capital). Some of the things that we have here:

  • 3 major banks (Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Popular), with at least 5 ATMs
  • 4 larger sized grocery stores (all these accept debit and credit cards) and lots of smaller ones
  • 1 gas station
  • 1 gourmet food store
  • 2 health food stores
  • 4 butcher shops
  • 4 pharmacies
  • A post office
  • A library
  • 2 gyms
  • 4 doctors, a new 24-hour clinic, a private ambulance/emergency service with English speaking doctors and attendants
  • Several dentists
  • Several veterinarians
  • 3 equestrian centers
  • 3 cycle shops
  • An ice cream shop
  • Several Internet cafés

And, there is high-speed Internet available in most of Atenas and outlying areas.

The Atenas climate is world famous (at least for those who read National Geographic magazine). The temperature does not get very hot and never cold. It is the steady, even, warmth and humidity that is perfect for most people. If you like it cooler or warmer, Atenas includes several mountain ranges and you can go up or down a bit until you find an area that is perfect for you. It rains enough here to keep things green but not as much as in other areas where it can rain for days at a time. Here in the "rainy season" it usually rains for a couple hours in the afternoon and is cleared up by dinner time. During the "worst" part of the rainy season here in Atenas (usually in October), it may actually rain almost every day for several hours for a whole week.

One last thing: If you like coffee, some of the best coffee (and least expensive, I might add) is grown and processed right here in Atenas!

Anybody who knows us knows that we love coffee.