Two Cats, Two Chickens: Living The Life In Costa Rica

The best weather in the world

Everyday, there's a friendly game of checkers to be found near the park

Everyday, there’s a friendly game of checkers to be found near the park

“Vivir la vida” means living the life and that’s what we figured we were doing as we headed for Atenas, Costa Rica and a new housesitting gig we had arranged a few months beforeThe picturesque town of Atenas, reputedly named by a National Geographic writer as having the “best climate in the world”, is surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations. It’s a popular place for North American retirees who are drawn to the area by the climate, the area’s beauty and its proximity to the Pacific coast and  San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica.  Also high on the list of things to like about Atenas is the genuine friendliness of the people.  And, although it’s a small town, (approximately 27,000) it has numerous westernized amenities.

Atenas street scene

Home maintenanceWe met the homeowners, Mario and Christina.  Their abode, behind a traditional privacy wall, was large and comfortable and located in a “Tica” (local) neighborhood. Inside it had many original paintings and mosaics that Christina, an artist, had created. And, oh joy! hot water in both the kitchen and bathroom.  The tap water was potable so, not only could we wash our fruits and vegetables in it, we could drink it as well.  We spent a couple of days with Mario and Christina learning the idiosyncrasies of their home and the basic layout of Atenas.  Our responsibilities included caring for two cats (Miles and Chunche) and two chickens (Blue and Dixie).  Additionally, there was swimming pool maintenance and composting of organic food and yard wastes, cleaning the patio and sidewalk, picking up the mail from the post office, vehicle checks and emailing our hosts every few days to discuss any problems or assure them that we were caring for all they loved diligently.Miles & Chunche

And then…one of the chickens died.  Our worse fear as house and pet sitters is of a pet death or some home catastrophe that we might have prevented.  Granted, Blue was limping around the yard in the days before our hosts left but… We alerted Mario and Christina a couple of days after they left that Blue was ailing and did not want to leave the chicken coop and that we had placed her feed near her.  A couple of days went by with her continuing to eat but, one morning she was dead. How to tell someone their pet had died?  Tough but we just had to suck up being the bearers of bad news and figure out where to bury her…

La FeriaOther than poor Blue…the rest of our house and pet sitting job went smoothly with us enjoying the run of a well-equipped home, cable television, fast internet and, such luxury, a pool.  Each Friday we’d walk to the local feria (farmers’ market) and join a throng of smiling shoppers looking at the artful arrangements of fruits and vegetables, flowers, breads and baked goods and a small selection of handmade crafts. Eventually we’d make our purchases and take our tasty acquisitions back to our abode to enjoy over the next few days. It seems that vivir la vida is really what it could be all about…

La feria

By Richard and Anita, November, 2103



  • It sounds like the house sitting is going well Anita. Well, except for the dead chicken. Terri and I considered house sitting, and taking care of pets was our major stumbling block. It’s not that we don’t like animals, we just aren’t comfortable being responsible for someone else’s pets. But it sounds like the lap o’ luxury and Costa Rica is a great place. ~James


    • It’s funny that you picked this post to comment on, James, as we just finished up our 3rd housesit in Costa Rica and wrote a post about it this week. We have to agree that caring for pets that belong to someone else is a huge responsibility, especially when they get sick as happened on both our housesits that have had pets. At the beginning of our last gig we were thinking we might not want to try it again…Having buried one pet we definitely did not want that to happen on our last housesit but we had our doubts for awhile! Anita


  • Anita, very good story and I really like the pictures. Costa Rica is one of the countries I would like to visit soon.


    • Hi, Hugh and thanks. Costa Rica is lush and amazingly beautiful – we hope to spend some time on the Caribbean side after the holidays to see some of the animal life (I’m dying to see a sloth!). You’ll definitely enjoy your time there.


      • Pura vida, Dick and Anita. I saw a few sloths down by Manuel Antonio, including a youngster at El Mono Azul, the place I stayed at near Quepos, that takes in wild orphaned animals. But I never made it to the Caribbean side.
        Mark G.


  • oh no, poor you – and poor Blue :/ but I´m sure you did the best you could to give her some pleasant last days. Other than that you seem to be living “la pura vida” 🙂 ! It´s great being able to join some of your adventures with this nice little blog of yours – thanks for sharing your stories! Big hug and keep it going 🙂


  • It looks mighty good from here. Am looking out the window at 44 degrees and rain blowing sideways. Brrrr…..

    The house sitting gig is going to be a great deal for the two of you. Enjoy.



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