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10 Things to Do and See When Travelling to Costa Rica

travelling to Costa RicaTravelling to Costa Rica can be such an enriching experience for many reasons. Costa Rica is a gorgeous country nestled right in the middle of Central America with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Ocean, the country’s close proximity to water and the Equator has allowed for lush rainforests to cover the country with greenery. Because of Costa Rica’s exotic terrain, beautiful beaches, abundant animal life, and friendly community, it is a tourist destination for people all over the world.

There aren’t many countries where you can climb a volcano, relax on a remote sandy beach, and zip-line through the rainforest in just a few days. You can do all of this, and much more, when you visit Costa Rica. Whether you decide to travel during the wet season, or the dry season, the country will not disappoint. To ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Costa Rica, we’ve outlined ten things to do and see when travelling to Costa Rica.

5 Things to Do When Travelling to Costa Rica

1. Experience Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Whether you want to walk the forest floor or zipline through the forest canopy, experiencing Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve should be on your list of things to do when travelling to Costa Rica. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve was named for the nearby town of Monteverde and consists of 26,000 acres of cloud forest – a subtropical forest known for having consistent cloud cover due to moisture. With over 850 species of flora and over 150 species of fauna in the forest, you are sure to see some interesting sights on your visit.

2. Enjoy Nightlife in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

The Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a popular destination for tourists visiting Costa Rica. At night, the city comes to life with bamboo bars, Reggae music, and vivacious nightlife. There is something for everyone in this town. Whether you want to adventure inland to the rainforest, enjoy surfing and drinks on the beach, or visit the black sand beach of Playa Negra for a more offbeat adventure, all can be done in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

3. Explore La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens promise to wow even the most travelled explorer. The Gardens features five waterfalls that are all accessible by safe and easy hiking trails. If hiking is not your thing, you can check out the aviary that features a vast number of bird species. You can also see monkeys, jaguars, pumas, other large cats, frogs, and orchids in this one park. Established in 1998, the entirety of the Gardens opened to the public in 2000. Since then it has become a thriving tourist destination nestled on 70 acres of beautiful Costa Rican jungle.

4. Relax in Tabacón Hot Springs

On more than 900 acres of reserved tropical land, the Tabacón Hot Springs are a modern marvel. The water is heated by a stream of hot springs that run through marshes and grasslands from the Arenal Volcano. Thanks to one man’s adventurous attitude and ability to think outside of the box, the Tabacón Hot Springs Spa was established in the late 1980s. After a complete overhaul in 1991 that took over two years, these relaxing hot springs are now surrounded by acres and acres of Costa Rican native flora, a restaurant, and spa making this one of the most beautiful and relaxing tourist destinations in the country.

5. Take a Tour of a Coffee Plantation

A lesser known fact about Costa Rica is that coffee beans are a huge export and one of the country’s most profitable crops. Thanks to the country’s location and climate, coffee plantations are abundant which gives tourists multiple opportunities to take a tour. Most of the coffee plantations are in the Central Valley of Costa Rica and each plantation offers a different experience, so if you’re a true fan of coffee you may want to check out more than one.

5 Things to See When Travelling to Costa Rica

1. The Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula, which juts out into the Pacific Ocean, is a well-known spot in Costa Rica for its beautiful beaches. While it is a popular tourist destination, and will be crowded, it is worth a visit. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the world’s Blue Zones and there are numerous nature reserves and wildlife refuges to visit on the peninsula itself. During certain times of the year, you can even see Leatherback turtles come to nest and hatch at Playa Grande on the peninsula.

2. The Arenal Volcano

If you are in the Tabacón area visiting the hot springs we mentioned above, you will definitely see the Arenal Volcano in the distance. The volcano is a sightseer’s dream from its almost perfectly symmetrical shape to its frequent activity since the 1960s. The Arenal Volcano has been inactive since October 2010; however, it could turn active any time and erupt soon after due to its placement and the high amount of water in its magma. Regardless of its activity, if you are in the area then you will be able to see the Arenal Volcano from afar or take a closer look with a guided tour.

3. Corcovado National Park

Further south in Costa Rica lies the “crown jewel” of Costa Rica’s system of national parks — Corcovado National Park. Encompassing the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline, the park gives vegetation and local fauna a place to thrive. The waters in and around the parks also promote ecological diversity. Baleen whales, including humpbacks, winter, and breed in Drake Bay which is relatively close to Corcovado National Park.

4. Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is another area of Costa Rica that promotes the preservation of wildlife and local flora; however, the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge sits over wetlands unlike other national parks and reserves mentioned in this article. This makes it a unique site for migratory waterfowl. It also makes it a unique experience for travellers as you can only explore the area by boat. In addition to migratory waterfowl, this wildlife reserve is also home to large cats, monkeys, and many other native species.

5. Tortuguero National Park

People know about the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica for a few reasons. For one, the park is extremely remote and is only accessible by airplane or boat. Regardless of how difficult it is to get to Tortuguero National Park, it is still the third most visited park in the country. With 11 different habitats within the park, it boasts a massive variety of biological diversity. When you visit Tortuguero National Park you can experience the rainforest, mangrove forest, swamps, beaches, and even lagoon environments in a single trip. While visiting Tortuguero National Park, try to observe the egg-laying of both green and leatherback sea turtles which occur in the park.

Traveling to Costa Rica can be an enriching experience thanks to the variety of environments available to explore. A Costa Rican vacation can be made even more wonderful by the friendliness of the Costa Rican people, called Ticos. With so much to do and see in one country, there is something for everyone. If you are looking for an exciting vacation that can be a learning experience and a relaxing getaway, make sure to visit Costa Rica.

At Number8, we have a nearshore development office in San Jose, Costa Rica. Our development team travels throughout Costa Rica, for both business and pleasure, to enrich their lives with the country’s endless beauwildlifelife, and conservation efforts. If you are interested in learning more about our company, and what we do in Costa Rica, give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Why Northern California Tech Companies Turn to Nearshore Outsourcing

Northern California: A National Tech Hub

The tech industry is one of the most important contributors to the Northern California economy. In order to continue developing high paying jobs, information and technology companies outsource operations to streamline processes and cut down on costs. Traditionally, Silicon Valley managers have looked to India for their outsourcing needs. However, there are various cultural issues when outsourcing to India.

Drawbacks of Offshore Outsourcing

     

  • Communication Issues – It’s hard enough translating programming concepts to clients and establishing milestones. You are bound to run into issues communicating with programmers who speak a different English dialect on top of that.
  • Time Loss – There is almost an entire day’s worth of time lost between San Francisco and Mumbai. When working with developers in India, take the loss of time into consideration when establishing project parameters. While the idea of planning a day ahead of schedule sounds great in theory, in practice we know that unexpected issues always require up-to-the-minute communication with programmers.
  • Spaghetti Programmers – The vast majority of coders in the Indian outsourcing market train to churn out work as quickly as possible. The term “spaghetti programming” refers to the code they produce; it loops round and round into a jumbled mess and if anything goes wrong, it’s very difficult to trace steps back and fix it.
  • Hidden Costs – An abundance of cheap, quick labor produces systems without structural integrity od proper checks. A system like this will eventually crash, leaving people in charge of small to medium-sized projects scrambling to fix it. Project managers end up spending the same amount of manhours they originally outsourced fixing the problem, sometimes doubling the cost of operations.

 
 

Nearshore Outsourcing: Solving Offshore Issues for Silicon Valley

 
northern californiaDespite the issues that come with offshore outsourcing, Northern California businesses still need to reach their demands for tech talent. The United States systematically fails to produce homegrown programmers and coders. Without these workers, operations halt and business growth stagnates.

Operations managers in Silicon Valley are turning to nearshore outsourcing to bridge the gap between the lack of tech talent and their business’s needs. Nearshore outsourcing finds talent in countries close to the U.S. such as Honduras and Costa Rica. There are various advantages to nearshore outsourcing.

Benefits of Nearshore Outsourcing

       

    • Smaller cultural margin – The culture in India is very hierarchical; because of this, workers tend not to take initiative on projects. They hesitate to think beyond their instructions. In many ways, the culture in Latin American culture closely aligns to that of the United States. Additionally, the English dialect studied in Central America is closer in line with that of the United States, whereas in countries like India they learn the British dialect. It may seem like a small difference, but the difference in dialect is a major barrier to effective communication.
    • Less time overlap – While there is an entire day’s difference between Silicon Valley and Mumbai, there is only an hour difference between San Francisco and Costa Rica.
    • Agile development – Nearshore programmers in Central America train in the methodology of Agile software development. Under the values and principles of agile software development, operations evolve though self-organizing cross-functional teams and collaborative effort. That means when something goes wrong, there’s no starting from scratch. Agile development is about motivated individuals working in real time and creating working software that evolves with business needs.
    • Lower costs – Nearshore combines the cost efficiency of outsourcing with the convenience of real-time communication. Higher productivity cuts down on overall costs and requires less backtracking.  Furthermore, with nearshore outsourcing, supervisors in charge of development projects are able to directly oversee their teams. Flights from Northern California to Central America are quick and relatively cheap.

     

    At Number8, we help Northern California tech businesses connect with agile software developers in Central America. Our teams–both foreign and domestic– provide cost-effective services minus the difficulties and risks that come from offshore outsourcing. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

Thinking About Doing Business in Costa Rica? Here are 10 Reasons Why You Should

10 Benefits of doing business in Costa RicaCosta Rica is a bustling Central American country full of rich history and tradition. Because this country is known for its strong economy, safety and culture, many American companies have built offshore locations here in recent years. General Electric, IBM, Procter & Gamble and number8, to name a few, are examples of some of the U.S. based companies with nearshore offices in Costa Rica. Further, 25 percent of the top Fortune 50 companies, including Wal-Mart have decided to set up another store location in this Central American country.

10 Reasons to Feel Great about Doing Business in Costa Rica

There are many reasons for relocating offshore to Costa Rica. Here are 10 reasons why you can feel great about doing business in Costa Rica.

  1. Location: Costa Rica is located along the Pacific Ocean with nearly 800 miles of coastline. Being located only 3.5 hours from the United States, Costa Rica offers U.S. businesses easy and affordable access.
  2. Safety: Costa Rica is considered the safest country in Latin America. You do not have to worry about walking on the streets at night in Costa Rica, or any other safety concerns. This is a friendly country that is known for providing comfort and protection to its visitors.
  3. Education: This country has a literacy rate of about 95 percent. Their labor force in Costa Rica is one of the most important resources in the country, and many of these workers specialize in Information Technology and other technical fields.
  4. Climate: Costa Rica is known for its year-round tropical climate. These agreeable living conditions make completing work almost as enjoyable as a day at the beach.
  5. Transportation: Costa Rica is equipped with several types of transportation methods. You can walk, drive, fly or ride your bike to most locations. Traveling by land, sea and air is not difficult in this country.
  6. Communications: While the official language in Costa Rica is Spanish, many Costa Rican citizens are bilingual, so speaking English is not an issue. Also, this country has access to the internet, mobile phone usage and local TV, radio and newspaper communications. Costa Rica is very well connected and communication is not a challenge.
  7. Government: Costa Rica has been independent since 1821. Since this time, the country has enjoyed a democratic government system with free elections. Costa Rican citizens are encouraged to participate in public and political life. This democratic environment makes handling business in Costa Rica familiar and understandable.
  8. Culture: As mentioned previously, Costa Rica has a rich culture full of history, spirit and tradition. Costa Ricans are proud of their heritage and continue to celebrate their history and culture with many unique festivals and holidays.
  9. Economy: Costa Rica has a bustling economy, making business a valuable and rewarding experience. Doing business in Costa Rica can be considered a favorable investment with both tangible and intangible benefits for most companies.
  10. Pura Vida: Many Costa Ricans have adopted a Pura Vida way of life. This means “pure life.” This easy-going and friendly lifestyle makes business in Costa Rica meaningful. Many American companies doing business in Costa Rica find unexpected benefits from the Pura Vida lifestyle, in part because it reminds people that there is more to life than business deals.

Costa Rica has a lot to offer American businesses looking to move services to a convenient offshore Read more

All You Need To Know About Money in Costa Rica

money in costa rica includes colonesCosta Rica is a Central American country named after its rich coastlines and beautiful scenery. With a population close to 4.5 million people, Costa Rica is full of culture and life. The New Economics Foundation recognized Costa Rica as the greenest country in the world in 2009. With its expanding economy, this country is becoming a great place for business, as well as a fascinating travel destination.

Before traveling to Costa Rica, whether for work or pleasure, there are some things you should know about the country’s currency. The unit of currency in Costa Rica is called a colón. It was named after Christopher Columbus, since he is considered one of the first Europeans to visit Costa Rica.

Before Costa Rica became independent from Spain in the 16th century, Costa Rica originally used the peso currency. These were manufactured in Spain and then transported to Costa Rica. Once the gold and silver mines were discovered in Peru, the golden “Escudo” and the silver “Real” were used for daily purchases.

When Costa Rica gained their independence in 1821, they transitioned to the Federal Republic of Central America, through which they adopted their currency. It wasn’t until 1993 that Costa Rica began printing their own currency that is still in use today. The colón uses golden coins that are made from bronzed coated steel and some made from aluminum. The value of the colón wavers from 500-550 colón to 1 US dollar.

If you are traveling to Costa Rica from America, it is important to note that US dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica. Upscale hotels and restaurants will even use American currency to denote the prices for various items. When traveling around Costa Rica and purchasing meals and transportation services, you should be prepared to pay with colónes.

For mid-budget travelers, the average daily costs in Costa Rica range between US $50 to US $100. This covers hotel costs, transportation and meals for the day. You should know that prices tend to increase around holidays and during the dry season (December to April).

The colón  comes in paper denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, and 50000. And the coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500. Most newer coins are gold-colored, except for the silver 5 and 10 colónes. When purchasing items including food, souvenirs and hotels, know that there is a 13 percent tax on all of these goods.

Some hotels and restaurants in Costa Rica add an additional charge for tourists. While you are not obligated to tip on top of this surcharge, it is recommended that you do so. These tips and fees are often split among many employees, so adding an additional tip is respectable and appreciated.

 

Benefits of Doing Business in Costa Rica

Business in San Jose Costa RicaCosta Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America. The country is nearly 31,500 square miles in size, with coastlines along the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Recognized for its many beaches, diverse wildlife, dense rainforests, national parks, and volcanoes, the country is also home to a growing number of businesses.

In 2013 the population in Costa Rica was estimated by the World Bank to be about 4.87 million (compared to nearly 6.1 million in Nicaragua and 3.86 million in Panama). The literacy rate in Costa Rica is very high, with United Nations’ estimates at nearly 96%.

San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica and also the largest city, is located in the Central Valley. More than 2 million people live in or around San Jose. Characterized by a unique style of Spanish architecture, San Jose is organized into 11 separate districts, each with their own neighborhoods. The city is home to the National Theatre of Costa Rica, numerous museums including the Museum of Costa Rican Art and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, fine restaurants and shops, top educational institutions and much more.

8 Benefits of Doing Business In Costa Rica

When it comes to doing business in Costa Rica, there are a number of reasons you should consider this location in Central America.

A report by the World Bank focusing on doing business in Latin America in 2014, details the following benefits of doing business in Costa Rica.

  1. You save time since records for tax registration in Costa Rica are now digitalized.
  2. The process of getting a sanitary permit for activities considered “low risk” has been simplified in Costa Rica.
  3. There is an online platform to create a business in Costa Rica. This cuts down on time and simplifies the entire process.
  4. Construction and building permits are now easier to get in Costa Rica, with an approval system you can access online.
  5. Property transferring is faster and simpler with a streamlined process offering certificates on a single website.
  6. Borrowers’ rights to inspect personal data are guaranteed in Costa Rica. This makes it easier to access credit information.
  7. Online payments to the country’s social security program are used by most taxpayers in Costa Rica.
  8. Companies can pay municipal taxes in Costa Rica electronically.

If you are considering doing business somewhere in Latin America, you should definitely explore the many possibilities and benefits Costa Rica has to offer. While the country may be most widely recognized as a beautiful vacation spot, it is increasingly becoming known as a great place to do business as well.

Software Development in Costa Rica

benefits of software development in costa rica Why We Love Software Development in Costa Rica

When it comes to finding the perfect location for nearshore software development, there are a number of viable options to consider.  Here at number8, we searched the globe far and wide to find the very best destination to successfully conduct our software development business.  Our search led us to the “happiest country on earth,” also known as…Costa Rica.

Literally translated to mean “rich coast,” Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica is well known for its lush tropical rain forests, beautiful sunny weather, diverse wildlife, and miles of gorgeous coast-lines.  Not only did we find the beauty of Costa Rica to be captivating, but we also found it to be an excellent place to conduct business.

When it comes to software development in Costa Rica, the country is known for many recent advancements in software engineering and information technology. In fact, Costa Rica is recognized as the number one software development country in Central America and is home to many leading universities that graduate talented software developers each year.

The Five C’s of Doing Business in Costa Rica

With the perfect combination of natural beauty and a culture that supports advancements in software engineering, nearshore software development in Costa Rica is a very pleasurable experience. We would like to share with you some of the main reasons why Costa Rica is the best and most desirable place on earth for outsourcing software development. Follow along to learn more about what we call the five C’s of doing business in Costa Rica:

  1. Culture – Costa Ricans have a culture that promotes communication in a straight forward but considerate way. During software development projects, people tend to voice their opinions based on prior experience. Being communicative and straight-forward is imperative to high quality agile software development. This helps ensure that software bugs are caught quickly and that project estimates are accurate. It also helps to facilitate team trust and positivity.
  2. Communication – Many people in Costa Rica speak both Spanish and English fluently. This is very beneficial when partnering with software teams in the United States. Working with software developers who are fluent in English enables communication on the scrum team to flow with ease.
  3. Cost – Costa Rica is a country that heavily endorses continental free trade and is home to many business-favorable benefits. By offering exemptions on capital goods, the value of conducting nearshore operations in Costa Rica proves even more beneficial.
  4. Climate – Due to its close proximity to the equator, Costa Rica has a temperate tropical climate that averages between 71 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Miles of beaches and natural beauty provide many opportunities for people to stay active and healthy. This boosts team morale and productivity.
  5. Convenience – Costa Rica is located in the Central Time zone (CST) which is vital to operations that may take place in the United States. During iterations of agile software development, time efficiency is critical. number8 are in the same or a similar time zone as team members in the United States. This makes collaboration between nearshore and U.S.-based team members very easy.

When it comes to nearshore software outsourcing, we explored many possibilities.  Choosing to open offices in San Jose, Costa Rica, has been very favorable. The number8 team is very proud of the high quality products we deliver and the service we provide. If you are considering software development in Costa Rica, contact us today. Costa Rica has proven to be an excellent location for nearshore IT services, offering an atmosphere full of beauty and business opportunity.

Exploring Costa Rica – Something For Everyone

Things to do when visiting Costa RicaWhile the possibility of a great destination for business travel is not reason alone to choose an offshore software development partner, it is true that Costa Rica has a lot to offer. Whether visiting Costa Rica for vacation, business, or a combination of both, the country is known for its unique history and beauty. Follow along for an overview of some great places to go during your travels to Costa Rica.

Situated on the Pacific side of Central America, Costa Rica features many opportunities for beach lovers. If you want to spend time enjoying the ocean and soaking up some rays, make sure to visit Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula. This region of Costa Rica includes an 80 mile coastline covered with palm trees and waves. If you enjoy water sports like surfing, this is the spot for you.

This area of Costa Rica also features other sightseeing opportunities including a visit to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Arenal Volcano in Fortuna, Costa Rica. You might also enjoy exploring the Tabacón Hot Springs, complete with natural baths and a spa treatment featuring volcanic mud wraps amidst the beauty of natural waterfalls.

Traveling to Costa Rica – Opportunities for Adventure

Costa Rica also proves to be an excellent location for the adventure traveler. South of Fortuna, visitors enjoy the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, complete with hundreds of wildlife including a huge population of birds, crocodiles, water birds and sloths! Make sure to bring your binoculars because this attraction provides amazing views, perhaps best enjoyed during the wetter months between May and December.

If you enjoy the type of travel adventure that takes your breath away, zip-lining in Costa Rica may be the best activity for you. This exciting thrill offers unbelievable scenery complete with mountain ranges, exotic wildlife and beautiful ocean views. Those looking for incredible views, without all the thrill, may enjoy gondola rides or day hikes through suspended bridges in the forest. There are many unique opportunities to experience the special landscape in Costa Rica.

After enjoying beaches, waterfalls, wild animals, and nature hikes, you may be interested in learning more about some of the indoor attractions Costa Rica has to offer.

Enjoy Great Museums and Restaurants when Traveling to Costa Rica

If you enjoy history and architecture, Teatro Nacional is an architectural source of pride for Costa Rica. Built in 1897, this one-of-a-kind building is open for guided tours while also home to Soul Cafe, a popular gourmet restaurant. The Museo de Arte Costarricense, known for famous art pieces and memorable designs, all made by local artisans, is also well worth a visit. This is a great opportunity to experience the unique culture of Costa Rica.

After sightseeing and adventure, you may enjoy sitting back to a delicious meal. There are many great dining options in Costa Rica, including Restaurant la Terrasse, recipient of a 2014 Certificate of Excellence. This popular restaurant is enjoyed for excellent cuisine and scenery.
San Jose’s Restaurante Grano de Oro is another popular location, especially for those interested in experiencing the authentic cuisine of Costa Rica.

Traveling to Costa Rica is a special experience, whether you enjoy long stretches of time on the beach, exploring an active volcano, a zip-line adventure through the woods, or trying unique restaurants and museums. As all of us at number8 already know, Costa Rica really does have something for everyone.