But what, exactly, makes Atenas so great? Here’s a quick glimpse at what the town has to offer:
“Best Climate in the World” (town slogan)
Temperature averaging in the 80 degrees during the day
Dips into the 60s at night
Two Seasons: rainy (May to November) and dry (December to April)
Central Valley Landscape:
Rainforests are close by
Lush Areas of Grass and Gardens
Pacific Beaches are less than an hour away
Mountains and Active Volcanoes are an easy day trip
Atenas is home to the El Toledo Organic Coffee Farm
In the Central Valley
Centrally located – 45 minutes from the Capital of San Jose and 45 – 55 minutes to the Pacific Coast Beaches. It is easy to take a side trip to Nicaragua and Guatemala to the North, and South to Panama
30 minutes from the Juan Santamaria (SJO) International airport
5,000 in the city; 17,000 including suburbs
Good mix of Costa Ricans and expats
Expats are primarily from the US, Canada, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands
Many also speak English
Festivals and Parades
Atenas also offers a small town feel that natives, expats, and tourists have come to love.
That’s just a quick look at the town of Atenas. Keep checking back to learn more about each of these, as well as recommended attractions in the Central Valley, the best restaurants, special deals, and more!
The first Annual Festival of Life /Fiesta de Vida will be held at the Atenas Parque Central March 9th- 11th. The Festival will take place at Central Park starting at noon on Friday, March 9th. There will be many booths set up with community organizations sharing their services. There will also be entertainment (music, concerts and dance) through-out the week-end, and so much more! Each night the Festival will end with music provided by Baile Con DJ from 8 PM – 10:00 PM. For all the daily details, check out this Facebook page for Festival of Life/Fiesta de Vida www.facebook.com/atenasfestivaloflife/
On Sunday from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM the Food Festival will take place benefiting the Hogar de Vida Children’s home in Atenas. Entrance tickets to the International Food Festival will be 3,000 Colones to the public and all proceeds benefit the Hogar de Vida Children’s home in Atenas. This is where you will get to taste samples of International foods. Come and taste other foods from around the world, help the kids, and have fun!
Then from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, live in concert, the FLASHBACK Band will play. There will be a raffle to benefit other local organizations such as the Red Cross, Animales Atenas, Angel Tree, Swim for Life, and the Hogar de Vida children’s home and more. Other concerts will follow through-out the day and evening until the end of the first Festival of Life at 10:00 PM. Plan to come to Parque Central next week-end and enjoy the food, fun, music and lots more!
Travel Tip created by Dianne Doughty in association with Vacation Soup
Amazing Costa Rica Zip Line Tour at Adventure Park.
Get ready for an amazing adventure. With the assistance of the professional Adventure Park guides, you are going to experience one of the greatest thrills of your visit to this Costa Rica zip-line tour in Puntarenas. You will feel your adrenaline soar as you zoom across 25 zip line platforms over 11 waterfalls, two rappelling, and one suspended bridge. And you will also get an opportunity to swim in one of the waterfalls natural pools during this exciting tour.
The unique safe-braking system, invented and developed at the Adventure Park for your zip-line tour, provides you with a highly secure ride with extreme comfort at the same time. This allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the Gulf of Nicoya and the Costa Rica mountains during your adventure!
This has been our favorite zip-line tour. After your day of thrills through the jungle and rainforest, they also serve a very nice Costa Rican typical lunch or dinner (depending on the time of your tour). This is a spectacular outing, but getting there by car is a challenge. Even with a GPS in your car it is not an easy place to find Adventure Park – Puntarenas. See their website below for detailed directions and phone help. They also will offer to pick you up at a Jaco hotel and other places if you do not choose to drive there…which is a great idea! They also offer a fee-based service to have a driver pick you up at your location, if you have a large enough group.
Costa Rica’s “Must-See” Attraction – LaPaz Waterfall Gardens.
LaPaz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge is a “must-see” attraction when you are in the Central Valley of Costa Rica! This day trip is an excellent easy one-day outing. The drive to the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens takes you on narrow roads that wind through a landscape of fertile coffee plantations, farms and dark forests. The original attraction here consists of a series of trails through primary and secondary lush tropical rainforests where there are five beautiful waterfalls alongside the La Paz River. In addition to the trails, there is an orchid garden, a hummingbird garden, and a huge Butterfly Observatory garden.
Before or after you have walked the trails at the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, you want to make sure you stop by the Butterfly Observatory and hummingbird gardens. A visit to the Butterfly Observatory at the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens is sure to bring smiles. Here you will have the feeling as if you are part of nature without feeling that you are intruders. Since the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens are located in the rainforest, visitors are able to enjoy their interaction with the butterflies, even when the weather is not cooperating. On-site guides will walk you through the observatory, pointing out eggs, caterpillars and the camouflaged chrysalises.
Also on the property are a large variety of birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes, frogs and jaguars. Our favorite area is the Bird Aviary because you can get up-close photos of many birds…and if you choose you can get your photo taken with a Toucan perched on your arm. At LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, you are guaranteed to see all that and more. Many of our guests say this has been their favorite attraction…and you can easily spend a whole day here. They do have a restaurant that serves a large buffet with quite a varied menu to please just about everyone. Open daily 8 am – 5 pm.
Reservations Telephone 506-2482-2720 www.waterfallgardens.com
Travel Tip created by Dianne Doughty in association with Vacation Soup
EAT, DRINK, DANCE and ENJOY Classic ROCK ‘N’ ROLL to the sounds of Atenas’s infamous FLASHBACK Band! 5PM to 8 PM this coming Saturday Feb 24th at the Balneario el Cerro. Onsite paid parking of 3m Costa Rica colones, FREE PARKING on the street in front of the entrance. Please bring a flashlight to assist you in the parking and walkway areas.
A visit to our famous Atenas Friday Farmers Market is a treat for the eyes and your taste buds! Every Friday morning from 6:00 AM until about noon, you can come and spend a fun hour or two. At the Atenas Farmers Market you are going to find a huge selection of locally grown vegetables and a wide assortment of fresh fruits. You will also find a variety of baked goods, many plants and flowers, herbs (fresh and dried), cheeses, and farm fresh eggs, meats including shrimp, fish, beef, chicken, pork and home-made sausages! You will also find local cultural items for sale including bags of locally grown El Toledo Coffee as well as many local artisans displaying their wares. Also available are two small lunch counters where you can enjoy a typical Costa Rica breakfast. Or if you work up a thirst, you can sit and sip on fresh brewed Costa Rican coffee! A visit to the Atenas Friday Farmers Market is a fun way to spend an hour. And all your purchases will probably save you some money too!
The Atenas Friday Farmers Market is located just off the radial that connects Atenas to Highway 27 (the main highway that connects San Jose to the Central Pacific Coast beaches). You can also hop aboard the FREE shuttle bus that departs every hour for the five minute ride to and from the Market from the center of Atenas. Be sure to visit our local Atenas Friday Farmers Market…you will be so glad you did1
Travel Tip created by Dianne Doughty in association with Vacation Soup
February 7th is “Guest Education/Awareness Day” for Vacation Rental Owners! We Owners want to share with our guests the benefits of booking directly (as opposed to booking through an intermediary site) with us! If you are seeking a home-away-from-home experience for your next vacation, a vacation home rental is an excellent choice. As an alternative to cramped hotel rooms, a vacation home rental is going to provide a lot more space, more personalized touches, and lower rates that will save you money!
Tips on How to #BookDirect with a Vacation Home Rental
1. Look for an Online Presence
In this Internet age, a reputable vacation home rental will have an online presence. After reviewing your options, enter the Property Name/or Owner information into a web search. Check social media profiles for reviews or comments and to verify contact information such as address, name, and phone number.
2. Contact owner to #BookDirect to avoid paying “Booking Service fees”! If you use one of those major listing websites, you will save anywhere from 10 -20% on your next Vacation!
3. #BookDirect to use your Credit Card to safely secure your next Vacation Rental. Many Owners provide various Secure Payment Systems such as your own Credit Card, PayPal, Square, etc.
4. #BookDirect to get to know the owner! Call and ask them questions to determine whether their rental is a good fit for your family or group. They should be able to answer all your questions. Ask about what are the Must-See attractions in the area, and perhaps general information about transportation options in that area.
5. Look to see if the Owner has partnered with the Association of Vacation Rental Operators and Affiliates (AVROA.org). Our #AtenasVacationVillas has their Seal prominently posted on every page of our website!
6. #AtenasVacationVillas in Costa Rica is offering an additional 10% off our posted rates for 2018 & 2019 vacations booked in the month of February! Just use Promotional Code #BookDirect in your inquiry. We will adjust your quote and get back to you within hours of your request!
7. Book our Entire House for Your Vacation…Not Just a Room! #AtenasVacationVillas
Last Friday a group of about 50 Atenas residents, all members of the Atenas Men’s Club, boarded a bus to participate in a celebration of Costa Rica’s Independence Day. We took a ride through beautiful rolling hills to Rancho Montecito near the town of Balsa. The owner of Rancho Montecito, Debbie Conway, one of the club’s members, met us at the entrance and gave a wonderful entertaining tour of her cattle Ranch and farm. We learned all about how she was a city slicker from Miami who arrived some 16 years ago and purchased 260 acres of land and planted 10,000 fruit trees. However when it came time for her to sell the fruit, not many buyers wanted what she had to sell. So then she made a decision to become a cattle rancher. It took her and her crew of ranch hands several years and lots of hard work to learn the business, but she now has a very successful cattle ranch.
Men’s Club member Tony Phillips and wife Rosemary, along with host Debbie, planned a fun-filled afternoon at the Ranch to celebrate Costa Rica’s Independence Day. We arrived at Rancho Montecito, beautiful 6 Bedroom, 4 bath unique Farmhouse. It is also a Vacation Rental for guests to come and enjoy a spacious outdoor experience off the tourist grid. The Ranch was beautifully decorated with piñatas, lovely fresh flower table decorations, life-size cowboy stand-ups of rancher Ben Cartwright and son Hoss from the Bonanza TV series. A delicious lunch of enchiladas, rice, salads, and a wonderful Flan completed the Fiesta meal. After the meal, we were entertained by a local Dance group, saw roping demonstrations by the local ranch hands, and listened to the music of a five piece Mariachi band who entertained us with some very lively music for almost two hours. The dance group and ropers even tried to teach some of the guests how to do their fancy moves. There were prizes for the best dancers and for the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl. A great time of food and fun was had by all in attendance! We also joined in singing the Costa Rica National Anthem after we learned some of the history of how it became the National Anthem. At the end of the entertainment we sang Happy Birthday to Debbie and were able to share in eating the beautiful birthday cake that Tony and Rosemary had brought for the special occasion! Now that’s how to celebrate Independence Day in Costa Rica!
To join the Atenas Men’s Club (both men and women can join) email List, so you can attend the next planned event, you can contact Tony Phillips at his email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more local information about #whattoseeAtenas
Many of our vacation rental guests at Villa Doughty have spent an afternoon at the small El Toledo Organic Coffee Farm in Atenas. Most of our guests say it is a must see attraction if you are staying in Atenas. The coffee tour, given by the owner’s son, Gabriel Calderon Vargas, “is real, unaffected, un-commercial, informative, and inspirational and gives you a great perspective on what organic farming is all about”. For those who want to learn about organic farming this is a phenomenal tour. Depending on what time your tour is you will always enjoy samples of their three coffee beans and you may also enjoy a lunch. Check their calendar for availability on dates and times. $20 per person for the 2 1/2 hour coffee tour. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
How to Save up to 12% On Your Next Vacation Rental by eliminating the service fee!
For the past six years we have used VRBO/HomeAway to market our vacation rental property in Atenas, Costa Rica. We have a spacious 4 bedroom, 3 bath Villa that comfortably accommodates up to 8 adults and 2 children. Last year VRBO/HomeAway was purchased by Expedia and immediately, they began changing their business profile. In February of last year, they started adding a service fee of 5 – 12% to our rates, all of which was passed on to you the renter. At the same time, we could not determine any benefit to you for that fee. According to VRBO/HomeAway the service fee charged is a percentage of the total amount of the reservation excluding taxes and refundable fees. They also state the percentage rate may change from time to time.
Earlier this year we made the decision to develop our own vacation rental website so you the traveler, have the choice to book direct with us. This allows you to work directly with the owner and avoid those fees by taking advantage of our “Booking Fee Free” experience. You will also find additional information on our website about Atenas, Costa Rica, along with lots of photos, guest reviews of past visitors, and our new Costa Rica Vacation Guide Blog of attractions and events happening in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.
Here are Three Steps to Save Money by Booking Direct with Owners or Property Managers:
1. Always try and book direct with the owner or property manager.
If you want to book our property, please visit our website www.AtenasVacationVilla.com, call us at 855-556-3848, or email us Dianne@AtenasVacationVilla.com with your questions.
2. Search on Facebook for the name and location you want to visit to see if some of your favorite properties have a website or a Facebook page. From there you can contact the owner/manager directly. You can like our Facebook page by doing a quick Facebook Search “Costa Rica Vacation Guide”.
3. Search for your perfect vacation rental on any of the many listing sites. Identify your top choices, noting the property’s name and location. Use your search engine (i.e. Google) to search for the property name and city and possibly the owner’s name to find their booking-fee free website.
Taking these three steps can possibly save you hundreds of dollars in Service Fees f you choose to use the big-listing websites. Working directly with us owners or our property managers allows us to build relationships and to have open communication between guests and owners. And, more importantly, it allows you to avoid those Service Fees.
If you have any questions about the changing Vacation Rental by Owner market, you are welcome to reach out to us with your questions. We are online every day and are here to help you. Please also take the time to “Like” and “Share” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Costa-Rica-Vacation-Guide-Central-Valley !
Your Atenas Vacation Villa Host
Steve and Dianne Doughty