Costa Rica Economics and Business

According to cheeroutdoor, Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America with a population of over five million people. It is known for its lush rainforest, diverse wildlife, and beautiful beaches. Despite its size, Costa Rica has a strong economy that has grown steadily over the past few decades. The economy is largely based on tourism and agriculture, with other sectors such as manufacturing, technology, and finance playing an increasingly important role.

Tourism is one of the main drivers of the Costa Rican economy. In 2019, the tourism sector accounted for more than 8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The number of tourists visiting Costa Rica has been steadily increasing since the 1990s due to its rich biodiversity and varied attractions. The government has invested heavily in infrastructure to support tourism including roads, airports, ports, and hotels.

Agriculture is another key sector in Costa Rica’s economy. Coffee is one of the most important agricultural exports from Costa Rica and accounts for around 15% of total exports. Other major agricultural products include bananas, sugarcane, corn, beans, vegetables and flowers. The government provides support to farmers through subsidies and tax incentives which helps them stay competitive in global markets.

Manufacturing is another important sector in Costa Rica’s economy with textiles being one of the most important industries accounting for around 20% of total exports. Technology companies have also been growing at a rapid pace over recent years due to generous incentives from the government such as tax exemptions on profits earned by foreign-owned companies or special zones set up for technology parks or software development centers.

The financial sector in Costa Rica has also seen significant growth over recent years with banks offering various services such as credit cards or loans to individuals or businesses alike. There are also several insurance companies that offer various types of coverage including health insurance or life insurance policies among others.

Overall, Costa Rica’s economy has grown steadily over recent years due to increased investment from both domestic and foreign sources as well as favorable government policies that have helped attract new businesses into the country while providing support for existing ones through generous incentives or subsidies for farmers or manufacturers among others.

Abbreviated as CRI by, Costa Rica has traditionally been very dependent on coffee and banana exports. From the latter part of the 1970s the prices of agricultural products fell and the price of oil rose. This contributed to a sharp weakening of the economy. increased unemployment and large trade deficits abroad as a result. From the early 1990s, the economy has improved with adjustments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the reduction of some social benefits. The service sector has increased in recent years, contributing in 2001 to just over 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) and in 1997 it had 56% of employment. Many of the service jobs are in the tourism industry. Costa Rica has become a popular tourist destination and is a pioneer in ecotourism, and tourism is the country’s most important source of foreign currency. Costa Rica was visited in 2001 by over 1.1 million tourists, most from Canada and the United States. From the latter part of the 1990s, the production of computer equipment has also been an important source of income. In 2000, GDP was USD 3960 per capita.

Costa Rica GDP (Nominal, $USD) 2003-2017

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Agriculture forms the basis of the country’s economy, and employs (along with forestry and fishing) 15% of the working population and accounts for 15% of GDP; however, agriculture’s share of employment and GDP is declining. About. 10% of the land is cultivated land, while 46% is pasture. The most important agricultural areas are on Meseta Central. Here most of the country’s coffee, dairy and sugar is produced, as well as foods such as beans, corn and potatoes. Coffee is mostly grown on small farms (fincas)on volcanic soil up to approx. 1300 meters altitude. Production in 2001 was approx. 166 000 tonnes. Banana cultivation has been dominated by American companies (United Fruit Company), and is run on large plantations in the Caribbean and around Golfo Dulce on the Pacific coast. In addition, more diversified agricultural production is being invested, among other things. pineapple, oranges, rice and ornamental plants. The cattle industry is significant, especially in Guanacaste in the far northwest of the country and in the rainforest in the north, towards Nicaragua. The cattle industry takes place in large units that have created social conditions that can be found on the big estates, haciendas, other places in Latin America and which contrast with Costa Rica’s traditional small farms.

Forestry is negligible, despite the timber covers 1 / 3 of the area and include valuable species as rosewood, cedar and mahogany. Some fishing, mainly in the Pacific.


Some gold and sea salt is extracted, and the country has small deposits of iron ore and sulfur. Significant deposits of bauxite have been found in the Boruca area of ​​the southern part of the country; an aluminum plant is under construction. Minor petroleum discoveries have been made in Valle Talamanca.


The production of electrical energy was in 2016 10.9 TWh, with a per capita consumption of 2039 kWh. In recent years, renewable energy has covered almost 100 percent of electricity consumption. Hydropower is the most important source of energy, with a share of 78 percent in 2016, while wind power and geothermal energy contributed about 10 per cent each.


Industry and mining account for approx. 23% of both employment and GDP (2001). The industry is relatively underdeveloped and consists essentially of processing agricultural products as well as the textile, chemical and plastic industries. Production of computer equipment was started in 1998 under the auspices of the American company Intel. The economic growth that has taken place in Costa Rica in recent years, including with GDP growth of 2.8% in 2000, is largely due to exports of data and telecommunications equipment from so-called frisons. Industrial growth in general is hampered, among other things. of a small domestic market, and industrial production is almost entirely concentrated at Meseta Central.

Foreign Trade

The foreign economy is characterized by large deficits, and Costa Rica has a considerable foreign debt. Of the export value in 2001, bananas accounted for 10% and coffee 2.5% (exports from the freezers are excluded). This is a decrease from 1998 when bananas accounted for 18.8% and coffee 12.4% of the export value. The decline is partly due to falling prices on the world market, partly to broken crops and diseases, but also to the conversion of coffee production from low-quality to high-quality coffee. Imports consist of industrial goods, machinery, chemicals and fuel. Costa Rica deals most with the US, Germany, Guatemala and Italy. Costa Rica is a member of the Central American Common Market.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Costa Rica, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.

Transport and Communications

The state-run railway connects the capital of San José with the port cities of Limón on the Caribbean and Puntarenas on the Pacific. The railway line was the first to be built in Central America in the 1860s and has a total length of approx. 950 km. The road network is just over 35,000 km, including a sector of the Pan-American highway. It is the highway from Alajuela to Limón. The main international airport (Juan Santamaría) is located approx. 20 km from San Jose. International airport also at Liberia (Daniel Oduber Quirós). The main port cities are Limón/ Moín on the Caribbean coast for the export of bananas; Caldera and Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast.

Note: the capital city of Costa Rica is San José with a population of 335,000 (estimate 2019). Other major cities include Alajuela with a population of 255,000, Cartago with a population of 148,000, Heredia with a population of 124,000, Puntarenas with a population of 115,000, Limón with a population of 94,000 (2011 census).

Costa Rica Economics and Business

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