Costa Rica - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-03-31

Costa Rica’s proximity to the United States helps facilitate exports from the United States.  With ports of entry on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, U.S. exporters can typically ship product to Costa Rica in less than a week and can easily travel to meet with sales representatives, distributors or end-user clients within the same day.  Before pandemic travel restrictions were imposed in 2020, there were direct flights to 15 U.S. cities from Costa Rica on a number of U.S. carriers.

Within Central America, Costa Rica is a strong ally for the United States.  Costa Rican citizens are very accustomed to doing business with the United States, and many U.S. products command strong brand recognition.  The large American expat population and the prevalence of the use of the English language in country are viewed as key advantages for U.S. firms doing business in Costa Rica.

Despite a growing Chinese presence in certain markets, Costa Rican citizens value conducting business with a neighboring partner with a reputation for providing quality products with strong after-sales service.  Costa Rica’s per capita GDP of over $12,000 is among the highest in the region, a figure on par with that of Mexico and Panama.   The country’s strong middle class enjoys a high degree of purchasing power, and has an ability to choose higher-value, international products.  Further, under CAFTA-DR U.S., most eligible consumer products and industrial goods enter Costa Rica duty-free. 

Market prospects are excellent in a variety of sectors, including building products, construction equipment, hotel and restaurant equipment, solar energy, franchising, cosmetics, auto parts and service equipment, electric vehicles and related equipment, pharmaceuticals, packaging, education, and tourism to the United States.  Within many of these sectors, U.S. firms have captured a strong share of the market.