Costa Rica, Essentially


In case you missed it, Costa Rica participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, at least on the screen, as the country introduced its new marketing brand, Essential Costa Rica, with primetime television spots targeting U.S. audiences. And this month in New York, Juan Carlos Borbon, the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s general manager, told attendees at The New York Times Travel Show, “the Essential Costa Rica brand is an opportunity for us to present a comprehensive look at our evolving nation, to share attributes that visitors may find surprising, and to shine a light on our most valuable natural asset, our people.”

Under the previous banner, “Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients,” the country has been on a roll of tourism success—in 2013, a 3.6 percent increase for a total of 2,427,941 inbound tourists—by targeting Costa Rica’s commitment to pro-environmental tourism practices, as well as natural beauty and impressive biodiversity. This campaign attracted nature lovers and adventure-seekers by the planeloads, turning the country into a major tourist destination. Costa Rica’s eco-tours and community-based programs have become a model to follow, part of positioning Costa Rica as one of the world’s most sustainable destinations.

Under the new Essential Costa Rica banner, the country is focusing on the “essence” of Costa Rica, which is its warm, friendly authentic people and natural blessings in combination with a new strategy to attract foreign investment.

One essential product that Costa Rica introduced recently is its new Pacific “Route of the Americas,”  which launched with the first-time sailing of an international cruise—the Azamara Club Cruise— from a Costa Rican port to tour the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. This is part of the Mesoamerican Cruise Route strategy, which is sponsored by the Costa Rica Tourism Board, together with the port and tourism authorities of neighboring countries.  Discussions are ongoing with other cruise lines in order to create an ideal cruise product in Central America on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

On the Caribbean, Costa Rica is working to boost its appeal in the cruise industry, focusing attention on Limon, where cruise ships currently dock. According to the Port Master Plan of Limon, by 2016, the port is expected to be solely dedicated for cruise ships.  The overall investment plan calls for upgraded passenger services, as well as retail services and stores.

For more information, go to