San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Atenas Advisor

The countdown continues for the Sixth Annual Atenas Charity Chili Cook Off, set for Sunday, Feb. 10, on the grounds of the beautiful Quinta Romavista in Atenas.

More than 25 chili teams will be competing for prizes, and 1,000 visitors are expected to attend. In addition to great chili, there is food (hot dogs, chili dogs, potato salad, baked beans, pastries, ice cream and more), beer, wine, sodas and water available at the Beer Garden all day, entertainment, great raffle prizes, a “semi-mechanical” bull, book sale, face painting for children, massage therapist and many other activities. See the event website: for more details. 

Each year there is greater and greater participation on the part of the local community, and this year’s event will feature nine Tico chili cooking teams, as well as (for the first time) three Ticos (and one Tica) on the official judging committee. All have confirmed that they love spicy food!  

Atenas hosts the second best study abroad program in science and math in the World. That was the ranking for the Center for Sustainable Development Studies (Universidad de La Presa) as announced by the world study abroad community. The mission of the Center is to educate, investigate and provide information to improve the knowledge, management and conservation of natural resources in order to identify and promote strategies for sustainable development.

Established more than 20 years ago to provide a high quality academic program for international students, the center in recent years has also offered scholarships to undergraduate students from Costa Rica universities during the summer session programs. See

Tina Newton at Su Espacio advises that there are some children in the area who are unable to attend school due to lack of funds to buy uniforms and school supplies. Su Espacio will serve as a donation center to assist these families, who need such items as backpacks, pencils, notebooks, colored pencils and other school supplies. Anything will help. Tina says thanks. 

Recycling days for February are the 6th and 20th. Aluminum, plastic, paper, cardboard and Tetrapak items are collected, but no electronics, Styrofoam, mirrors, broken glass or egg cartons will be accepted. Items should be rinsed and separated before dropping off. Hours are 8-11 a.m. in the plaza in front of the Central School, near the volleyball court. 

Atenas resident Alex Horst, has good news for ice cream lovers. In 2012, he created his own all-natural product line, called La Cosa Rica. Horst, a German expat, makes more than 20 different flavors only using fresh, organic ingredients. His ice creams and sorbets are free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, a healthy alternative to industrial goods.

A biologist by profession, Horst trained at Germany`s first technical college for ice cream making before he moved to Costa Rica. He says he likes his new enterprise since it triggers his creativity and skills.

The showpiece in his kitchen is the Emery Thompson ice cream machine, a U.S. import. Horst’s homemade best sellers include chocolate, vanilla, macadamia with caramel, oat-honey, yoghurt and sorbets, such as mango and passion fruit. La Cosa Rica can be purchased directly from Horst and at cafés in Atenas and Alajuela.

To inquire about where to buy and learn about flavors and prices, call Horst at 8532-4814 or email or visit

-Howard Patterson

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