We left early on Sunday morning (7:00am) because we had a lot of ground to cover. Our first stop was going to be a town that we were really looking forward to seeing: Atenas ("uh tay' nus"). Atenas is Spanish for Athens. This is the town where we will be staying after the relocation tour. It was touted in many articles as a popular location for expats.
After being in and around the busy, noisy, city of San Jose for a week, when we stepped off the bus in Atenas, we just said, "Ahhhhhh." It was a quiet, peaceful little town and the air was fresh and clean. This is partly due to its elevation of 3,600 feet. We got off the bus at the central park and wandered around the town square:
We learned that the towns in Costa Rica almost all have a town square. The focal point of the town square is a Catholic church. In front of the church will be one of two things: a park or a soccer field. The church will always be situated so it faces west. We were told this is so the sun will rise over the alter, which would be at the east end of the church.
We went up in the hills outside Atenas to tour a beautiful home that was for sale:
This house is all yours, fully furnished, for only $350,000 (but I hear they are willing to negotiate). On the way back from this home, we had a fabulous view of the town of Atenas below. That's the picture at the top of this post.
Next up was a larger town called Grecia. Again, the town square had a church and a park. The interesting thing about this church is that the siding is all metal. It's a beautiful structure:
We toured a couple of other beautiful homes - of very different styles. The first was an exotic custom home in a development out away from any city - it reminded me of an upscale tree house. The other house was a gorgeous custom home in the hills outside the city of San Ramon (no, not THAT San Ramon).
While both of these houses were interesting and impressive, they were not what anyone on the tour was interested in seeing. Most of the tour participants wanted to see houses, condos, or apartments they could potentially be buying or renting if they moved to CR.
Breakfast today was very early, since the bus left at 7:00am. By lunch time, we were all pretty hungry. However, that didn't coincide with the tour schedule. As it turns out, we didn't get to our lunch restaurant until 2:30pm. We were all dragging off the bus - you'd think we hadn't eaten in days. The restaurant was in Alajuela and the food was plentiful. At that time of day, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
After another hearty Costa Rican meal, I was beginning to feel less Gringo and more Tico (nickname for Costa Ricans):
We made our way back to the hotel in San Jose. We were all very tired. The day was productive in that we got to see different parts of the Central Valley and get an idea of where we might want to stay. However, most of the homes we toured were really not practical for the interests of the folks on the tour.
Tomorrow (Mon) we'll be moving to the Bed & Breakfast in Atenas that I had pre-arranged for us (before leaving Maui). This is where we'll stay for a week while we look for a place to rent. We are both more than ready to get out of the city, as our hunt for a longer-term "home" begins...