Friday Farmers' Market
For a glimpse of Atenas culture and tradition, look no further than the Friday Farmers' Market. Held every Friday from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., this is the place to buy fresh flowers, produce, crafts, dairy products and meats in Atenas. It is packed with locals searching for the freshest products at the lowest prices and is a fun way to spend an hour or two. Keep an eye out for colorful replicas of oxcarts, each handmade by 85 year-old Ricardo Cortez Castro. Ricardo displays his products in a wheelbarrow next to the flower stand and also sells fruit, gourds and fresh beans.
While on the small side, the Atenas municipal forest makes for a pleasant getaway for an easy hike or picnic. Located about three miles west of Atenas on the way to Jaco, the forest has a few miles of light trails and a panoramic view of the Central Valley.
Mountain bikers who find themselves in Atenas should take advantage of the dirt road leading out of town that eventually reaches Orotina. On the way, steep climbs and adrenaline-pumping descents will take cyclists through a number of small villages and past amazing views of green valleys and, eventually, the Pacific Ocean.
Study Spanish or Volunteer
Intensive Spanish classes are offered at reasonable prices at the community center known as Su Espacio (Your Space), located across from the Coopeatenas gas station. The center also coordinates volunteer placements in the Atenas area free of charge. Opportunities include teaching English, ballet, art and other subjects. The center hosts and supports cultural events such as traditional dance festivals and music concerts. Tel: 2446-7735
Atenas has two public swimming pools known as balnearios, Los Ranchos and El Cerro. Both areas are relatively empty on the weekdays and packed with locals on the weekends. El Rancho is located near the center of town and offers a BBQ area and picnic tables set amid the shade of trees. Visitors are charged $2 to use the pool for the day. No official hours.
Set a few blocks south of the Red Cross, Balneario El Cerro is the busier of the two; locals pack its swimming pool, bar and restaurant on the weekends. There is a soccer field and horses are available for trail rides on Sundays.
Hatha and yoga flow classes offered by the pool at Ana's Place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with experienced teachers Leah or Anna. Classes last an hour and start at 8:00 a.m. Cost is $3 per session.