by guest blogger Ivo Henfling
A standard question I get from future retirees and expats is “what is so special about Atenas real estate”? I know Costa Rica very well, because of my job, my background and the time I have lived in Costa Rica: 34 years. I think I can make a quite honest comparison with real estate elsewhere in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.
When I started the American European Real Estate Group in 1996 with two other partners, Kjersten Van Horn and Barry Ashworth, Atenas was no more than a little village on the way from San Jose to Jaco Beach. There was only one traffic light in Atenas and there is now one more, at the top of the exit ramp of highway 27, which shows how small the town still is.
In those days, we were only a few real estate agents in Costa Rica and we would list properties throughout the whole country, as traffic was a lot easier on us. Kjersten was our listing agent in Atenas in those days, an hour plus drive to get there from Escazu, and I remember how she was promoting a new subdivision called Vista Atenas. There were no real estate offices in Atenas and the internet didn’t exist. Promoting Costa Rica real estate was entirely through mouth to mouth and advertising in the Tico Times, the only printed newspaper then.
Vista Atenas was a WOW place, a small sub division, the first one in Atenas, with a road up the hill and looping back to the entrance. Vista Atenas was also the reason Isabelle Jones and I met and she became the GoDutch Realty Franchisee for Atenas. The success of Vista Atenas turned the developers onto larger adventures and separately, they developed Hacienda Atenas and Roca Verde, the most successful gated communities in Atenas, during the world wide real estate boom of 2005 – 2008.
But what was it that made Atenas real estate so special and successful?
- A great location, halfway between San Jose and then beaches of the Central Pacific, less than 30 minutes driving each way.
- Low density zoning, not allowing for subdividing property into small lots but obliging developers to a minimum lot size of 7,000 m2 ( 1 ¾ acre) from a public road inward as agricultural parcels, allowing no more than one home plus a guest house on each building lot. There are no condo buildings in Atenas for this same reason.
- Atenas’ topography is highly irregular as there are many hillsides. Those hillsides allow for the most incredible views, no matter in which direction the house faces.
- Nature is Atenas’ major attraction. The zoning obliges for a low density, so wherever you live in Atenas, you will have a lot of privacy and you will be surrounded by nature. There is quite a bit of protected areas in and around Atenas and you will feel like in a paradise full of birds.
- Downtown Atenas has kept its charm as a village. When walking through Atenas you will get this rural feeling that Atenas never lost. In the 2011 census, Atenas counted a total of 25,460 habitants, half the amount of people living in Escazu.
I feel that going on with even more reasons why Atenas is so special, is unnecessary. I hope your taste buds are already hurting from these mouthwatering attractions. I challenge you to contact Marian NOW and see for yourself what is so special about Atenas real estate.