Nearshoring in Costa Rica: What are the Benefits?

The small Central American country of Costa Rica has transformed itself from simply a tourist hotspot to a foreign investment destination. It’s no wonder Nearshoring in Costa Rica is on the rise.

In 2022, Costa Rica topped the Investment Monitor´s Inward FDI Performance ranking, ahead of Croatia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE.)

This growing wave of FDI helped generate 22,000 new jobs in Costa Rica across the tourism, life sciences, and manufacturing sectors.

The government’s focus on learning and development has fueled this growth with 7.4 percent of the country’s GDP spent on the education industry. 

Costa Rica´s rapidly growing talent pool is now rated amongst Latin America’s finest in the tech industry, making it an attractive location for nearshoring. 

This article will outline the numerous advantages of nearshoring in Costa Rica, particularly for the IT and tech industries. 

We will also look at what questions you need to consider before nearshoring in Costa Rica, for example, what back office services in Costa Rica you may require. 

"advantages of nearshoring in costa rica" infographic by Biz Latin Hub for an article on "nearshoring costa rica".
When looking to start your journey of nearshoring in Costa Rica, there are an array of benefits. The graphic above highlights the top advantages of nearshoring in Costa Rica.

The benefits of nearshoring in Costa Rica

Exploring nearshoring in Costa Rica can offer numerous advantages to your company. Below are five exceptional benefits of nearshoring to consider.

  • Excellent return on investment
  • Skilled IT workforce
  • Education
  • Time-zone alignment 
  • Low labor costs

Let’s look at each of these Costa Rican nearshoring benefits in more detail. 

1 – Excellent return on investment

Nearshoring to Costa Rica offers a profitable return on investment thanks to substantial labor cost savings, the availability of a vast pool of skilled technology professionals, and increased efficiency arising from the timezone overlap.

Costa Rica also offers a wide variety of industrial parks and office centers with special tax exemptions and benefits for foreign companies. 

2- Skilled tech workforce

Costa Rica has a pool of over 22,000 highly skilled software developers. It is the number one IT per capita exporter in Latin America, making it the ideal location for nearshoring. 

Several global software companies, such as Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, have established their presence in the country.

Costa Rica also recently ranked fifth in the world on the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Score. 

3 – Education focused

The country has a literacy rate of 98 percent thanks to its free and mandatory primary and secondary education. Its universities are well-financed, and professors from various parts of the globe share their knowledge there.

Each year, over 4000 people graduate from the country’s different university’s engineering programs. 

4 – Time zone alignment

Workers in Costa Rica operate in similar or the same timezone as their counterparts in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. 

From mid-March to October, it is in the same timezone as Mountain Standard Time (MST) in the United States. From November to mid-March, the local time is the equivalent of Central Standard Time (CST.)

This timezone alignment with North America allows for the possibility of achieving up to eight hours of simultaneous work. This facilitates smooth team collaboration and eradicates any project completion delays.

5 – Low labor costs

Nearshoring in Costa Rica can help your businesses lower costs and save time, resulting in improved profit margins.

Developing and training an in-house team can be costly and time-intensive, particularly in countries where labor and operational expenses are high.

For example, an entry-level software developer in the US can expect to receive a salary of about USD 80,000 per year, while a Costa Rican software developer doing the same job can expect to make around $20,400,000 Colon per year (roughly USD 39,000). That is a saving in an annual salary of over 50 percent. 

Nearshoring in Costa Rica also offers a lower living cost compared to major cities in the United States, Canada, or Europe. 

Is Nearshoring in Costa Rica the right fit for your business?

Before you commit to nearshoring in Costa Rica, it’s crucial to take into account various factors and ask yourself these important questions: 

Is it challenging to find local talent? 

If finding employees in your current location is expensive or challenging, nearshoring in Costa Rica may be cost-effective. Working with a local partner can also save time and effort in recruitment.

Do you have the ability to manage large projects remotely? 

Nearshoring heavily relies on digital connectivity, which could necessitate a cultural change within your company if you are accustomed to relying on face-to-face communication.

What is your company’s key nearshoring goal? 

Are you intending to recruit permanent staff in Costa Rica or require technical expertise for specific projects? Your choice will have implications for complying with local employment regulations. For instance, would you require the services of local lawyers or accountants?  

Is Costa Rica the right talent market for your business? 

While Costa Rica is becoming a popular nearshoring destination due to its large pool of software developers and engineers, other Latin American countries also offer attractive options with growing tech talent pools and potential cost savings.

"employment law in Costa Rica" infographic by Biz Latin Hub for an article on "nearshoring costa rica".
It is important to understand the local employment law when exploring nearshoring in Costa Rica opportunities. Staying up-to-date with current laws ensures that your business remains compliant.

Frequently asked questions when attracting and hiring talent in Costa Rica

Based on our experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients when looking to hire in the local market.

1. Why hire talent in Costa Rica?

Hiring talent in Costa Rica is a good choice for businesses looking to expand and/or grow their business within Latin America and/or to hire talent to support external clients. Costa Rica places a strong emphasis on education and possesses over 60+ higher education institutions, with several ranking highly globally. The country has strong professionals related to engineers, IT, technology, medical and tourism.

2. Can I hire top tech talent in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is a prime destination for top-tier tech talent. Boasting more than 2,400 IT graduates each year, it stands as an innovation hub in LATAM. Renowned as the region’s top tech leader, it shines in nearshoring for software, data analytics, cloud, and cybersecurity. The tech workforce’s 7.6% annual growth highlights its dynamism, and its 2nd rank in programming skills in Latin America and 27th globally further underscores its prowess. With Costa Rica, you gain access to a skilled pool of professionals for impactful tech ventures.

3. What is the level of English for professionals in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica secures a position in the moderately proficient English band, solidifying its status as the top English-speaking nation in Central America. Among Latin American countries, it stands as the second most proficient in English, trailing closely behind Argentina.

4. How many software developers are there in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica boasts a proficient and expertly trained workforce, notably in the technology sector, counting over 45,000 software developers as of 2022. Additionally, the nation’s digital tech labor force is on a remarkable growth trajectory, expanding at an impressive annual rate of 7.6%.

Biz Latin Hub can support you with nearshoring in Costa Rica

At Biz Latin Hub, we offer a comprehensive range of market entry and back-office solutions in Costa Rica, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 

Our expertise encompasses nearshoring in Costa Rica, hiring and PEO, accounting and taxation, company incorporation, and corporate legal advice.

With offices in major cities across the region and partnerships established in numerous other markets, we possess a vast network of resources, ideally positioned to support cross-border operations and market entry across multiple countries.

Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you achieve your business goals in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A BLH infogrpahic showing key services offered by the company
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
David Wright

David Wright

David spent 22 years working for the British Diplomatic Service serving in various Latin American countries. He served twice in Colombia including acting as an advisor on regional security matters to the President of Colombia. Currently, he acts as a consultant for companies and governments on risk management, security and technology.

David is also involved in mining related companies, both in Executive and Non-Executive roles. Together with Craig Dempsey he set up Biz Latin Hub and now acts as its Non-Executive Chairman. David holds a Bachelors Degree in Astrophysics from Birmingham University and also studied at Brown University.

Receive the latest news and advice about expanding your business globally
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest business news and advice about entity formation, legal entity compliance, accounting, back office and fiscal requirements. Receive the latest news and advice about expanding your business globally.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.