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COSTA RICA

GEOGRAPHIC:
  • Capital: San José
  • Language: Spanish
  • Location: Central America, bordered at the north of Panamá, with ports in the Pacific as well as in the Atlantic, and 153 miles of roads between them.
  • Climate: tropical and pleasant all year. Temperatures in San José range between 57 and 75 F° in December, and 63 to 81 F° in May. On the Caribbean coast the average is 70 F° at night and 86 F° during the day. The Pacific coast is warmer than the Caribbean, but the humidity level is lower.
  • With more than 490 hotels all over the country, Costa Rica offers a wide variety of possibilities to relax and rest.
  • The combination of places to adventure (golf, surfing, rafting, canopy, etc) and rest, make this country one to stay at.
POPULATION
  • Population: 4.872.000 Inhabitants
  • Density: 84 inhabitants per square meter.
  • Main metropolitan area: San José (1.403.963)
  • Work force: 2.21 million
  • Economically active population: 46.9%
  • Unemployment rate 2014: 9.7%
ECONOMY
  • GDP: US$52.8 billion
  • GDP per Capita: $10916
  • Exports (FOB) in millions US$11.251
  • Imports (CIF) in millions US$17.186
  • Inflation: 4%
  • Devaluation rate: 3.8%


EASE OF ACCESS

With more than 2.5 million visitors during 2014, Costa Rica is shown to be one of the favorite international destinations for many tourists. During 2014, because of tourism activities, approximately $2.636 million were recorded as income.

The recent availability of flights to the Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste, because of its proximity to the pacific coast, and important infrastructure roadwork done on the area, has powered this as a new destination entrance. New funds have been allocated to improve the main international airport (Juan Santamaría) and secondary airports as well.

NATURAL BEAUTY

Costa Rica has a greater maritime area than continental area, because its oceanic area is of 500.000 square meters, including the Coco Island, which is located 480 kilometers southwest of the Osa Peninsula, in the Pacific Ocean. The island was declared World Cultural heritage by Unesco in 1997.

The Costa Rica´s forests own rich reserves of ebony, balsa, mahogany, and cedar, in addition to oak, cypress, mangrove swamps, ferns, kapok and palm. The country holds 1000 species of orchids, were Monteverde the region with the highest density of orchids in the world.

Wildlife is an important subject in this country, abundance of wild animals such as pumas, jaguars, deers, monkeys, coyotes, and armadillos, 850 species of birds, like the quetzal, hummingbird and goldfinch.

Around a 38% of the total area of the country is covered by forests and jungles, and 25% in under protection law.

Rio Savegre, located in San Isidro del General, is the cleanest river in the American continent. Costa Rica possess 6% of the world’s total biodiversity, a fact that proves how this country is not only some cities and towns, but the space in this small nation is also for forests to grow along with big cities.

HEALTH INDICATORS

Social security is a big issue for this country and its history. With the abolition of the army in 1949, the economic resources meant to pay for it were redirected to education and health systems. This has allowed the country to have the best health rating of all Latin-America, and making it comparable only with developed countries.

 Besides the public health system, the country has a strong private health industry, with renowned and important hospitals and clinics.

According to the World Bank, Costa Rica has the highest life at birth expectancy of Latin America, comparable with Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The UN declared that approximately 95 to 100% of the population has access to essential medications.

Of the total population, 95% has access to potable water, of at least 20 liters per person per day.

REAL ESTATE

The restrictions for foreigners to access real estate are few, as the law assures the same rights for citizens and foreigners; there are no special conditions for the acquisition of a property.

The Great Metropolitan Area, offers a variety of business centers, industrial developments and Free Zones to satisfy the national and international demand, with an important growth in the last 15 years.

COST-OF-LIVING

Costa Rica has a good balance between life cost and quality. According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting report, the city of San José is in the fifth place in Latin America for the best life quality.

POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

  • Democracy traditional and stable; army abolition in 1949.
  • Lowest country-risk index of Latin America.
  • Commercial environment and legal framework open to foreign investment.
  • First place in Latin America and the world for the Happiest Country.

The political structure of the country established three powers:

  • Executive: President and Ministers
  • Legislative: 57 elected representatives
  • Judiciary

The Presidential term consists of 4-year periods with possible non-consecutive re-election. The current President of Costa Rica is Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018).

MARKET ACCESS

  • Duty free access to US (CBI)
  • Preferential access to European and Asian markets (GSP)
  • Free Trade Agreements with Mexico, Canada, Chile and the Dominican Republic
  • Active involvement in the implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas
  • Free Trade Agreement among Dominican Republic and United States (CAFTA)

GREAT POTENCIAL

The local workforce is considered one of the main attractions for foreign investors, due to its educational and schooling level. The government has given a high priority to invest in public education, including the universities, technical schools and vocational. The abolition of the army released funds for this, it represent a 7.2% of the total GDP. As a result of these efforts, Costa Rica has one of the highest human development index among the developing countries (0.763) and one of the highest literacy in the Americas (96.3%) with a expectancy of 10 years of schooling, according to the World Bank 2014 development indicators.

PRODUCTIVITY AND WAGES

In general the workforce is easy to train and productive. The best comparative advantage of Costa Rica that draws the attention of foreign investment of technology companies is the sufficient provision of qualified professionals and technical personnel, at a lower cost than developed countries. In the low technology industry, even though the wages are higher than its competitors, the high productivity and manufacture techniques often compensate the labor costs.

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