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Costa Rica

By: Jaime Cummings
San Jose
Language of Costa Rica:

Catholic ( more than 76% of
o La Paz Waterfalls Gardens
 Series of 5 Waterfalls
 Has Hiking Trails
 Worlds Largest Butterfly
o Was the capital of
Costa Rica until 1823
o Explore pre-Columbian
o Located near foothills of
the Irazu Volcano
The Local Cuisine:
Tres Leches Cake
Stereotypes by Americans:
 Costa Rica is a Surfer Land.
 It is not just a come do what you like country. There are laws for drugs and behaviors that are strictly upheld

 Tomorrow, Tomorrow
o They take life easy, and reduce stress factors. But they only look at it that way if you are a local, they don’t want
others to be like that.
 •Dogs have the ability to see demons and evil spirits and bark to drive them away.
Rubbing one’s eye with the dog’s tears in an attempt to acquire its power is considered
dangerous since it might lead to insanity.
 •Costa Ricans believe that each saint has its own expertise. For example, they pray to St.
Anthony if they misplaced or lost something.
Hand Gestures:
It’s so crowded This means “cheap” or “stingy”
Business Culture: (Etiquette & Body Language)
 Handshaking the common greeting for men and women in business, it is seen as a way of
expressing partnership.
 They aren’t big on a friendly embrace as other neighboring Countries are
 Women may sometimes pat each other on the shoulder or right forearm instead of
shaking hands. Close female friends may kiss each other on the cheeks, most women
usually touch cheeks while kissing the air.
 Strong direct eye contact is favored among business associates

Business Culture (Relationship Building)
 Costa Ricans are most comfortable doing business with people they have strong personal
relationships with, they are usually friends and family. Costa Rican’s will want to establish a
relationship with you before they agree to a business deal.
 Meetings and negotiations usually open with a period of small talk.
 It's not unusual for investors to be invited to business dinners and parties where very little
business is discussed. This is how they get to know you outside of a business context, and is
very important in the decision-making process.

Business Culture ( Communication Styles)
 Group harmony is important to Costa Ricans.
 Costa Ricans don’t respond well to pushy sales tactics—they are seen as overly
 When interacting with Costa Ricans, it's important not to get to the point too quickly. It's
considered rude not to ask about the person's family and well-being first. Even the most
perfunctory exchanges should be preceded by a round of small talk—this indicates you
care about the person you're speaking to, not just the business transaction.(GRW)
Business Culture (Power structures in Decision
 Most corporate hierarchies are egalitarian. Executives include all people from their
corporation, from the top all the way to the bottom.
 It's important to consider a proposal from the point of view of a wide variety of
perspectives within Costa Rican companies—and to be aware in presentations that all
those present may have a say in decisions.
Business Culture Differences:
 It seems like Costa Rica and the US are similar in business etiquette. We both use firm hand
shakes, direct eye contact, and also don’t favor hugs or embraces when meeting an
 On the other hand, Costa Rican women kiss each other on the cheeks when greeting,
where as in the United States, our women use the handshake just like men do.
Business Culture Differences:
 They like to go about business at a much slower rate, they don’t like pushiness and take
their time making their decisions.
 In the US ,a lot of companies are very pushy and seem to close deals because of this
tactic that would otherwise scare Costa Rican's away.
 Our corporate men and women have small groups of people they rely on to make
important decisions for them, where Costa Ricans go throughout the company and get
the opinions of the top to the bottom of the ladder.
Business Culture Differences:
 Decision-making in Costa Rica can often seem to progress very slowly compared to our
standards. It's crucial not to display impatience—this will lower your credibility in the eyes
of Costa Rican’s.
 In the US however, most places of business seem to want things to go as fast as possible
with as little personalization as possible. We are more private and keep business separate.
Costa Rican's like to get to know you on a personal level and make things more intimate.
Internet Penetration Rate:
 Facebook is the top social networking site
 Costa Rica is served by a relatively modern telecom infrastructure and has the second
highest Internet penetration for South America.
 2,000,000 Internet users as of June, 2012;
 43.1% of the population
 With a score of 21 on masculinity it is considered the most feminine society in Latin
America and few countries in the world score more feminine. Ticos are afraid of any kind
of personal criticism. There is a very high acceptance for women in business. Suffrage for
women was introduced in 1948 and half of the country’s university students are female.
Costa Rica wants to become the first carbon neutral country in the world by 2021.
Power Distance
 With a score of 35, Costa Rica scores the lowest on this dimension in the region. A lot of the
countries close to Costa Rica are military ruled, but in 1948, their army was abolished. Their
president even received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his effort to end civil wars in
Central America. They are focused on equality and they try to not separate white and
blue collar workers.
Uncertainty Avoidance
 At 86, Costa Rica scores high on uncertainty avoidance. A strong need for structure and
rules is important, even if it’s not always working or followed. Bureaucracy is very time
consuming in Costa Rica, documentation, and written instructions are important. Costa
Ricans are rather conservative, they do not always embrace strange and different ideas.
 Costa Rica, with a score of 15 is like all the other Latin American countries, a collectivistic
society. In collectivistic countries, trust, loyalty, personal relations and networking is
essential. Family, and especially mothers, is very sacred in Costa Rica. To get straight to the
point is regarded as rude. Helping somebody out of a difficult situation will never be
forgotten. As relationships matter very much, a lot of time is spent on building up trust.
United States
 62
 driven by competition, achievement and
 a “can-do” mentality which creates a lot
of dynamism in the society

Costa Rica
 21
 society are caring for others and quality
of life
 are very afraid of any kind of personal
 a very high acceptance for women in

Power Distance
United States
 40
 The fact that everybody is unique implies
that we are all unequal
Costa Rica
 35
 The scores between these two are fairly

Uncertainty Avoidance
United States
 46
 There is a fair degree of acceptance for
new ideas
 Americans tend to be more tolerant of
ideas or opinions from anyone and allow
the freedom of expression
 Do not require a lot of rules and are less
emotionally expressive
Costa Rica
 86
 A strong emotional need for structure and
rules is important
 Are rather conservative

Unites States
 91
 Equal rights in all aspects of American
society and government.
 Accustomed to doing business or
interacting with people they don’t know
 Are not shy about approaching their
prospective counterparts in order to obtain
or seek information
 That people look after themselves and their
immediate families only and should not rely
(too much) on authorities for support.
Costa Rica
 15
 Trust, loyalty, personal relations and
networking is essential
 Family is very sacred
 A lot of time is spent on building up trust
Costa Rica’s Current Events:
 Costa Rica Repudiates ISIS and Stands With France.
 Costa Rica’s Coast Guard seized 1.5 tons of marijuana that was thrown into the Carribean
Sea by smugglers
 Costa Rica Marijuana Seizure." Associated Press, 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014.
 Lopez, Jaime. "Costa Rica Repudiates ISIS and Stands With France." N.p., 30 Sept. 2014.
Web. 2 Oct. 2014.
 The Global Road Warrior. Costa Rica: Country Snapshot. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from
 "THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE." Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2014.