It is a Friday morning in my little mountain coffee town of Atenas, Costa Rica. The traditional Friday Farmers’ Market, called a “feria” in Spanish, is abuzz with shoppers and vendors.
Mounds of mangoes, melons, watermelon, pineapples and a myriad of other fruits juicily beckon buyers. Crisp lettuces, spinach, cilantro and other greens glisten with water droplets. Fat potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, yucca and carrots stack in pyramids. The flower man is doing brisk business cutting stems and wrapping up bright yellow sunflowers, lilies, Gerbera daisies, and a rainbow of other flowers. The herb man sits in his aromatic stall surrounded by cooking and medicinal herbs in packets, bunches and plants. The back corner of the market resembles a mini-nursery with the amount of potted flowers and starter trees on sale. Just beyond, gleaming glass cases proudly display fresh meats, cheeses and fish. And who can pass up the sweet frosted cinnamon buns, fresh breads, and tempting pies and cookies of “Buen Pan, Tomas!” bakery run by Atenas residents Tom and Jan Yatsko, from Pennsylvania.
A hallmark of Atenas culture and tradition, reflecting small town country life, the famous Atenas Friday Farmers’ Market is one of the things I love best about living in Atenas, Costa Rica. The market is so well-known, it has been written about in most travel guides to Costa Rica and blogged about regularly by new transplant residents.
The Farmers’ Market recently changed location and got an upgrade at the end of August. Once spread around the edge of a small park by the Central Elementary School in the center of town, the new Farmers’ Market has relocated to the radial road connecting Atenas to Highway 27 (the main highway from San Jose to the Central Pacific Coast). The new locale is quite capacious with open sides and a cavernous permanent roof – in the past vendors suffered under tents and tarps in the rain or blistering summer sun. The floor is smooth, clean concrete, and there are two little lunch counters and modern public restrooms. A free bus shuttles shoppers back and forth to the center of town (5 minutes) every hour.
Whether you are visiting Atenas in one of the many vacation homes, or have already moved to Costa Rica, the Atenas Friday Farmers’ Market is a fun way to spend an hour or two and soak up the local culture. The market is open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fridays.
The small country town of Atenas has been named a top place to retire and is renowned for its great climate. Looking to buy real estate in Costa Rica? Reliable realtors Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzalez-Porras of Pure Life Development of Atenas specialize in Atenas homes for sale, home rentals, and Atenas real estate.
Article by Shannon Farley