10 Startups in Costa Rica to Watch

Startup Office | © Heisenberg Media/Flickr
Startup Office | © Heisenberg Media/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
2 June 2017

Some incredibly innovative minds are brewing up all sorts of great companies in Costa Rica. Starting a business takes a lot of dedication, know-how, creativity, innovation, and recognition of what’s really needed in a country or community. The following ten companies are providing all of the above in Costa Rica, with missions relating to the environment, swimwear fashion, construction, transportation, food, and more.

Yo Viajo

Dagoberto Medina Díaz, Fabricio Rodriguez, Betzi Medina, Lidier Venegas, and Audrey Vasquez founded Yo Viajo in 2015. In its first year the startup won the Yo Emprendedor startup competition. Yo Viajo is like Waze for bus travelers. It is the best way to find your bus schedule and relevant travel information. The app continues to evolve but currently features interactive maps, alternative routes, and even a way to connect with other travelers.

M.A.E. (Materiales Ambientales Ecológicos)

M.A.E. is a 100% sustainable building materials startup company that is working to provide affordable and environmentally-friendly materials in Costa Rica. Timber harvesting, deforestation, cut and burn practices, and urban growth and development are all harmful to the environment. M.A.E. wants to change building practices to protect the animals, plants, and ecosystems in Costa Rica. They are using state of the art technologies and new treatment methods to harvest and use bamboo. The price point is competitive with less sustainable and more traditional building materials.

Bamboo is sustainable | © Kris Arnold/Flickr


GreenCloud is a web platform that enables users to organize, manage, monitor, and share valuable information regarding environmentally-friendly energy use; it’s basically an “online green consultant.” This interactive and easy-to-use platform helps organizations keep track and alter their practices so they’re more geared toward carbon-neutrality. This Earth-friendly company wants to strengthen and promote green practices around the globe.

San Jose Brewing Company

William Fernandez Nuñez launched San Jose Brewing Company in August 2016. This Costa Rican company is dedicated to making unique and tasty craft beers. The company launched with three craft ©s and aims to introduce two a year for the next four years. Craft beers are all the rage these days in Costa Rica after decades of a small selection consisting of local beers like Pilsen and Imperial. San Jose Brewing Company’s beers are sold in kegs and bottles and come with information about the specific features and brewing processes of each type of beer.

Zero Army

Ignacio Cubero is the founder and president of Zero Army, a zero waste natural juice and smoothie company. Zero Army developed twelve signature drinks served in glass bottles named after twelve of Costa Rica’s famous national parks. In the first year, Zero Army sold over 10,000 smoothies. The original establishment is located in downtown San Jose. As of October 2016, the company aims to reach a broader market via wide distribution by developing juices that have a longer shelf lives.

Earth and belly happy smoothies | © Zero Army

Food Forestry

Food Forestry is an incredible company working to turn damaged and non-productive grazing and crop land in Costa Rica into flourishing, productive food forests. These food forests are constructed in a sustainable, low-maintenance, and highly productive, food-growing system. The goal of Food Forestry is to make a significant impact on the local and worldwide hunger crisis. The food forests are abundant with fruit and nut trees, herbs, year-around vegetables, and root crops.

Food for everyone | © Jennifer C./Flickr

Fresh Organico

Fresh Organico is the only company in Costa Rica that provides fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and other products right to a customer’s door through an online store. Fresh Organico manages every step and process of its production— from farming to delivery. Their goal is to provide easy access to the healthiest and freshest organic foods and products to Costa Ricans throughout the country. Unfortunately, many farms in Costa Rica use heavy amounts of agro-pesticides and organic produce isn’t widely available outside of the cities.

Salvaje Swimwear

Salvaje Swimwear is a relatively new bikini company based out of Playa Hermosa/Jaco. A few years ago, the two owners and designers quit their jobs in California to come to Costa Rica for adventure and a different pace of life. Salvaje Swimwear provides several different styles of tops, bottoms, and yoga/surf shorts to mix and match. Most styles are also reversable, so purchasing a pair is like getting a two-for-one deal. With Salvaje Swimwear you can completely customize your suit to fit your personal style, body type, and even activity (surfing, yoga, lounging, etc.).

Create your own custom bikini | © Salvaje Swimwear


Founder Walter Ching, creative director Sebastián Vásquez, and commercial director José Pablo Sánchez Mora, created and built Kimbo. The concept behind this app is to ease the process of finding professional people and services over a wide range of industries. Users of Kimbo can search yoga teachers, mechanics, web designers, and even pet sitters with this free and easy to navigate app; the search results provide locations, prices, and ratings.

Pura Vida Rentals

Pura Vida Rentals is a new golf cart rental company in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area. As rental car prices can be high and walking in places like Manuel Antonio (or other beach towns like Tamarindo) isn’t always a reliable mode of transportation, an electric golf cart can be the perfect solution for getting around within town. These eco-friendly golf carts only cost $55 per day. Pura Vida Rentals is located at the Hotel Mono Azul, but they also provide drop-off and pick-up services.

Cruise around Quepos | © Sean Hobson/Flickr

Nova Haus

Founder Jeff Mejias created SunShore Developments company Nova Haus, a pre-fabricated house frame company. The goal is to help homebuilders cut down on material waste, construction costs and time, and hired manpower. Unfinished construction is a common occurrence in Costa Rica. Nova Haus is revolutionizing the way homes are being built and is helping to ensure the process is completed easily.

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