Costa Rica / Travel

Divine “Staycation” in Atenas

Poco Cielo

Poco Cielo Resort, Atenas

What, you ask, is a staycation?! Why, it’s a vacation you take in your very own town. Technically, you stay in your own home, so I’m stretching the definition.

Due to my husband’s grueling work schedule, we endure long periods of separation. Reunions often are dedicated to getting domestic situations up to date, scheduling appointments with doctors, dentists, and residency attorneys. All too soon, it is time to drive him to the airport for his next assignment abroad.

An unexpected weekend presented itself, and when my husband got home from the airport, I said, “Honey, I packed a bag for you, boarded the dog, chilled a bottle of bubbly, and we are outta here!”

His eyes lit up at the premise of an adventure. “Where to?”

I waggled my eyebrows and said, “Poco Cielo.”

He cocked his head, knitted his brow, and sputtered, “What? Isn’t that the little hotel just down the street?”

“Well, yeah. Just think, we drive five minutes down the road and we’re there! It’s kind of like a vacation without having to go anywhere. It’s called a staycation. We get to play, relax, and ignore household chores and unfinished projects that scream at us.

He wasn’t convinced but was too tired to argue. From the moment we turned off the road (route 3) we were enveloped by the vibrant greens of the lush landscaping that is Poco Cielo, a slice of heaven. We were met by the effervescent owner, Gary, who showed us to our bungalow on the far end of the row of five units.

Poco Cielo Pathways

Poco Cielo Pathways

We arrived at dusk when the lighting is soft, the birds are winding up their daytime serenade and the cows are coming home. No, really, they were. As we stood on the large, immaculate tile patio, I looked across the rolling hills and saw a line of cows making their way, single file, up the mountain trail, led by the vaquero (cowboy) to be put up for the night.

As the two men got acquainted trading war stories, I scurried about, placing and lighting candles I bought, unwrapping the two special champagne glasses we coddled in our carry-ons when we moved from California, and putting the groceries away in the fully equipped kitchen. There were candles already there, so I just supplemented with those I brought; can’t have too many candles for a romantic getaway, you know.

Although we have lived in Atenas for over two years, and kept meaning to stop by the place to see what all the fuss was about, I never did get around to it. I’m glad I didn’t. I can now say with confidence from firsthand experience: “Poco Cielo is the best place to stay in Atenas.”

Rancho overlooking infinity pool

Rancho overlooking infinity pool

Poco Cielo Pool

Infinity Edge Pool

It is centrally located, less than half an hour from the airport, a day trip to the beach, a volcano, or San Jose for theater, museums, and fine dining. After a hard day or ‘touristing’, you can take a dip in the velvet waters of the infinity edge pool or sidle up to the saddle bar, to enjoy a cocktail. And the best news? There is no bar-bill; you bring your own!

Poco Cielo Bar

Saddle Barstools

The common area, known as the Rancho, is equipped with cooking facilities, a full fridge, microwave, and enough place settings and seating to cater a wedding. On top of all this, if the wind dies down, you get to watch a surround sound movie, which the guests choose from hundreds, maybe thousands of films available. We were fortunate to see a movie on our first night. Due to the nature of the screen, if it’s windy, it blows around distorting the picture. Five minutes into the show, a discreet hand sneaked into my peripheral vision. My nose started twitching when I realized it was popcorn with real butter served in a glass, not plastic, dish! Talk about heaven.

There’s something about slipping into crisp, clean sheets on a bed that somebody else has made. Combine that with a cushy, comfy queen mattress, luxurious pillows, filmy flowy floor length curtains that offer elegance and privacy; well, it’s the attention to detail that makes a memorable experience. The quiet was broken at daybreak by a symphony of tropical birds. Caw-caw, wheet-wheet, birrump-birrump was enough to set me off doing the “happy dance” in the spacious living area while the morning pot of local coffee, provided by the hosts, broadcasted its rich aroma.

We barely noticed there were other guests present until we visited the rancho on a Sunday morning. There was a young family with two kids, and a couple with the cutest little dog. I’m not sure which came first: only well-behaved people, children, and animals are allowed or the atmosphere transforms people; much like music soothes the savage beast, Poco Cielo soothes everybody. In any case, when I inquired about dogs, Gary said, “Sure, we allow dogs as long as they don’t create a nuisance.” I had visions of my rambunctious Chocolate Labrador Retriever, although professionally trained, pouncing into the pool and splashing about chasing the hovering dragonflies and butterflies.

Perhaps this last scenario is best left untested. We can reserve this idyllic staycation spot for ourselves.

To see details of Poco Cielo please visit: If friends or family ask about a place to stay, other than your house, do not hesitate to recommend this spot. If you don’t believe me, try it out yourself – even if you live only five minutes away. Allow yourself to be transported to a dreamlike state of peace and tranquility.

We did and we are looking forward to doing it again.


26 thoughts on “Divine “Staycation” in Atenas

  1. Love all your articles. 

    Sincerely, Maggie Dunne Direct 954-249-3068 Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st  

    >________________________________ > From: Carole Jean’s Capers >To: >Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:41 AM >Subject: [New post] Divine “Staycation” in Atenas > > > > >CaroleJean’ posted: ” What, you ask, is a staycation?! Why, it’s a vacation you take in your very own town. Technically, you stay in your own home, so I’m stretching the definition. Due to my husband’s grueling work schedule, we endure long periods of separation. Reunio” >


  2. What am idyllic place …. Idyllic life you lead AND you share it with us so vividly … Reservations for next trip for sure! Thanks for your memoir-ies. .


  3. Carol, If I ever come to Costa Rica, I will most definitely visit this property. It’s because of your ability to transform your inspired moments into script with heartfelt emotion and humor that everyone wants to be with you or at a minimum, read about you. Thank-you so much for allowing me to experience your joy!


  4. I enjoyed this very much , I have done Staycations in Arizona. Its just nice to get away, and even though my first one was just 5 miles down the road to the Phoenician , what a fun time we had.
    Living in CR we stayed at many hotels from Casa Crystal in San Jose to Banana Azul near the Caribbean. I can name so many, but each and every one even though were in the middle of the rain forest made me feel like I was some place different. It would have been so wonderful if I could have met you during my stay at Nativa in 2011. You seem to be so talented and such a neat lady . Thanks Carole …I enjoy your post !


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