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Living Abroad in Costa Rica
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Excerpted from Living Abroad in Costa Rica

What about starting a business in Costa Rica? Getting a job?

With a stable political environment, solid infrastructure, a highly educated workforce, and no limitation on foreign control of corporations, Costa Rica is a very good place for foreigners to do business. You don’t even have to be a resident–you can start a business on a tourist visa.

Costa Rica considers that it protects itself against exploitation by protecting its workforce. Labor laws are strict and well enforced. The government makes it easy for foreigners to do business here in part because they want more jobs created for Ticos (Costa Ricans).

Case Studies: Profiles of expats who work as surf photographers, writers, massage therapists, environmental activists, and at other jobs

Also see: Building a B & B from the ground up in Costa Rica

Getting a job

Costa Rica is like the United States in that it has one of the strongest economies in its geographical area, and so attracts people who need work. If your home country is in bad economic straits, with high unemploymentthink Argentina, Peru, or NicaraguaCosta Rica looks very good to you.

"It's easy to make a living here," a Peruvian living in Liberia told me. "As long as you're ready to work hard. But at least here you find something to work hard at."

For North Americans used to making a good salary, however, Costa Rica is no haven. North Americans don't usually come here for job opportunities; they come because they love the country.

The government would really rather you start your own business, and provide work for others. To get an idea of how foreigners are encouraged to open businesses but discouraged from holding jobs, consider this: the most common categories of foreign residency—rentista and pensionado —allow you to be a business owner but not an employee. Understandably, Costa Rica wants to protect its own work force.

Foreigners who have salaried jobs often work for multinational corporations with branches here or for NGOs, non-governmental organizations. Teaching English is also a common expat job.


For more information, see Living Abroad in Costa Rica.

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