What is it about Costa Rica that you don’t feel anywhere else? 

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Guanacaste Tourism, Investing in Costa Rica, Papagayo Region

What is it about Costa Rica that you don’t feel anywhere else? 

We all know that Costa Rica is blessed by a stunning coastline, lush and varied countryside and warming sunshine year round.  We have all heard that Costa Rica is the Happiest place on Earth. But what makes you feel different when you cross in to the Pura Vida land – why is it different from any other sunkissed nation?

The easy answer is the People.  Of course it is a bit more complicated than that.  Why do you feel at once welcomed here but not really needed.  As if to say – you can do what you want, we will be your friends and wholeheartedly welcome you and your family, but you need to follow our rules and respect our traditions and culture.  This is in stark contrast to many tourist destinations that you feel like they are happy you came –  treat you to a great time, relieve you or your hard earned money and don’t invite you to stay beyond your one week vacation.

To begin to answer the question of why Costa Rica is different you can trace it back to some very key decisions the country made.  Abolishing the military, investing in education and health care and realizing that the most important resource they have as a country are the people was the start.  This has led Costa Rica to become the most educated and technically advanced population in Latin America per capita and has fostered initiatives to place huge tracts of land in reserves and national parks and to produce almost 100% of their energy using sustainable generation sources like Hydro electric, Wind, Solar and Geothermal. It has just blossomed from there and has led to more and more investment into technology infrastructure, green tourism and high tech companies.


Costa Rica is also a leader in high technology industries such as silicon chip development, medical technology and software engineering.  Many low tech companies have shied away from doing manufacturing in Costa Rica but the highly educated workforce has attracted many more industries that require a level of education and intellectual infrastructure that is not available anywhere else in Latin America.  

So if we look at the big picture from the Costa Rican point of view – A bunch of foreigners having a great time and doing there thing at the beach is great but that same beach is their vacation spot and not necessarily their biggest priority to develop and do things the foreigners way.  They are taking a long term view and only want to provide a place in their beautiful country to those who have the ability to live within the culture and customs they have laid out.   The Costa Ricans are working from a place of power and feel they deserve the respect from those who choose to visit and live in their country and will welcome with open arms if you treat them as equals.


Check out this recent video done by the World Economic Forum where they interviewed the President of Costa Rica talking about Costa Rica’s most important natural resource – People.

Here are a couple short videos done by the Costa Rican Industry promotion agency CINDE that give you an idea of what Costa Rican business is all about and how they are leveraging their superior human capital.  Check out the CINDE website if you are at all interested in conducting serious business in Costa Rica.  It is packed full of extremely good information in English www.cinde.org

And of course we cannot forget about our beloved North Pacifico Region where we all call home or want to call home.  Check out this video and start to imagine that there is an untapped potential to conduct business in Guanacaste 

So now when you are complaining about some little trivial matter that is not what you are used to back home – just relax and kick back – knowing you are among equals in this little Pura Vida land we call Costa Rica.


Michael Simons

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June 2024
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