Why Poco Cielo Resort?
Atenas is located in the western Central Valley, a
small rural town, and municipal seat for the Canton
Atenas, which includes many outlying barrios and
pueblos. It is located about 25 minutes from the airport
on the road from Manolo's Junction with the Panamericana
Census 2010 put the population at over 32,000 people,
a healthy growth over the previous decade. The town is
strongly religious, mostly Catholic and is served by
three banks and four medium-sized food markets and many
The main activity here is agriculture and in fact the
Central American School of Agriculture and Animal
Husbandry (Escuela Centroamericana de Agricultura y
Ganadería) is located in barrio Balsa. Mangoes, coffee,
and sugar cane are three of the core crops. We have all
the necessary goods and services here, now that the new
medical clinic is in final stages of completion.
We thought you'd never ask! Actually, we live in a
tropical paradise here… usual temperature is between 75
and 85 F ( 24 and 30 C )… great weather for shorts and
T-shirts! We can't have all that greenery without rain…
but at least in most parts of the country rain is
predictable to certain times of the day.
In early invierno, the morning’s dawn is sunny and
cheerful with very little breeze, rain coming
mid-afternoon, often in a short downpour. In July we
even get veranillo… called “little summer” which is
about 7 to 10 days of sun and no rain. In later
invierno, approaching the worst of the hurricane season
on the Caribbean all bets are off and when we're under
the effect of a hurricane whose effects can stretch for
hundreds of miles… it can rain steadily for days and
totally soaking the ground. Thankfully this is rare and
totally unheard of.
In addition to public schools, there are 2 private
grade schools in town, thru 6th grade, both offer
English with all required subjects.
For high school… only public education is offered in
Atenas. La Garita (to the east) has one private high
school. For the MBA aspirants… INCAE a Harvard
affiliated business school… is located nearby in La
Garita. There are no Costa Rican accredited colleges or
universities in Atenas, but in Barrio Los Angeles there
is a School for Field Studies CSDS, affiliated with a US
Atenas offers a lot of choices for food and
socializing. There is a large array of Comida Tipica
restaurants, many little Diner-style countertop "sodas"
offering Tipica again but in a faster-food mode. There
are three Pizza restaurants one of which has recently
broadened its menu to other cuisine.
There is a Chinese restaurant on the park and a new
hamburger place. Additionally, many bars offer food and
some of it is quite good. Kay's Restaurant offer several
different snacks and home cooked meals including a hardy
breakfast started at 7:00am… even biscuits and gravy is
on the menu!, Try the delicious McKay breakfast sandwich
and perhaps a plate of great French toast! On Sundays…
“soul food” for lunch such as meat loaf or pork roast!
All the little”sodas” around the bus stop offer
breakfast from about 6:30am and the girls make good
Gallo pinto… to which you can add an egg, sausage or
bread and needless to say… a hot cup of coffee. Try the
fried farmer cheese, Queso Frito.
Don't be shy to order the unfamiliar local food.
Casado is a mixture of foods based in rice and beans
and… trimmed with meat. Pipcadillo (a hot potato salad),
green or pasta salad perhaps with an egg or a fried
plantain. Try the chicharrones… they are excellent at
Don Yayo!!! Something totally different and very tasty
is ceviche which is raw fish marinated in lemon with
cilantro and onion!.
Atenas has three banks, Banco Nacional, Banco de
Costa Rica, and Banco Popular, all of them national
banks. Most stores take US currency... however,
typically they don’t accepts bills over $20.00. The
currency in Costa Rica is Colones… basically 500 Colones
There is no large Supermarket in Atenas where you can
go to buy everything in one trip; that would be
Alajuela… approximately 35 minutes by car. But you can
buy almost everything now in Atenas by visiting the
local food stores and at the various stalls in the
Mercado market (vegetables, fish, meat and even a
butcher) and the Farmer's Fair every Friday morning on
the plaza (get there early) for fresh vegetables, meats,
cheeses, condiments and plants. Zarcero palmito cheese
is available in the Fair most Fridays; look for the
round rolls of cheese. The Zarcero is better than the
rest of the palmitos.
One of the bakeries called Musmanni (it is the one
under the orange sign in the photo) is located in Atenas
Central where all the Taxi’s park… is one of the better
bakeries in town! They have a variety of breads, buns,
cake and pastries plus the basics… milk, butter, eggs
There are three household goods and appliance stores
now, and two building supplies, and three agricultural
supply stores. Goods and services have grown with the
There are three household goods and appliance stores
along with two building supply centers plus three
agricultural supply stores. Goods and services have
grown with the town.
You don’t have to travel far because Atenas has many
services to offer! You can get insurance here, do your
legal business in Spanish, get your hair cut, get your
car fixed and take your pet to the Vet. There are at
least 3 Internet Café’s in town that offer a variety of
different services as well as International calling
Atenas has several Doctors and an excellent Medical
lab. The National health system has only one clinic in
town… however, 50 minutes away in Escazu is the CIMA
hospital! This modern and professional hospital is
affiliated with the local health insurance program
provided by INS!.
Small town life
As you might expect, small town life in Costa Rica
has many similarities to that in the States and Canada.
Gossip is a very commonplace recreation. When you live
in a small town and you will be commonly greeting folks
you know with a handshake or air kiss as you go about
Costa Ricans… have their own culture and attitudes,
formed mainly by the small size of the country and the
dominant religion as well as the independence and sense
of equality among the early settlers under the Spanish
colonial system. Many people enjoy the book called The
Ticos" by the Biesanz family… it is a very good book
explaining the culture and differences in courtesy,
business customs among other things! The Costa Ricans
are friendly, helpful and warm people and that makes it
extra special to visit Costa Rica!