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Is Costa Rica a Good Place to Do Business?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Some say it’s easy to do business in Costa Rica, but others have a horrible experience. A few decades ago, doing business internationally was the domain of only the most prominent companies and the wealthiest in society. But today, almost anyone can trade with anyone else on the planet with a laptop and an internet connection.

The effects of globalization have touched just about every industry in every nation. These effects allow consumers to purchase cheaper products and create the conditions for entirely new businesses to emerge.

Another benefit of globalization is that businesses are freer to relocate themselves to different parts of the world. It’s not just big conglomerates that can benefit individual freelancers who can take advantage of visa regimes to work in other countries.

Many Options

The list of relocation options is long. European nations like Germany and Czechia welcome small businesses and freelancers, and Estonia has created its e-Residency program for foreign nationals to establish a business presence.  These countries offer different cultures, climates, and trading environments for business owners and freelancers to consider.

Is Costa Rica a Good Place to Do Business?

Costa Rica is now an option for business owners and freelancers to run their business or start a new one. In addition, in August 2021, the government passed a law to create a digital nomad visa.

Everybody knows that the country is a great place to live. But is Costa Rica such a great place to do business?

“The Ninth Most Complex Place to Do Business”

Of the approximately 200 countries globally, Costa Rica ranks ninth in TMF Group’s Global Business Complexity Index 2021. The main reasons for this are the country’s bureaucracy and changing legislation.

The country still ranks better than other countries in the area, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

However, navigating bureaucracy is a fact of life for business people everywhere, and you can hire professionals like lawyers to assist when needed.

¿Hablas español?

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and it is spoken in daily life. However, using Spanish when doing business depends greatly on what type of business you plan to have. If you’re dealing with employees with little or no education, you’ll run into trouble without it.

Most Costa Ricans under 50 years old speak English with a high school or college education. Nonetheless, everyone who works in the tourism industry is pretty fluent in English. Therefore, if you can speak or are willing to learn the local language, you will do business much more comfortably.

Is Costa Rica a Good Place to Do Business?

Education

Costa Rica has a very well-educated workforce, but not every professional is fluent in English. Therefore, before you do business in Costa Rica, first investigate if professionals in your field are among those or not.

For example, Oxford University has produced significantly more Prime Ministers than any other institution in the UK, while Warwick U has become a hotbed for aspiring online poker players. The university has seen many big names pass through its doors, including Rupert Elder, James Keys, Alex Millar in just the last couple of years.

Costa Rica has a good mix of universities, including two in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The UCR is the country’s most prestigious and has 25 research units, including ones that focus on molecular biology, biodiversity, and nuclear energy. Additionally, the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica is a business school that helps to produce graduates with strong commercial acumen.

You should be able to find great employees, which will make it easier to do business in Costa Rica.

The Environment

The need to protect the environment is becoming much more urgent, and many entrepreneurs are looking for ways to use their businesses to make a positive impact.

Although the cost of going green is more expensive overall, it’s well worth it for a business to do so. Costa Rica has a solid plan to achieve net-zero and can even become the first country to do it through a well-considered plan covering transport, renewable energy, construction, food, and waste management.

Is Costa Rica a Good Place to Do Business?

The Verdict

Costa Rica is a great place to live and work, and the fact that the country has had to create a second visa plan for entrepreneurs to set up shop there is a testament to the demand that exists.

There are some drawbacks, particularly for those who are averse to jumping through bureaucratic hoops or don’t speak Spanish. But with a relaxing way of life, good environmental conditions, and a well-trained workforce, Costa Rica could be an excellent place for you to do business.

Photo by Eelco Böhtlingk on Unsplash

Photo by Emmanuel Appiah on Unsplash


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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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