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Tel: (506) 8849 - 8569


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Business in Costa Rica and Economy of Costa Rica - Costa Rica Travel Guide and Travel Information

Travel Guide - Costa Rica

 


Banks and Money

There is an ample selection of state owned and privately held banks in San Jose, and throughout the country. The official currency of Costa Rica is the colon; however US dollars are widely accepted. US dollars and traveler’s checks can be changed in banks and hotels. Most major credit cards are widely accepted, and cash advances can be obtained at banks around the country and a variety of places throughout San Jose.


Business Hours

Government offices are generally open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, while banks close anytime between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, according to the bank and its branch. Most shops are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, while some open at 8:00 am and others close at 7:00 pm; most grocery stores close at 8:00 pm. Some shops also close for lunch, between noon and 1:00 or 2:00 pm.

Economy

You don’t have to drive very far in Costa Rica — past the coffee, pastures, bananas, and other crops — to realize that agriculture is the basis of its economy. Coffee has historically been the country’s most important crop, and Costa Rica continues to produce some of the finest coffee in the world. However in recent years less traditional crops have been playing an increasingly important economic role. Bananas are the second most important export crop, with vast plantations covering parts of the Caribbean lowlands. There is also significant land dedicated to the cultivation of pineapples, sugar, oranges, rice, hardwoods, and ornamental plants, as well as raising cattle for beef and dairy products.

Though agriculture remains the basis of the national economy, tourism has earned more than any single export crop during the last few years and the tourism industry continues to grow providing new employment opportunities and stimulating the conservation of our complex biodiversity.


Holidays

Though government offices and most banks close on national holidays, this causes little inconvenience to travelers, since money and traveler’s checks can be changed at most hotels. We recommend that you do not change money on the street.

There are days when hardly anything will be open, such as Christmas, New Year, and often a couple of days proceeding, and during Holy Week from Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

Some holidays can be attractive for travelers, such as the last week of the year, when there are parades and many other activities in San Jose and throughout the country. On July 25 every year (the annexation of the province of Guanacaste), the main towns in this northwest province are overflowing with revelry and folklore. Carnival, which is celebrated in the Caribbean port of Limon during the week of October 12, is another colorful affair.


Costa Rican Economy

Costa Rica has a stable economy and a relatively high standard of living. Actually its economy depends mainly in tourism, which is a rapidly expanding industry, agriculture, and electronic components exports. Costa Rica’s major economic resources are its fertile land and frequent rainfall, its well-educated population, and its strategic location in the Central American isthmus, which provides easy access to North and South American markets and direct ocean access to the European and Asian Continents. One-fourth of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national reserved forests, often adjoining picturesque beaches, which has made the country a popular destination for affluent retirees and ecotourists.

Costa Rica used to be known principally as a producer of bananas and coffee. Although it is still a largely agricultural country, its manufacturing and industry´s contribution to economy has overtook agriculture in the last 15 years. The main export products in 2004, in order of importance were: electronic components, textiles, bananas, medical equipment, pineapples, medicines, coffee and prepared food. In recent years, Costa Rica has successfully attracted important investments by such companies as Intel Corporation, which employs more than 2,000 people, Procter & Gamble, which is establishing its administrative center for the Western Hemisphere; and Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare from the health care products industry.