Costa Rica Jobs for US and Canadian Nationals

Finding Costa Rica jobs for foreign nationals can be a little tricky, but a number of agencies exist to help recruit Americans and Canadians for jobs that are difficult to fill with Costa Rica residents, such as positions teaching English as a foreign language, jobs as English-speaking tour guides, and jobs with the country’s many environmental concerns. In addition, consider starting your own business in Costa Rica. There are many fewer restrictions on self-employed foreign residents.

Getting a Work Permit

In order to work in Costa Rica, a foreign national must get a work permit through his or her employer or alternately apply for residency, if choosing to start a business. Large multi-national corporations will usually handle all of the necessary paper work for you, but smaller firms may require that you assist with obtaining this permit. Few small employers will hire a foreigner without a permit as the paperwork can sometimes take months. Therefore, it’s best to have a job confirmed before you travel to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Jobs – What’s Available?

The most common jobs for English-speaking foreigners are those teaching English, working as a tour guide, or working at the front desk of one of the tourist hotels. Most of these jobs require fluency in Spanish as well as English.

Salaries are generally less in Costa Rica than in the US or Canada, but then the cost of living is less also. Expect to make from around $2000/month with a large multi-national firm to around $300-500/month teaching English as a second language.

Starting your own Business

Perhaps the best opportunity for a foreigner to make money in Costa Rica is to open his own business. Unlike working as an employee, as a self-employed person you do not need a work permit, only to apply for residency. Good choices for businesses include things that have to do with travel and tourism, such as dive shops, restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, and similar businesses.

Again, fluency in Spanish is a major asset for a small business owner in Costa Rica, as are adequate funds. Unlike in the US and Canada, bank loans for small businesses are hard to get in Costa Rica and usually come with high interest rates.

Finding a Job in Costa Rica

A number of brokers list jobs available in Costa Rica. Even Craig’s List has a Costa Rica page with jobs in a myriad of fields. In addition, a number of large multi-national corporations have operations in Costa Rica. Among these are Intel, Motorola, and Standard Fruit. Many of these firms list Costa Rica job openings on their Web sites.

While working in Costa Rica is generally not to be considered a “get rich quick” opportunity, spending time in this beautiful country can be a great experience for those just out of college or even those embarking on a second career after retirement.


– Volunteering in Costa Rica
Volunteering in Costa Rica

– Craig’s List Costa Rica

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