Costa Rica Development and Services
Most foreigners don't have such an obtuse view about the development of this country, but they do have intelligent doubts and questions about it. Costa Rican TV includes only thirteen local stations, but channels from around the world can be gotten through cable TV (Cable-Color, Cable-Tica) and Direct TV People that are used to watching ESPN, HGTV, Hallmark, HBO and other common U.S. channels, won't have to go without them.

As far as publications go, Costa Rica has several local newspapers such as "La Nacion", "La Republica", "La Prensa Libre", etc. The "Tico Times" is an English language newspaper about Costa Rica, while "Costa Rica Aktuell" caters to the German speakers. International newspapers and magazines can be bought in big cities or in hotels.

Costa Rica Development and Services
The mail service in the country is moderately good. Letters take about five days to a week to get here from the U.S. and about ten to fifteen days from Europe. Receiving or sending packages can be both complicated and expensive, so it's not very advisable. Last but not least, safety is an issue. People shouldn't enclose valuables in letters, since theft isn't unheard of. Costa Rica has one of the highest numbers of phone lines per capita in Central America and even in Latin America. Even if you can't phone from the hotel there are numerous public phones in most places.

People can get a cellular phone line in a maximum of two days at the ICE (C.R. Phone Company) but they must also buy the apparatus itself. Tourists can also use fax machines which are present in most hotels or in RACSA in downtown or at a post-office. Internet and E-mail have become essential tools for Costa Ricans. If you're coming for a longer stay and have a computer, you can apply to RACSA which is the only authorized commercial provider of internet services. Therefore, one might conclude that besides having buses and telephones, Costa Rica also offers the main communication means that all countries now possess. These services might be more limited than in other places, but they do exist.

Costa Rica is blessed with a background of social, economic and political stability. It has the second best social indicators in all of Latin America: 76 years life expectancy for males; 95% literacy rate and a 1.3% infant mortality rate. This country's economy is characterized by a controlled inflation and low unemployment rates.

Costa Rica Development and Services
The trade liberalization process began in 1985, when customs tariffs decreased to 11% and a 0% on raw materials and 1% on capital goods. Other tariff barriers were completely eliminated as well. Because of these tariff concessions and other favorable elements, direct foreign investment (DFI) has increased during these years. From 1990 to 1997, the DFI increased 200%. If this index is considered from the point of view of per capita, Costa Rica is in second place in all of Latin America.

Even though the investment situation in Costa Rica is favorable, recent governments have always made it their priority to expand business opportunities in the country. Legally speaking, the Concessions Law that was recently passed ensures legal security as well as administrative efficiency. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is also undergoing a significant renovation and modernization that will meet the air cargo needs of investors. Telecommunications, which are essential for conducting today's business, are also under close scrutiny, in order to offer an acceptable service to investors.

Costa Rica Development and Services
Another reason why high-tech companies have chosen Costa Rica as a site for their company is because of the Free Zone Laws that offer tax holidays (12-18 years) and incentives of reinvestment, by extending the tax-free period from 16 to 20 years. These companies have also chosen Costa Rica, because most of its labor force is highly educated, has some knowledge of English and is easily trainable. Some of the companies that have come to Costa Rica to take advantage of these benefits are: INTEL, ACER AMERICA, DCS Communications (ALCATEL), BAXTER Healthcare, Panasonic, LUCENT Technologies, Conair, Siemens, Hitachi, and many, many more.

High-tech business is taking over traditional industries, such as the agricultural one, even in countries like Costa Rica. Unlike some of its neighbors, Costa Rica has a developed country's benefits, including a highly educated labor force, important economic concessions and agreements, and the needed infrastructure to serve national and international investors.

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