Last Updated on February 3, 2023

Planning a vacation to Atenas, Costa Rica or nearby? If yes, this article will help.

Despite being a small town located in the Province of Alajuela, it’s a beautiful place to visit. It is located in the central valley and offers an expansive view of the surrounding hillside and mountains. There are also many historic churches that demonstrate the rich and vibrant local culture.

Let’s jump to our list of the top seven things to do in Atenas, Costa Rica:

7 Best Things to Do in Atenas

El Toledo Coffee Tour

View of coffee beans
Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

If you love coffee, then the El Toledo Coffee Tour should be on your checklist: it is one of the best coffee farms in Atenas. The farm is managed by a local Costa Rican family, and is also one of the only in the area to specialize in organic coffee.

The family organizes full tours, including a taste test of three different roasts. This small farm and its local, non-commerical charm makes this a must-visit place for any coffee fanatic when visiting Atenas.

Atenas Central Park

The eponymous Atenas Central Park is the most popular tourist spot in town, and is thus one of the most crowded areas. As indicated by the name, the park is located in the center of town.

You can expect lush greenery, flowers, and trees. Another noteworthy attraction is the central fountain, which locals often use to fill their water bottles. From here, 8 sidewalks radiate to every side of the park.

If you ask a local about the best places to visit in Atenas, they will invariably recommend Atenas Central Park.

The Botanical Orchid Garden La Garita

View of purple and white orchids
Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

Another Atenas site you shouldn’t miss during your visit is the botanical orchid garden. Whether you are a plant enthusiast, or simply a nature lover, the manicured gardens will fascinate any tourist.

As you traverse the grounds and numerous greenhouses full of the colorful orchids, you will learn about the life cycle of the stunning specimens; the facilities include separate nurseries for every stage of the plants’ growth.

As if the orchids weren’t reason enough to pay a visit, you will also get amazing views of indigenous birds. Clearly, if you are after an unforgettable experience, the Botanical Orchid Garden La Garita is the perfect place.

The Atenas Railway Museum

If you are interested in learning about Atenas’ historic transport system or are feeling fatigued by the rush of typical tourist spots, then the railway museum is a great option for you during your visit.

Besides educational opportunities, there are numerous photo opportunities, including snaps with old engines and other railway equipment. Although the museum is not high on many tourists’ list. there is something very peaceful about the museum.

It is ideal for individuals who don’t like noisy areas.

Zoo Ave

View of a parrot in the animal rescue center
Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

Whether you are visiting with friends or family, a day at the zoo is a fun for everyone. Formally named ‘Rescate Animal Zoo Ave’, but affectionately shortened to Zoo Ave, the park is an interesting and adventurous day out.

The best thing about this zoo is that they adopt animals who get injured and/or orphaned, providing the care and homing facilities necessary to rehabilitate animals that would have otherwise suffered in the wild.

You will see white-faced monkeys, various jungle cat species, and scarlet macaw parrots. Make a note and don’t forget to visit.

El Balcon de Café

Now that you have an idea about the various adventures at your doorstep in Atenas, I bet you are wondering where to go for the best meal. There’s plenty of great spots, it’s hard to choose just one place to go.

When you get hungry after a day of exploring lush Costa Rican locales, you can go to El Balcon de Café for a delicious, sating meal. There are incredible options for both breakfast and lunch, including fresh, homemade bread.

While there are other cafés in town, El Balcon is the best known for high quality provisions.

So, whether you are a foodie or are simply ravenous, El Balcon de Café is one of the premier options of the Atenas café scene.

The Rio Grande de Tárcoles 

View of the Tarcoles River
Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

Looking for yet another incredible vista in Atenas? Look no further than the Rio Grande de Tárcoles.

From a height you can view the surrounding river as it stunningly meanders through the landscape. The view is amazing, and the pictures are great to take home to family and friends (they might be so impressed they jump on the next flight to Costa Rica!).

Visitors can peer over the river from the Puente Ferrocarril Rio Grande Atenas, a historic bridge that’s an easy hike from the Railway Museum.

The Rio Grande de Tárcoles is also a popular spot for crocodiles! There’s plenty of boat tours to see them in their natural habitat. It’s an adventure you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Where to stay in Atenas

Looking for where to stay in Atenas? Check out these hotels located near Atenas.

Is Atenas Worth a Visit?

If you want to enjoy your vacation to the fullest and not waste a single second, then you need a good plan. All of the aforementioned places are beautiful and you will not regret including them in your itinerary. From Atenas’ best park to its top-rated café, everywhere you may want to visit is listed.

If you’re looking for a tour that’ll plan all this ahead, check out this Aventuras Costa Rica tour that’ll immerse you in the lives of the locals. hope this post has been informative and gives you a life-changing experience in Atenas!


  • Rovology is leveraging advice from Vagabonds, Tourists, Digital Nomads, Wayfarers and Travel Writers to give our readers a guide on the best things to do no matter where they go.