Gringos and non-gringos alike are taking advantage of the exploding Costa Rican tourist industry
Editors note: This article is part one of a three-part series based on the authors recent book entitled Pura Vida.
According to a recent study by Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist, Costa Rica is the second-best country in Latin America in which to be born in 2013, following only Chile. With a bustling economy, no standing army and a near-95 percent literacy rate, this is hardly surprising.
During my 10 years or so traveling to the country, staying mainly in the Pacific Coast tourist town of Tamarindo, Ive witnessed this firsthand. Municipal servicesincluding a new highway that runs from the capital city of San Jose to the Guanacaste region of Costa Ricaare vastly improving (although some challenges remain, especially when it comes to potholes after the rainy season), this Hispanic business climate is becoming increasingly friendly to both native-born and ex-pat entrepreneurs, and the tourist trade, whether for surfers, sun worshippers or eco-interested visitors, is booming.
This is in part due to recent accolades the area has received, with Playa Tamarindo being named the third-best beach in Central America by TripAdvisor. Another survey sponsored by TripAdvisor calls Costa Rica in general one of the best eco-tourist destinations in the world. You can find out more about this in The Tamarindo News and The Tico Times.
All of this is creating new and exciting opportunities for people looking to set up shop in an ever-growing economy well suited to new ventures. In Tamarindo, for example, enterprises are springing up at a frantic pace, with new restaurants, retail shops and tourist-specific services opening on anonly slightly exaggeratedeveryday rate. Although residential construction has slowed of late, in part due to sluggish global economy, other development hasnt, with hotels expanding and new resorts popping up across the hilly landscape.