We've chosen Atenas in the Central Valley as our place to live while we explore Costa Rica. I was recently asked, "Why Atenas and not the beaches?"
We initially want to live in an area that is close to a lot of amenities and Atenas has that. The beach areas on the Pacific side will be great to visit but we may find the weather too hot and humid, at least until we acclimatize. The Caribbean side is another area we want to eventually explore.
For day to day living, it seems Atenas has everything we could want. It has a temperate climate with dry days and cool nights. Apparently, one can fine tune their micro-climate by moving up and down the hills. Atenas also has such natural beauty and culture. It's a tranquil coffee growing town. It's also close to universities, hospitals, the capital city of San Jose, and so on.
AARP claims it is one of the best places to retire and, as everyone knows, National Geographic claims Atenas has the best climate in the world. We don't want to be stuck inside all day with an air conditioner running because we find it too hot and humid outside. I would like to have a swimming pool for the hot days. The cool nights are a big plus to me ... windows open to let in the fresh air. Well, I guess the windows would be open all day and night anyway. No furnace and no AC!
There are two seasons in Costa Rica - rainy (May to December) and dry (January to April). It seems like there are a thousand and one micro-climates though.