Why Costa Rica for Your Next Meeting or Event?
With its reputation as an eco-friendly paradise, Costa Rica offers a naturally beautiful backdrop for meetings and incentives. The country’s offerings of modern and unique event spaces, including the stunning new Centro de Convenciones de Costa Rica in the capital of San Jose, complement its lush rainforest, stunning beaches and alluring wildlife.
Only in Costa Rica
This Central American country makes good on its decidedly green promises, with 95 percent of all the energy it consumes coming from renewable sources. The government’s goal, in fact, is for the entire nation to be carbon-neutral by 2021. Costa Rica also happens to be home to the happiest people in the world, according to survey results from the Happy Planet Index.
The country's legendary dedication to protecting the environment was on full display when the United Nations Environment Program presented the Central American nation with a 2019 Champions of the Earth award. The honor recognizes Costa Rica’s extensive conservation efforts, including government policies designed to minimize climate change. In February 2019, Costa Rica made news by announcing a plan to “decarbonize” its economy by 2050, following the guidelines of the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Forest cover now graces more than 50 percent of the nation, thanks to a major effort to restore natural settings that had suffered from deforestation. The nation’s reputation as an eco-friendly meeting destination was highlighted in October 2019, when the World Meetings Forum staged its Summit Costa Rica Sustainable Edition at the Costa Rica Convention Center.
There’s a new way for planners to get attendees involved in Costa Rica’s renowned sustainability efforts. In October, the Costa Rica Tourism Board launched a campaign promoting responsible wildlife photography — specifically, selfies. Appropriately dubbed the #StopAnimalSelfie campaign, the initiative aims to educate visitors and locals about how to respect wildlife and minimize the negative effects of using wild animals for selfies and other photo opportunities. Rather than posing with wildlife in manipulated settings that may be uncomfortable for the animals, the campaign encourages travelers to post selfies and other photos with a stuffed animal and caption it “I don’t mistreat animals to take a selfie,” accompanied by the campaign’s official hashtag. The campaign is a joint effort between the Costa Rica Tourism Institute and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy. Planners looking to engage attendees can share information before, during and after events, encouraging them to follow the campaign’s recommendations to show their own environmental consciousness in a proactive way.
Taxes: 13 percent sales tax; 10 percent service tax; total tax on hotel rooms, 23 percent
Total number of hotel rooms: San José, 7,426 rooms; Guanacaste province, 5,850 rooms
Convention Centers: In San Jose, Centro de Convenciones de Costa Rica; exhibit space, 15,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 12; In Guanacaste, Centro de Convenciones Coopeguanacaste, located in Guanacaste province on the Pacific Coast; exhibit space, 18,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 1
CVB: Costa Rica Convention Bureau, 011-506-2221-3753; 011-506-2256-4216
Local Currency: Costa Rican colón (1 colón is equal to US$.0016)
Power: 110 volt (same as United States)
Time zone: Central Standard Time
Transportation in & Around the Area
Air service into Costa Rica continues to expand. In November, American Airlines launched daily nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to San José’s Juan Santamaria International Airport, adding 58,400 seats annually into Costa Rica’s capital. In addition, in December American plans to inaugurate weekly nonstop flights from JFK to Liberia, bringing 8,320 new seats into the Guanacaste region, a destination known for its large, group-friendly resorts. Liberia also plans to welcome new seasonal summer flights in 2020 from Dallas/Fort Worth, operated by Sun Country.
In November, JetBlue started nonstop service on the same route, with three weekly frequencies. The new JetBlue service adds 23,400 new seats to the market. The carrier also connects San José with Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
Costa Rica’s airports are in the midst of upgrades, as the nation’s civil aviation authority pumps more than 90,800 million Costa Rican colones (US$160,660) into airport infrastructure through the end of 2019 and into 2020. The investment will include improvements at both large and small airports, including expanded boarding gates in San José and runway upgrades in Liberia.