My parents lived in Atenas, Costa Rica for a few years until recently. Atenas is a small town popular with older European and North American expats, and National Geographic has rated it as having one of the best climates in the world. The capital San Jose, the airport and most importantly the beach are all conveniently close by.
After holidaying in Costa Rica for the first time, my parents were on the way to the airport when they decided to view a small plot of land. After buying it on the spur of the moment, they subsequently built their house on it. I went for a two week visit in the spring of 2007 and had an unforgettable time there. There wasn’t that much time for travelling around the country as I was there to see my parents who couldn’t leave Rindi the rescue dog behind, but my brother and I did go on a few very long day trips organised by a local tour company whose name unfortunately escapes me.
We spent a relaxing day on the idyllic Isla Tortuga in north Puntarenas and another day at Tortuguero National Park in Limon. On another day we travelled to La Paz waterfall and Volcano Poas, an active stratovolcano northwest of San Jose. I also enjoyed spending time with my mother at her local weekly market in Atenas, doing the grocery shopping and buying flowers for her garden.
In contrast, San Jose was too crowded and hectic for me and I didn’t really like my brief trips there, although I found Chinatown interesting. My parents used to buy roast duck and pork from a small shop called Chorizo Chino, famous for their lap cheung Chinese sausage, and they took me to their regular fishmonger at the covered Mercado Central. Lunch at the traditional Gran Hotel, dating from 1930, was also a welcome respite from the heat.
Below are my favourite photos of Costa Rica, all taken with my phone at the time, a 2 megapixel Sony Ericsson K750.