Costa Rica Small Business- Expect the Expected

Small Business Costa Rica
Successfully owning and operating a small business in Costa Rica requires an understanding of the culture—and the language


Anyone owning or operating a small business outside her or his home country knows their can be potential pitfalls. Chief among these are not understanding the culture, the people and/or the language. This is true even in business-friendly Costa Rica. But a few simple steps can help ease the transition.


Costa Rica is not only a tropical paradise—with beaches and mountains within a short drive of each other—but also a great place to run a small business. This assumes, of course, that you have a cultural understanding of the country and a daring spirit.

Donna Mickley is one such person. Although she had never run a business before, including in the U.S., she decided to purchase a wedding-planning company, Pura Vida Weddings, in Costa Rica.

small business costa rica

Sounds like a match made in heaven, helping loving—and primarily American and Canadian—couples get married on white sands while living in an increasingly popular ex-pat community. But she notes several obstacles that have to be overcome to make the dream come true.

small business Costa Rica

For example, “If you’re not a resident or don’t have a work permit, you can’t legally work at your business. You can own and oversee it but you can’t work it. This means you have to pay someone else to do pretty much everything for you,” Mickley says.




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