Turns out one of the best places to find small-town America… is in Costa Rica.
I’m talking about Atenas, a village of 5,000 in the Central Valley region in the interior of the country.
Expats that have made their home here—mostly retirees—say the warm and friendly locals and a very welcoming expat community remind them of where they grew up.
Kay Costello, an expat that has been living in Atenas for over 10 years, says that neighbors and friends on the street always have time to talk, whether you’re passing by their home or run into them in town shopping at the weekly farmers’ market (the best place to buy fruits and veggies, by the way, at half to a third U.S. prices).
No doubt the innate Costa Rican emphasis on family plays a big role in that. As well as the tradition of hospitality toward new neighbors.
AARP called the Central Valley one of the top retirement destinations in the world in 2010—and featured Atenas heavily. And the climate is ideal. T-shirt weather all the time.
You’ll Enjoy a Great Climate Living in Atenas, Costa Rica
It averages in the mid-70s year-round. A few days might skew warmer and the evenings might dip into the 60s—just enough for a light jacket. But mostly it’s perfect. In the rainy season, late afternoons are wet, sometimes very. But mornings are clear.
Of course, if you need further confirmation, just see the motto on the back of the town’s buses: “El Mejor Clima del Mundo”: the best climate in the world.
Expats here tend to make their homes in the hills surrounding the town. The views of the surrounding coffee and sugarcane plantations, as well as forested valleys, are amazing. There are a wide variety of housing options.
A three-bedroom home with a mountain view can be had for under $150,000. There are higher-end options; several gated communities have homes running from $200,000 and up.
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