We went to visit Atenas for the first time today, to see the new house that we’ll be renting for the rest of our time here. Atenas is, apparently a big expatriate place, but it felt a lot different than La Fortuna (also a big expatriate place). The house looks nice, with a big backyard and soft living room furniture, which was one of the most important features we were looking for after spending the past 21 days sitting on hard wooden stuff.
Yesterday, we had to board a bus to go to Atenas and after we found the bus and boarded it, I realized how stressed I had been about finding it. I have this tendency not to believe in the bus until I see it and it actually lands where it’s supposed to in a real place. A part of me didn’t really think the bus to Atenas from Alajuela would be there. But the bus station attendant pointed us to an awning that even had a sign for Atenas hanging down from it and lo and behold…behind that there was a schedule of buses showing that they run throughout the day every hour or every half hour (between the busy times of 4:00 and 5:30 PM). The buses run Monday through Friday until 8:30 or 9:00 PM and on Saturdays until 10:30 PM. I didn’t write down how early they start (I should have), but it was early enough to get people to work in Alajuela.
The Atenas to Alajuela buses are located in the parking lot across from the Alajuela to Poas and San Jose Barrio buses. There are three full parking lots of buses in Alajuela that are all located in the center of town near the big Parque del Cementerio. There are no ticket stands in the bus station. The tickets are purchased on the buses which are marked with the cities that they serve on their routes. Sometimes you can flag down a bus just walking along the street (it depends) and sometimes you have to be a stop along the way between cities. After being here for three weeks, the bus system is starting to make sense to me in a very Latin American sort of way. They don’t usually run on a strict schedule, but neither does the rest of the country so it seems to work out okay.
The Alajuela-Atenas bus and Atenas-Alajuela bus is by Copetransatenas for Ruta 246. Their telephone number is 446-57-67. The web site address http://horariodebuses.com/ will take you to a place where you can enter in a time and then find out when the earliest possible bus will run from place to place in Mexico, Central, and South America.