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Category Archives: Business News

How to Avoid Personal Banking Disasters in Costa Rica Standard

coopenae-bank-costa-rica2

Personal banking at the large state-sponsored institutions in Costa Rica is not for the squeamish. There are many horror stories among expatriates about frozen funds, incorrect account information, blocked debit cards, lost term deposits, excessive red tape, etc. Most of the time, these problems can be avoided in the first place with the assistance of a bilingual account executive who really cares. Asdrubal Zamora of credit union COOPENAE tells us more about this: About 30 years ago, I remember going to a state-sponsored bank and standing in line for over an hour. More than 15 years later, I returned to…

Domestic Tourism Fuels Industry in Costa Rica Standard

Source: ICT

Ever since the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 gave way to a period of economic crisis and recession in many developed countries, tourism industry analysts in Costa Rica have observed a sharp drop in the amount of money spent by foreign visitors. A couple of years ago, the same analysts noticed an uptick in the amount of money spend by Costa Ricans exploring their own country, and thus a national campaign to promote domestic tourism was born. In 2013, the National Board of Tourism (Spanish initials: ICT) decided to relaunch its “Vamos a Turistear” (let’s take a trip)…

Panama – Costa Rica Border Now Checking Validity of Outgoing Plane Tickets Standard

Fake Plan Tickets Being Used at Costa Rica - Panama Border

The Panamanian / Costa Rican border is in constant flux. The most recent change occurred quietly over the last few weeks. Panamanian border officials are now entering your ticket details into the computer to validate if your flight is a valid outbound flight. Due to perpetual tourism in Costa Rica (a practice where a person without residency lives in Costa Rica by renewing their tourist visa every 90 days by exiting and re-entering the country), the border has seen many fraudulent exit tickets. As of today, the border officials do not have access to passenger lists. They can however, confirm if…

Costa Rica is Getting More and More Expensive. Here’s Why: Standard

Is it more expensive to live in Costa Rica than in Mexico, Peru or Venezuela? A recent report by national TV network Teletica interviewed three well-traveled expats who are certainly not feeling the Pura Vida when it comes to their personal finances, and their stories confirm the ongoing trend of skyrocketing prices in consumer goods and services. A cursory look into the situation reveals that merchants in Costa Rica are pragmatically charging what the market will bear. The cost of living in Costa Rica seems prohibitive to many people, in particular to North American expats on a fixed income and…

Why Are So Many Foreign Companies Leaving Costa Rica? Standard

April 2014 was not a good month for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in Costa Rica. Two big companies, Bank of America and Intel, shut down a major chunk of their operations in the Central Valley and about 2,000 workers received the dreaded pink slips. Earlier in April, Illinois call center CustomerSpeak suddenly sent 500 employees home. This exodus is taking place at the same time President Laura Chinchilla prepares to step down. Is there any relation? Welcome to the new business paradigm show, brought to you by globalization and free trade. Today’s episode is “Free Markets: Easy Come,…

Exit Costa Rica: The Beginning of the End for Intel? Standard

Although Wall Street responded positively to Intel’s recent announcement of its decision to close its chip manufacturing, encapsulation and testing plant in Costa Rica, observers and some analysts who have been following the company’s trailing performance in the highly competitive mobile arena are beginning to wonder if the writing is on the wall for the chip maker. Shares of Intel gained 1.6 percent after investors learned that it would cease its manufacturing operations located in Belen, province of Heredia, not far from the new Hard Rock Cafe. The company’s workforce was thus reduced by 1,500 employees, which represented 1.5 percent…

Three Forthright Ways to Invest in Costa Rica Standard

When it comes to investing in Costa Rica, foreigners are usually at a disadvantage: They are often targeted by dubious investment schemes involving real estate, precious metals, agricultural commodities, wagers, and other high-risk and downright shady proposals. What makes this situation even more deplorable is that those who perpetrate investment scams against expats are often their compatriots. COOPENAE, a powerful credit union with branches across Costa Rica, has been attracting expats over the last few years with frank and plainspoken investment advice and superb customer service. This highly-rated financial institution draws strength on the basis of its roots as the…

Fighting “Hot Money” and Capital Flight in Costa Rica Standard

At the Legislative Assembly this week, a proposal to empower the Central Bank to prevent speculative investments, hot money and capital flight in Costa Rica became law with 32 votes in favor and seven against. Capitales golondrina, as they are known in Costa Rica, are those fleeting and speculative investments made by foreign entities that seek to avoid financial commitments and gain quick profits with little to no tax liabilities. This legislative proposal, which is now known as the Law to Regulate Financial Exchanges, spent a little over a year being discussed and dissected by lawmakers at the Legislative Assembly…

Professional Career Fields Become Saturated in Costa Rica Standard

Biology, journalism and physical therapy are the three least-promising fields of study in Costa Rica. According to a report by daily tabloid La Teja, hundreds of biologists, reporters and physical therapists have given up looking for work in their chosen professional fields and have instead turned to low paying positions in telemarketing, clerical service and general labor. La Teja cited statistics recently compiled by the State of the Nation program at National Institute of Census and Statistics (Spanish acronym: INEC). The three most underemployed careers are: Biology – 11 percent unemployment Journalism – 7 percent unemployment Physical Therapy – 5…

Dangerous Curves: Sexism at ExpoMovil in Costa Rica Standard

ExpoMovil is the most prominent consumer trade show in Costa Rica, and its 2014 iteration was a massive success in terms of attendance and exposure. There were plenty of interesting new cars and road technology to look at, but visitors also had a lot more to focus their gaze on: A high number of curvy and seductive young Ticas hired to wear revealing, skin-tight clothing and prance around the vehicles. The ExpoMovil event basically introduces new vehicle models to the masses in Costa Rica and also allows banks and other lending institutions to tempt visitors into signing off on high-interest…

Tourism Sector in Costa Rica Poised to Grow 5.5% in 2014 Standard

The World Travel and Tourism Travel Council (WTTC), a forum for business leaders in this important global sector, recently released its 2014 economic impact report. Among the highlights of the report, which is presented in a gorgeous interactive Web application featuring an Earth globe that you can manipulate right on your browser, Costa Rica’s already sizable contribution from tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) is poised to grow by more than five percentage points this year. The WTTC Costa Rica Economic Impact Report underlines the economic and social relevance of the Travel and Tourism industry in Costa Rica as well…

Watch the Throne: BYD Battles Hyundai in Costa Rica Standard

Among the highlights of the 2014 ExpoMovil vehicle fair in Costa Rica, hybrid and plug-in electric cars are creating interest on prospective buyers. The Toyota Prius hybrid taxi has gotten lots of attention as well as the BYD Qin, a Chinese hybrid announced by the Costa Rica Star back in December. On the non-hybrid front, luxury vehicles stole a few looks, but lots of attention were also given to BYD compact cars. Since the late 20th century, South Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai has been the undisputed king of the road in Costa Rica. The Hyundai Accent has been a staple…

Costa Rica’s 3rd Annual Craft Beer Festival at Avenida Escazu April 5th Standard

Locally crafted beer will surprise palates at the Costa Rican Craft Brewers Association’s 3rd Annual Craft Beer Festival. -The Festival will take place at Avenida Escazu Saturday, April 5th beginning at 11am and running until 5pm. -There will be more than 32 craft beers available for attendees to sample and enjoy. San Jose, Costa Rica – Craft brews created only in Costa Rica by small producers hailing from all over the country will bring over two thousand people to Avenida Escazu this April 5th for the Costa Rican Craft Brewers Association’s Third Annual Craft Beer Festival. The event, spearheaded by…

Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa Renews its Image Standard

Reinventing a business is like soul-searching. Who are we? What are we about? What are we doing and why? It is a process not every business takes the time to tackle. Yet it is the most urgently talked about business concept over the past five years. Hotel Tropico Latino at beautiful Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica recently engaged in the challenge of reinventing and redefining its business. They’ve come out the other side with a stronger sense of self, a clear direction and a concise message of who they are for their guests and their staff. “It was very…

Learn More About COOPENAE and Investing in Costa Rica Standard

Author’s Note: This article was submitted by Asdrubal Zamora Corrales as a response to Bank Interest Rates for Term Deposits in Costa Rica, published on March 10th, 2014. Mr. Zamora is an executive in charge of debt instruments and other investments at COOPENAE, the most powerful credit union in Costa Rica. Mr. Zamora’s original article has been slightly edited for grammar and style. COOPENAE’s Image and Performance Following the unique and unfortunate events involving COOPEMEX in 2010, COOPENAE’s corporate image has been preserved and remains intact. Immediately after that event, the monthly average portfolio of certificates of deposit decreased slightly…

4th Annual Ruta la Paz Race to Benefit Nonprofit Alliance APEGUA Standard

Flamingo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica: APEGUA (the Alliance for Progress of Education in Guanacaste) will be hosting a 5k/10k race on Saturday, May 3rd along the beautiful Guanacaste coastline. This popular annual event will see some changes in its fourth edition, including a new location (the race route will now span from Flamingo to Playa Potrero) and a new date. This year’s race, which is being organized by the renowned sporting event company Global Sportx Group, is being sponsored by our community partners Sugar Beach Hotel and Blue Water Properties Costa Rica. More than 750 runners from all over Costa Rica…

Paradizio in Guanacaste: Affordable Condos in Costa Rica Standard

Playas del Coco, Costa Rica. March 17, 2014 – The Paradizio condominium developers are excited to announce the debut of their new website and virtual sales office for prospective buyers looking for stylish residential properties in Costa Rica’s Gold Coast. Prospective buyers are invited to review the website and become familiar with everything that Paradizio, Guanacaste and Playas del Coco have to offer. There are just 22 condominium units at Paradizio, and developers have already seen plenty of interest by locals and seasonal residents of Playas del Coco. It is easy to understand why: Over the last two years, this…

Cheap Coffee in Costa Rica: Great Taste at Low Prices Standard

In late 2012, Starbucks proudly introduced to the world its most expensive cup of coffee: $7 for a “grande” (tall cup) of Geisha grown at Finca Palmillera in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Back then, Starbucks sold a half-pound bag of Finca Palmillera Geisha roast for $40. Meanwhile, at supermarket chains such as Pali and Jumbo, shoppers can find popular brands such as Cafe Rey at $2 for half a pound. There are even cheaper retail options, and some of them are surprisingly good despite their incredibly low prices. Vanessa Ho of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offered her take on…

New Financial News Media Outlets in Costa Rica Standard

Two of the biggest global names in financial news media have recently expanded to Costa Rica and the rest of the Central American Isthmus. Bloomberg TV has teamed up with El Financiero of Mexico to launch a multimedia platform that will broadcast in Spanish, and Forbes announced the debut of a print magazine dedicated to Central American financial news. According to an official press release by Bloomberg, their new Spanish language business news service aims to redefine: […] business journalism in Mexico and Central America, it will provide local business and financial news plus comprehensive global market coverage. The content…

Costa Rica Seeks to Join OECD Anti-Corruption Working Group Standard

At a recent meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Costa Rica’s Minister of Justice and Peace presented a formal request to join the working group dedicated to monitoring and analyzing international business transactions for the purpose of guarding against corruption and bribery of public officials, a group that has been operational since 1994. Minister Ana Isabel Garita announced Costa Rica’s intention to become an active member nation under the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. During the 21st century, Costa Rica has attracted significant levels of direct and indirect foreign…

Hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica See Lower Occupancy Rates Standard

Hoteliers in Guanacaste and other tourist hotspots in Costa Rica have been doing brisk business and are enjoying the high season thus far in 2014, but their counterparts in San Jose are not. According to recent surveys conducted by the Costa Rica Chamber of Hotels and the National Board of Tourism (Spanish initials: ICT), hotels in the capital city have seen a 15 percent drop in occupancy compared to last year, and high prices may be to blame. Sergio Arce of online news daily CRHoy.com reports that year-over-year occupancy rates also took a hit across the Central Valley. In January…

Bank Interest Rates for Term Deposits in Costa Rica Standard

UPDATE: please click here for more information about Coopenae in Costa Rica. Thank you to Asdrubal Zamora Corrales for the additional insights and information. Last week, the banking interest rate in Costa Rica dropped to its lowest level since July 2008. The “tasa basica pasiva” is set by the Central Bank of Costa Rica and it is a closely-followed economic indicator similar to the prime rate on Wall Street. The recent drop to 6.45 percent extends the declining trend for interest rates in Costa Rica, which -to the chagrin of term deposit investors- has been taking place since 2003. The…

How Drugs and Virtual Currencies Intersect in Costa Rica Standard

Silk Road. Bitcoin. Liberty Reserve. Ross Ulbricht. Arthur Budovsky. These are the respective names of an alleged online drug marketplace, two virtual currencies and two individuals accused by the United States Justice Department of leading major cybercrime operations. The arrests of these two men were heralded by U.S. prosecutors as significant crackdowns on Internet crime, and it just so happens that both suspects have substantial ties to Costa Rica. The Alleged Silk Road Online Drug Emporium Ulbricht is, according to U.S. federal prosecutors in New York, the main person behind “Silk Road” an online drug bazaar that allegedly operated as…

FATCA Puts Canada and Costa Rica in the IRS Pockets Standard

As Canadian snowbirds and visitors in Costa Rica were following the performance of their compatriot athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, their Finance and National Revenue Ministers announced that an intergovernmental agreement with the United States had been reached on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010. What this means for U.S. taxpayers is that the long arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can now reach them in Canada and Costa Rica. The Winter Olympics were closely followed by many Canadians in Guanacaste, a province that has the potential to become the next Florida in…

Energy at the Heart of Costa Rica – Nicaragua Border Conflict Standard

A petition by Costa Rica before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to determine clear maritime boundaries on the issue of international borders with Nicaragua goes beyond the intentions of President Daniel Ortega to build a transoceanic canal. It is the possibility of oceanic exploration for sources of oil and methane by Nicaragua that has Costa Rica worried. A recent article by Pablo Rojas of online news daily CRHoy.com features the comments and observations of oceanographer Guillermo Quiros, who explained that Nicaragua may seek to claim a great part of the Costa Rica Thermal Convection Dome, which is a rich…

Clear for Takeoff: New Airport in Southern Costa Rica Standard

Over the next few years, the sublime and mysterious stone spheres at the Palmar Sur park indigenous park in Costa Rica will witness the construction of the Brunca Region International Airport, Costa Rica’s latest effort in expanding its lucrative tourism industry. While many residents and landowners rejoiced at the news, others groaned about what they describe as the “Guanacastezation” of the pristine southern zone of Costa Rica. According to Evelyn Fernandez Mora of business weekly El Financiero, the Directorate of Civil Aviation in Costa Rica is currently waiting on a couple of government entities to complete their environmental impact studies…

Inside Costa Rica: Broke, Bitter, and Venting? Standard

The following (below) is a “reader survey” sent out by Inside Costa Rica to their email list recently soliciting feedback from readers. It explains that Inside Costa Rica is not profitable and is considering turning into a paid access news media website, where users subscribe monthly for a fee to access content. That of course makes complete sense to test new monetization methods, but the execution of the “reader survey” never really asked a question until the very end, it just vented in frustration and accused other media websites of bad reporting. Between the Tico Times, AM Costa Rica, and…

TEDx Pura Vida! Happening Today in Costa Rica Standard

The TEDx Pura Vida 2014 event, with 25 local and foreign exhibitors presenting their innovative ideas, will take place today, February 27th, at the Auditorio Nacional del Museo de los Niños. The event will also be available by video streaming at dozens of halls in different parts of the country at schools and businesses, like the TEC in San Carlos and Cartago and the Museo de Guanacaste, among others. Alicia Chong, director of streaming activity, said that only six of the seven provinces will have the feed, with Puntarenas missing, though expected to be added for the start of the…

What Does the Arrest of Chapo Guzman Mean to Guanacaste? Standard

The announcements by Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto as well as by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reverberated around the world: Joaquin Guzman, the fugitive leader of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, was captured by Mexican naval infantry forces over the weekend. Thousands of news media outlets around the world broadcast the news, quite a few mentioned Costa Rica and one even interviewed President Laura Chinchilla on the matter. He was hiding in the gorgeous Pacific coast resort of Mazatlan when he was taken peacefully. His arrest followed a string of operations aimed at the strategic and operational leadership…

New Hotel Development Projects Opening in Guanacaste Standard

Luxury beach resorts, marinas, theme parks, and hotels: This is Guanacaste in the 21st century. It was not too long ago when this region of Costa Rica was known as the “forgotten province.” These days, however, luxury resort developers and assorted capitalists are looking at Guanacaste with hungry eyes. A new $125 million project recently announced that it will open its doors to tourists in November of 2014, and this is hardly the only one doing so this year. According to Cesar Brenes Quiros of financial news weekly El Financiero, the Dreams Las Mareas Resort & Spa Hotel, part of…