Atenas is a city of 8,000 people in Alajuela Province that claims to have the best climate in the world — “El mejor clima del mundo,” as proclaimed by a slogan emblazoned on its city buses.
Some say National Geographic
gave the town this title, although this appears to be a myth
, as the slogan actually arose from a tourism marketing campaign. Yet Atenas does have daytime temperatures around 80°F that dip into the 60s at night, and it apparently rains less here than in surrounding areas.
Atenas is a top draw for U.S. retirees and other expats who enjoy its milder temperatures and convenient location on the outskirts of the Central Valley -- 45 minutes from downtown San José. The nearest beach is also less than an hour away.
Downtown Atenas has a church and a picturesque plaza surrounded by palm trees. It offers a variety of hotels, restaurants, stores, banks, parks, medical clinics, and a weekly farmers market.
Atenas originally developed as one of several towns separated by the distance you can drive an oxcart in a day, linking the Central Valley to the port at Puntarenas, where coffee used to be exported to the world.
Among the top real estate developments here are Vista Atenas, Roca Verde and Hacienda Atenas.
Atenas (“Athens”) is one of a few towns in Costa Rica named after classical ancient sites, including Grecia (“Greece”), Cartago (“Carthage”), and some would say Esparza (“Sparta?”) -- though the latter seems to be named after a town in Spain.