Costa Rica Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022


  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays


Costa Rica is a Latin American country with all the resulting cultural consequences – a different perception of time, respect, the importance of the personal dimension in business negotiations, etc. On the other hand, it is a country that is one of the most advanced in its region and where international influences are more felt. Especially in the business sphere, people are instilled with international standards of business conduct.


We recommend making the first contact by phone; only in this way you can verify the correct contact person with certainty. You can also communicate in writing via email. It is advisable to set a very formal tone and use the pronunciation – usted. We address Costa Rican partners using señor/señora or the abbreviation Sr./Sra can be used in written communication. or Don/Doña. Costa Ricans usually have two first names and two surnames – one after the father, the other after the mother. As a rule, only the first surname would be used when addressing in work. A common mistake of Czech speakers is the subconscious use of the very last surname instead of the first.

  • Programingplease: Yearbook 2010 of nation Costa Rica, including population, politics, and abbreviations.

Business meeting

It is advisable to arrange meetings with Costa Rican partners a week in advance by email or by phone. At the same time, it is recommended to confirm the appointment a day in advance or on the same day – by phone, email or via WhatsApp. The first meetings usually take place in the company’s office. The meeting directly at the company allows, among other things, to look under the hood of the company and get a basic idea of ​​whether it would be a suitable partner. Subsequent meetings can also take place in a restaurant or cafe. Payment for shared lunch will be appreciated, but the local partner is likely to insist on payment himself if he is in the position of host. Gifts are nice, but not a must. Handing out business cards is part of business culture. Punctuality has improved significantly in recent years and is valued.

In Costa Rica, formal dress is common for most types of business meetings. Costa Ricans often judge the trustworthiness and financial security of a business partner based on their appearance. A well-fitting suit and attention to detail will be positively acknowledged. Regardless of gender, Costa Ricans are very careful about their appearance (groomed hair, nails, beards for men, make-up for women).


It is better to avoid politics and religion in conversation. Costa Ricans are very proud of their nature, which is an ideal topic for “small talk”. Costa Ricans react quite irritated to any criticism, even if it is constructive. A number of Costa Ricans will claim that they speak English, and for managers in high positions this will probably be true. But if we are not sure of the perfect level of English of our Costa Rican counterparts, it is certainly always better to choose Spanish as the language of communication even at the cost of needing an interpreter. Visit Calculatorinc for more information about Costa Rica culture and traditions.

Initial contact is best via e-mail. Managers of small and medium-sized companies may surprise you that they use gmail or hotmail for work purposes. In further communication, you can also use telephone contact, but by far the most accessible are Costa Ricans on the WhatsApp application. At the same time, they use voice messages in this application a lot. As part of email communication, Costa Ricans may not always be masters of quick response, but a short friendly message on WhatsApp will help to remind.


  1. Costa Ricans are very friendly and warm.
  2. Quite common use of WhatsApp in business communication.
  3. Introductory polite “small talk”. At the first meeting, there is no need to discuss the business itself at all.
  4. Hierarchy – the level of acceptance is strictly adhered to. The occasional display of social superiority towards the service staff can startle the
  5. The absolutely essential importance of personal ties (e.g. family, joint studies, etc.) when conducting business in Costa Rica.
  6. The seeming smoothness of business – Costa Ricans are not very good at saying no and at the same time tend to overestimate their options and underestimate potential risks. This often gives the Czech businessman a false impression of interest from the Costa Rican side. The above-mentioned combination of characteristics often leads to the fact that in a seemingly problem-free business, initially unexpected complications may begin to appear during the first meeting.

Public Holidays

January 1 – New Year

March–April – Easter holidays (Thursday–Friday)

April 11 – Día de Juan Santamaria

May 1 – Labor Day

July 25 – Anexion de Partido de Nicoya

August 2 – Día de la Virgen de los Angeles

August 15 – Mother’s Day

September 15 – Independence Day (1821)

October 12 – Día de las Culturas

November 1 – All Saints’ Day

December 25 – God’s Day

Costa Rica Culture of Business