Many people often ask me what kind of business opportunities are available in Costa Rica. If you have any sort of entrepreneurial spirit you will find countless opportunities in this country, but first it is important you fully understand the culture and economy a bit better.

One of the ways I describe Costa Rica is that in many ways it follows USA trends, but it’s just 5-10 years behind. Perhaps one of the most notable trends to note are the consumer habits of Costa Ricans.

Like Americans, Ticos spend money. They go out to eat, they go shopping, they save little and often spend their paychecks as soon as they get them.

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Much like the USA, shopping is quickly becoming a national pastime in Costa Rica. Go to any mall in San Jose on the weekend and you can better understand and see exactly what I’m referring to. Observing this more is a great place to start to learn where you can start a business.

Another important pattern we have seen develop is the increase in travel. It might seem like it was quite a while ago, but when I was growing up our family took a vacation once a year. Dining at restaurants was really set for special occasions like birthdays or celebrations, and a trip to McDonalds was at best once a month.

We all know those days are long gone. Now most Americans go out to eat many times each week, escape for a weekend getaway once a month, and some manage to take an extended vacation every few months.

In the past few years we have seen the exact same trend in Costa Rica. Although Costa Rica is famous for it’s beautiful beaches many Costa Ricans in the Central Valley only visit them once a year.

A lot of Ticos have not even fully explored their own country let alone traveled outside Costa Rica. Much of that has been changing because of improved roads and access.

In places like Jaco Beach, we are now starting to see people from San Jose come here 1-2 times a month and explore parts of the country more. Hotels, gas stations, restaurants all benefit from increased travel and again offer more opportunities to start new businesses.

Finding the right business opportunity takes time and effort and understanding consumer trends is a big step in beginning that process.

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