Archives for September 2016

Employer, Employee and Intermediary in Costa Rica. How Does the Labor Law in Costa Rica Really Define Who They Are and What They Do?

trabajadorCosta Rica is known as a relaxed and laid back country, no wonder our motto is Pura Vida, which literally means Pure Life, which could be summed up in a take it easy and chill. This motto is intrinsically woven in every Tico you meet along the way. Sadly, doing business in Costa Rica is not Pura Vida. As matter of fact, it is totally the opposite, but the Ticos still face it with a Pura Vida attitude, most of the time.

Doing business could be complicated, as well as keeping up with the labor law. Why? Well, number one, the labor code (Ley N°2) is written in Spanish and there is no English version of it. Number two, there are a lot of practices in the business world that are not according to the law, but is what everyone does (or most people do) so, it kind of becomes common practice and could eventually get your business in trouble.

Our goal at Today In Costa Rica, is to explain out to you the most important articles of the Costa Rican Labor Code. Also, we want to let you know how to apply them, and what the correct practices are, despite of what most people will tell you out there on the street (sometimes even your lawyers will get this one wrong!).

We want to start off by explaining who, in Costa Rica, is considered and employer, an employee and an intermediary. Our goal is that by fully understanding what those are, you will be off to a good start when setting up your Costa Rican business, or hiring someone to work at your vacation home.

The first term defined in the Costa Rican Labor Code is Employer (Patrono in Spanish). According to the Costa Rican legislation, an employer could be an individual, or a corporation – legal entity, it could also be a private or a public entity, who employs the services of a single person or a group of people, under a labor contract, which, in turn could be, expressed or implicit, verbal or written, individual or collective. By the way, yes, there could be a labor relationship even if a written contract has never been signed between the parties, but we will give you another article on this later.

It is also important to make sure that any company director, managers, administrators, boat captains, or anyone who has director or managing authority on behalf of an employer, is considered an employer’s representative. So, any wrongdoing by any of this individuals against any employee could get the employer liable to the Costa Rican law.

Then, the Labor Code defines what an Intermediary is, and you better pay attention to this one. And Intermediary is a person who contracts the services of an individual or a group of people to perform a job benefiting an employer. It is important to understand that, in this type of relationship, both the employer and the intermediary are equally responsibly, under the solidarity principle, to the employee and to the Costa Rican legislation. But, how does this work?

For example, you are going to build a house. You hire an individual builder, who will then hire a team to work at your house. The builder you hire is responsible to guarantee that all labor rights are given to the employee (we will talk later about this). However, if the builder, which in this case is the Intermediary, fails to comply with the labor code, you, as the owner of the house could be legally responsible to those employees. The same applies in a business, in case you have another entity staffing your business. That is why it is so important to make sure your intermediaries are complying with the labor law and that are giving their employees all the rights commanded by law.

The last term we will look at in this article is the employee. Article 4 of the Labor Code says that an employee is any individual (not a corporation, so no, you cannot hire a corporation as an employee) who renders its material or intellectual services, or both, on behalf of another person, under a labor contract, which could be express or implicit, written or verbal, individual or collective. It is important to note that collectors, commercial agents, salesmen, and anyone who only receives a commission as payment, used to be under this definition of employee. However, in 1990, under vote 1336-1990, the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica declared that last part to be unconstitutional.

In summary, in Costa Rica, an employer is anyone (individual or legal entity) who hires and individual (employee) to work for a salary. An intermediary is anyone who staff a business or hires individuals to work for another employer.

In the next article on this series, we will take a closer look at issues regarding language, negotiations between employee and employer, and the employee right to seek for advice with the Costa Rican labor authorities.

For a copy of the Costa Rican Labor Code in Spanish, Click Here

Costa Rica Is Moving Forward in the Production of Energy from Clean Resources

Geothermal EnergyMost of the Costa Rican energy comes from hydroelectric plants throughout the country. Only about 3% of the energy produced per year in Costa Rica does not come from clean and renewable resources. Geothermal energy is the second largest type of energy produced in Costa Rica. However, the production of this type of energy is only 12,84%.

In fact, Costa Rica has the capacity to produce 875 MW per year of geothermal energy. However, to date, it is only producing 195 MW – 22% of what it is capable. ICE (Costa Rican Electrical Institute) is expecting this situation to change by year 2024. ICE is expecting to be fully operating 3 more geothermal plants by that year. All of them located in the Guanacaste, Costa Rica. These projects are Borinquen I, Borinquen II and Pailas II. As a matter of fact, this last project started its construction in 2013 and should be in full operation in 2019.

There are some advantages when it comes to geothermal energy. First, there is still a lot of room to grow in this type of energy production in Costa Rica. Second, the generation of geothermal energy is not affected by climatic conditions in the surrounding areas, which becomes a concern with energy produced by water or wind power.

On the negative side, most of the locations where geothermal energy can be produced are located inside Costa Rican national parks, so ICE cannot exploit those areas. There is a new law being discussed at the Legislative Assembly in Costa Rica, but it has been stuck for 2 years and there is no certainty on when it will be approved.

ICE is expecting to be able to cover 20% of the electrical energy needs in Costa Rica with geothermal energy by year 2035.

Together, these three projects will provide the country with an additional 165 MW of clean energy to the country. As we mentioned before, Pailas II will be the first of the three projects to start operating in 2019 and it will provide energy for over 130.000 homes.

As for the other 2 projects, ICE is expecting to be fully operating, one in 2023 and the other in 2024, and provide energy to about 200.000 homes. The total investment for all three projects is going to be about $1.011 million USD; $337 million USD per project.

Of Course, ICE is going to need financing to complete these projects. That’s why the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), ICE and the Treasury Ministry are planning to sign a credit agreement in February of 2017 for an amount of $558 million, with a term of 40 years, and an interest rate of 0,6%. The loan will be divided as follows: $234 million for Borinquen I, $157 million for Borinquen II, and $167 million for Pailas II. The other funds to finance the project will come from ICE’s own resources, the European Investment Bank and the Inter-american Development Bank (BID).

ICE is expecting to have a geothermal energy production capacity of 690 MW per year, once all three plants are fully operating. However, this production capacity will depend on the institution’s capacity of exploiting geothermal energy out of the National Parks.

According to ICE, geothermal energy is the second most affordable energy produced in the country. It also reduces the CO2 emissions in the country. That is another reason why it is important to exploit all the available resources for this type of energy, to help Costa Rica become even more green!

Costa Rica, An Independent Nation Since 1821!

20160915_095936September 15th is the day Costa Rica celebrates its independence! Costa Rica has no army since 1948, and it has been said our army are our students and their training camps are the classrooms. September 15th is the day those armies go out on the street to march for their countries freedom! But it looks a bit different than what marching armies might look like in other places.

Do you want to know how that looks? Well, images tell it better than words sometimes… So, sit back, relax and enjoy the Costa Rican Independence parade!



Elementary Schools marching through the main streets in Liberia


Hundreds of Costa Rican flags were seen out in the parade!


Little school girls accompanying their school band.









This little ones give it all to represent their school properly!


The national colors, white, red and blue were everywhere!









Girls wearing the traditional Costa Rican dresses, very colorful by the way!


Don’t think it’s easy to get those skirts to move like that!









Did we mention Costa Rican flags were everywhere?



Pretty much every band has a different and colorful uniform for this special event.


Flags, flags, and more flags!









Highschool kids also have their participation in the national party!


These guys made it all the way from Panama to Guanacaste to celebrate with the Ticos!









We can guarantee you will not grow tired of the marching bands!


We told you there were enough flags, but we forgot to tell you these guys are normally the best students from each school!










Some bands take it to the next level!



This young ladies do a fun job with those flags.


We promise it, every band is different!









Instituto de Guanacaste, historically, one of the best bands in the country!


Sax! A nice and fun addition to any band.









Alumni! This celebration of peace and freedom is for everyone!


24/7 Medical Clinic in Playas del Coco to Make Your Vacation Safer

clinicWhen you think about vacationing in Costa Rica, most likely you are not thinking about medical issues and doctors. However, you might be one of those people who like to have everything well planned for and all details covered. May be you have a medical condition that requires for you to have a physician at hand. Those may be important details that are keeping you away from taking that dreamed vacation in Costa Rica.

Well, now that should not be a problem in planning your next trip to paradise. If you decide to come to Playas del Coco, we have a solution for you! Dr. Alejandra Mendez Rodriguez and her medical assitant and partner José Conejo have a Medical Assitance Clinic open 24/7 in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste.

They do speak English and Spanish, so language will not be a problem if you need their help and assistance. Among the services offered, you can have access to general medical services, as well as surgery services. The clinic has all the basic equipment necessary for an emergency. They also have access to the defibrillator located at the nearby JOCIMES Secury office in North Coco.

In case you have a medical condition, which needs to be taken care while on vacation, it will be a good idea to meet with the Dr. upon your arrival. Bring her a summary of your medications, medical conditions and issues, location of where you are staying and your phone number if you have a Costa Rican temporary cell phone or are carrying your U.S. cell phone.   It is also prudent for part time foreign residents with medical problems to do the same thing.  If residents have elderly friends or family visiting, check with them regarding any medical conditions or medications they are on.  If they will be spending any time in Playas del Coco area it would be a good idea to have them meet with the doctor.  She can also check ahead of time to see if our local pharmacies have their medication in case they run out or lose/damage their medications while traveling.mapclinic

As part of their community involvement, Dr. Mendez and her partner are hoping to participate in local programs like Cardio Safe Community Project, assiting Dr. Hanzel Larios with CPR classes, and reaching out to the community to encourage public service providers like police officers to take those classes.

The clinic is located in North Playas del Coco, Las Palmas, directly behing the Pueblito restaurant center, where
Dolce Vita Restaurant is located; take the anchor boulevard to the first road to the right (50 meters).

You can also contact them by phone: (506) 8808-8111 for Dr. Mendez and 8382-1815 for José Conejo, or by email: and

If you are a full time resident in the Coco area, drop by their office to see where they are located and meet them!   They welcome visitors and are happy to setup initial consultation meetings. They will make house calls on an “on need basis” or medical emergency.


Costa Rica´s Peninsula Papagayo Project, Including the Four Seasons Resort, Acquired by Gencom Affiliate

Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica is one of the best tourist destination in Latin America, no doubt about it. As announced last month by Business Wire (, Gencom Affiliate has acquired the 1,400-acre luxury master development in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The amount of the transaction was no disclosed.

Besides the award winning Four Seasons Papagayo, the Peninsula Papagayo project includes an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and club house, the 180-slip Marina Papagayo, and the Prieta Beach Club, all of them known for the luxury services they offered. Also, providing jobs to over 700 employees. Business Wire also indicates that the Four Seasons Papagayo has been ranked as the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Resort in Latin America.

One of the goals through this acquisition is to renovate the project. Gencom is partnering with a local developer, Sinergo Development Group, for the initial renovation, including the Four Seasons Resort, and also the development of future phases. Alongside these two corporations, Costa Rican firm Zurcher Arquitectos and US firm Meyer Davis will also be working on the project for renovation and interior design.

The original ownership of the Papagayo Peninsula project, had started a local nonprofit organization, Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together). This nonprofit was showing support to the surrounding communities by helping out local high and elementary schools with educational initiatives and preventive healthcare campaigns. Gencom is planning to invest and continue working on these projects and supporting the nonprofit organization, which is great news to those who were benefiting from the program.

Also, it is expected that the renovation of the project and the construction and development of new phases, will create jobs in Guanacaste, will increase the amount of tourist visiting the area, and will develop luxury residential real estate projects within the Peninsula.

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