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The benefits of Costa Rica

  • Highly Educated, skilled and easy train and productive human resources at a reasonable cost.
  • Pollitical, economical and social stability.
  • Legal guarantees, predictability and economic freedom.
  • Strategic location in the center of the Americas, with the same standard time zone as Central U.S.
  • Export-Oriented infraestructure, reliable power and advanced telecommunications.
  • Preferential access to important markets.
  • Attractive tax incentives.
  • Good company of other important foreing corporation. (Teletech, Four Seasons, Marriot, Hilton, Intel, Procter & Gamble, Sykes)

Quick Facts About Costa Rica

OVERVIEW: Officially named the Republic of Costa Rica, this country is only 51,100 sq. km (19,730 sq. mi.) That’s about the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The capital city of San Jose with its population of 2.1 million people is less than half of the over 4.5 million living in this small nation. Located south of Nicaragua, and north of Panama, this part of the Central American isthmus has a central spine of mountains and volcanoes separated by two coastal plains. With mild climate in the central highlands to tropical and subtropical climates in the coastal areas, Costa Rica hosts a surprising diversity of terrain and microclimates in a small landmass.

POPULATION

The Costa Ricans (known locally as Ticos and Ticas) are 94% European of decent with a population growth rate of about 1.3%. The official religion is Roman Catholic, covering 70% of the faithful with about 16% Protestant. Though Spanish is the main language spoken, Caribbean Creole and English are widely used around the Limon area along the east coast. With compulsory education being 9 years, Costa Rica has a very high literacy rate in the region of 96%. Life expectancy is high with men at 75.1 years and women at 80.46 years. 2.05 million workers are registered, excluding Nicaraguans living both legally and illegally in Costa Rica.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS

This democratic republic has been an independent nation since September 15, 1821. Their constitution was ratified on November 7, 1949. Their annual GDP as of 2011 was just over $40 billion with purchasing power parity at over $54 billion. The real growth rate stands around 4% with inflation at 5.3%. The per capita income is $11,563 PPP with an unemployment rate nationwide that hovers around 6.5%. The local currency is the Costa Rica Colon (CRC). Costa Rica’s natural resources include hydroelectric power, forest products, and fisheries. Agriculture makes up just under 7% of the GDP with products such as bananas, pineapples, coffee, beef, sugar, rice, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, ornamental plants, corn, beans, potatoes, timber. Industry is now over 26% of the GDP with product types including electronic components, medical equipment, textiles and apparel, tires, food processing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products. Tourism, commerce and services are by far the largest contributors to the economy at a whopping 67% of GDP. These include hotels, restaurants, tourist services, banks, and insurance. Costa Rica’s trade statistics as of 2010 were: Exports–$9.385 billion: integrated circuits, medical equipment, bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, textiles, and electronic components. The major markets of exportation were: U.S. 37.4%, European Union (27) 17.9%, China (including Hong Kong) 4.8%, Panama 4.8%, Nicaragua 4.2%. Imports–$13.57 billion: raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum. Major import suppliers were: U.S. 46.8%, European Union (27) 7.9%, China 7.1%, Mexico 6.4%, Japan 3.6%.

GREAT POTENTIAL

Costa Rica is among the top 30 leading exporters of high-tech products (Human Development Report, 2001).

The UNCTAD in its 2009 World Investment Report classified Costa Rica as one of the six most successful countries in the attraction of the FDI. Also in the E-commerce and Development Report 2002, states that Costa Rica can potentially enhance export competitiveness and produce high value-added services that gives a major boost to the local economy. At the same time, the growth of the domestic IT industry has led more and more firms to use ICT in their business activities, enabling them to move rapidly into e-commerce, e-banking and e-tourism.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, San José is the city with the best quality of life in Latin America, The study also highlights Costa Rica as the country with the longest uninterrupted democracy government.

In a context of sustainable development Costa Rica is ranked 9th out of 142 countries in the Environmental Sustainability Index (World Economic Forum, 2009)

MAIN EXPORTS:

Electronic components, textiles, bananas, coffee, medical devices, pineapples, foliage and ornamentals, fish and seafood, processed foods.

STANDARD OF LIVING INDICATORS

Life expectancy: 76.1 years
Literacy rate: 95.5%
Educational Institutions: 6147 primary and secondary schools and 50 universities
Education expenditures: 5% of GDP (2002).
Youth literacy: 98.3%
Population served with piped water: 99%
Public health services coverage: 90.4% of population
Health expenditures: 27.8% of government budget
Access to telephone service: 92% of population

POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

Traditional and stable democracy, army abolished in 1949.
Lowest risk rating in Latin America.
Business environment and legal framework open to foreign investment.
No limitation on foreign control of corporations and ownership of property.

The political structure establishes three independent powers:
1. Executive: President and Ministers
2. Legislative: 57 elected Representatives
3. Judiciary The Presidential term consists of 4-year periods without re-election. The current President of Costa Rica is Oscar Arias Sánchez (2006-2010).

MARKET ACCESS:

  • Duty free access to US (CBI)
  • Preferential access to European and Asian markets (GSP)
  • Free Trade Agreements with Mexico, Canada, Chile and Dominican Republic
  • Active involvement in the implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas
  • CAFTA
The stability of the government, lack of a standing army, and focus on education and social health care make Costa Rica a growing country of interest for both foreign investment and retirees. With large multinational companies such as Proctor & Gamble, HP, and Intel pouring foundations on free zone service centers and manufacturing facilities, the growing middle class is fueling a transition from a nation whose dollars come from coffee and bananas to shared services and microprocessors. Though tourism is by and large the biggest source of revenue, there is a keen sight set on the future of this country by its young, educated population poised to take Costa Rica into the next century.

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