Five Business Opportunities for Expats in Costa Rica

Five Business Opportunities for Expats in Costa Rica – a phrase that encapsulates the potential that this beautiful Central American country holds for foreign entrepreneurs. Costa Rica, known for its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and welcoming culture, has become a popular destination for expats worldwide. The country’s stable economy and high standard of living make it an attractive place for foreigners looking to start a new chapter of their lives. But beyond just living and working in Costa Rica, there lies a wealth of business opportunities across various sectors that expats can tap into. Whether it’s real estate, tourism, agriculture, e-commerce, or renewable energy, Costa Rica offers diverse possibilities for those willing to explore and invest. This article will delve into these five business opportunities, providing a comprehensive guide for any expat considering starting a business in Costa Rica.

1: Real Estate

The real estate market in Costa Rica is thriving, thanks to the country’s growing economy and increasing popularity as a tourist destination. This presents a lucrative opportunity for expats interested in real estate. Whether buying and selling properties, property management, or vacation rentals, there are numerous ways to get involved in the real estate sector. Costa Rica’s Economy: An Overview provides more insights into the country’s economic landscape.



2: Tourism and Hospitality

Tourism is a crucial part of Costa Rica’s economy. Millions of tourists visit the country annually to enjoy its natural beauty, wildlife, and culture. This has led to a booming tourism and hospitality sector, offering numerous opportunities for expats. From running a boutique hotel or a tour company to offering unique travel experiences, there are many ways to tap into this market.



3: Agriculture

Costa Rica’s agricultural sector is another area ripe with opportunities. The country’s fertile soil and favorable climate make it ideal for growing various crops, including coffee, bananas, and pineapples. Expats with a green thumb can consider starting a farming business or getting involved in organic farming and sustainable agriculture.



4: E-commerce

The growth of e-commerce in Costa Rica has been impressive in recent years. More and more Costa Ricans are shopping online, and businesses are adapting to this trend. This presents an excellent opportunity for expats to start an online business. Whether selling local products to international customers or offering digital services, the e-commerce sector is full of potential. For more information on doing business in Costa Rica, check out Doing Business in Costa Rica.



5: Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is of significant importance in Costa Rica. The country is a global leader in using renewable energy sources, with most of its electricity coming from hydroelectric, wind, and solar power. This commitment to green energy opens up numerous opportunities for expats in the renewable energy sector. There are many ways to get involved, from setting up solar power installations to consulting on energy efficiency. More information on Costa Rica’s renewable energy landscape can be found at Costa Rica’s Renewable Energy.



Bonus Opportunity

Diversify Your Investment with Secured Real Estate Returns

Investing your money can be a great way to build wealth over time. However, putting all your money into one investment can be risky. That’s why diversification is essential. By diversifying your portfolio, you spread your risk across different assets, reducing the chances of losing all your money simultaneously. One way to diversify your investment portfolio is by investing in real estate. Real estate can offer a stable and secure investment option, and Gap Investments offer secured real estate returns that are hard to find anywhere else.




Five Business Opportunities for Expats in Costa Rica is not just a phrase but a reality that many foreign entrepreneurs are already experiencing. Whether it’s real estate, tourism, agriculture, e-commerce, or renewable energy, the opportunities are diverse and plentiful. However, success in these sectors requires a deep understanding of the local business environment and a willingness to adapt and innovate. For those willing to take the plunge, Costa Rica offers a vibrant and welcoming setting to start and grow a business. So, if you’re an expat with entrepreneurial aspirations, consider Costa Rica your next destination. With the right preparation and mindset, you could find your niche in one of these five business sectors and contribute to the country’s growing economy while enjoying the ‘Pura Vida‘ lifestyle.


If you’re an expat looking to start a business in Costa Rica, we encourage you to research these opportunities further and take the following steps. Consult with local business professionals, network with other expats, and immerse yourself in the local culture. With the proper preparation and mindset, you can succeed in the land of ‘Pura Vida.’

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for starting a business in Costa Rica?

Starting a business in Costa Rica involves several steps, including registering the business with the appropriate government agencies, obtaining necessary permits, and paying relevant taxes. It’s advisable to consult with a local attorney or business consultant to understand the specific requirements.

What are the best cities in Costa Rica for expats to start a business?

The best city for starting a business in Costa Rica depends on the type of business. San Jose, the capital, is a central hub for tech and service businesses. Coastal cities like Tamarindo and Jaco are popular for tourism-related businesses.

What are the challenges of doing business in Costa Rica?

While Costa Rica offers many opportunities, it also presents some challenges. These include navigating the local bureaucracy, understanding the legal and regulatory environment, and dealing with the high cost of electricity and other utilities.

Can an expat start a business in Costa Rica?

Yes, expats can start a business in Costa Rica. However, they need to comply with specific legal and regulatory requirements. It’s advisable to consult with a local attorney or business consultant to understand the specific steps involved.

What are important businesses in Costa Rica?

Some essential businesses in Costa Rica include tourism, Investing, hospitality, real estate, agriculture, e-commerce, and renewable energy. The country also has a growing tech sector.

What jobs are in demand in Costa Rica?

Jobs in the tourism and hospitality, real estate, agriculture, and tech industries are often in demand in Costa Rica. Additionally, there’s a demand for professionals in the renewable energy sector due to the country’s commitment to green energy.

Is Costa Rica a good place to start a business?

Costa Rica can be an excellent place to start a business, thanks to its stable economy, high standard of living, and welcoming culture. However, like any country, it has challenges, including navigating the local bureaucracy and understanding the legal and regulatory environment.

Can I live in Costa Rica on $2000 a month?

Yes, it’s possible to live in Costa Rica for $2000 a month, depending on your lifestyle and where in the country you live. Some areas are more expensive than others, and certain expenses, like housing and utilities, can vary widely.

What can an expat do for work in Costa Rica?

Expats in Costa Rica can work in a variety of sectors. Many start their own businesses in areas like tourism and hospitality, real estate, and e-commerce. Others work in the tech industry or in agriculture. Teaching English is another common job for expats in Costa Rica.

What makes the most money in Costa Rica?

The tourism and hospitality are among the most significant contributors to Costa Rica’s economy, making it a lucrative industry. Other profitable sectors include real estate, agriculture, and renewable energy.

What industry brings the most money to Costa Rica?

The tourism industry is one of the biggest contributors to Costa Rica’s economy. The country’s natural beauty, wildlife, and culture attract millions of tourists annually, generating significant revenue. Other important industries include real estate, agriculture, and renewable energy.


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