Costa Rica – Go Green!
Most people will associate Costa Rica with the production of coffee. Interestingly, while it has played a key role in the country’s history and economy, it is tourism which earns more foreign exchange than the combined major exports of coffee, bananas and pineapples.
Costa Rica means “rich coast” in Spanish, and is located in Central America. The country was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before it came under Spanish rule in the 16th century. Since attaining independence in the 19th century, Costa Rica has become one of the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. It has consistently been among the top-ranking Latin American countries in the Human Development Index.
With a population of just over 4.8 million, Costa Rica is unusual for having permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of a few sovereign nations without a standing army. Costa Rica is also known for its progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica in 2009 as the greenest country in the world.
Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (males) or Ticas (females). The business culture is formal and it is important to remember that distinctions of class do not exist, perhaps because the middlle class is the largest segment of society. However, appearances matter and visitors are judged on where they stay and how they dress.
Although many people speak English, not all do. If you are not fluent in Spanish, you might want to hire an interpreter for sensitive negotiations to avoid any cross cultural misunderstandings. Negotiations and decisions take a long time and patience is an advantage.
Share your Costa Rican business experiences.
Sources: Wikipedia, Kwintessential, costarica.com