Showing posts from May, 2017

Post Departure

Costa Rica is an amazing and beautiful country with lush forests, pristine beaches, diverse climates and incredible biodiversity. The people are warm and hospitable, true to their "pura vida" attitude. Some people in the country are working hard to keep their historical culture alive which we witnessed from the indigenous Maleku tribe and workers at the Learning Farm. Other people are working hard to practice sustainable agriculture like the coffee farmers who grow coffee under a variety of trees in the shade, a process which doesn't require clear cutting of forests. Furthermore, the companies in the free zone adapt their corporate business culture to coincide with the Costa Rican's eco-friendly, laid-back attitude. These companies have energy-efficient technology and recycling processes to reduce carbon emissions and remain sustainable. The people at these companies are incredibly passionate about what they do and the effect they have on the environment and the huma…

Preserving Cajun Culture

Today, we met two groups trying to preserve traditional Costa Rican culture. One of these groups are the Maleku people, an indigenous tribe made up of 650 people that live north of La Fortuna. They make their living by creating artwork made out of plants and trees. They believe that there is an animal spirit inside of every one. They create masks that represent people's animal spirits such as the jaguar or the butterfly. The second group attempting to preserve Costa Rican culture is those working at The Learning Farm. They grow plants native to the area, both for food and medicinal purposes. Some of these plants include citronella, lemongrass, coffee, sour cucumber, sugarcane and cocoa. They also have free range chickens and geese, pigs, and goats. They harvest some eggs from the chickens to use in the kitchen, but leave the remaining eggs to hatch. In addition, they milk their cows and goats every morning. Groups go to The Learning Farm and guides educate their guests about plant…

Pineapple Plantations

Costa Rica's brand, "Essential Costa Rica", is supposed to market the country as a place that values sustainable business practices. It also promotes their human talent and educates foreign investors on Costa Rica's ability to manufacture and produce quality products. However, the country continues to face problems with deforestation and trying to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainable business. Many people are clearing land for dairy farming or growing of pineapples, coffee, and other crops.

The largest agricultural export for Costa Rica is currently pineapples. Many people in Costa Rica want to get involved in pineapple exportation because it is a profitable cash crop. The company we went visit today has plans to expand their plant. This may be due to expansion of the pineapple farm itself. Furthermore,  they also must use chemicals and pesticides in their growing and harvesting processes. Otherwise, fungus or insects may attack the crop and this …

Costa Rican Free Zone

The free zone in Costa Rica is a set of tax incentives to attract companies to do business in the country. It creates a mutually beneficial relationship. Corporations invest in the country, provide employment to its citizens, and urbanize the area by creating roadways to businesses and much more. In return, companies are not required to pay any taxes to the Costa Rican government. The companies do not pay taxes on exports or yearly revenues.

However, there are requirements and obligations that businesses and corporations must meet that aligns with the country's sustainability goals. Costa Rica has a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2021. This means they want to have a zero carbon footprint which requires decreasing the country's carbon emissions and using sustainable businesses practices including energy efficient technology and recycling processes. Therefore, many foreign corporations, especially those from the United States, must alter their corporate culture to align with…

Branding and Trade Agreements

The goal of Costa Rica's country brand, Essential Costa Rica, is to promote the export of products made in Costa Rica. The country's brand is being used to transform the image of Costa Rica as not only being a natural, ecofriendly environment and tourist destination, but also is a country with unique human talent that develops quality products and provides superior services to its customers. A brand, in general, is to unite people with a central message and value of the company, city, state, or country. Properly marketing the country's brand attracts new businesses and makes the country more attractive while negotiating trade agreements. Trade agreements increase the exchange of goods and services while decreasing cost and thus decreasing the price of the good or service to consumers. Decreasing price generally increases the demand for a product or service. 

Having a state brand for Louisiana that alters the nation's image and perception of Louisiana posi…

Coffee vs. Cosmetic

There are definite differences between La Bella Tica Coffee and Monteverde Natural
Cosmetics other than the obvious agricultural versus cosmetic industry differences. First, the owner of La Bella Tica Coffee sells and trades locally while the owner of Monteverde Natural Cosmetics, however, has become successful enough to start selling their products through Amazon. The cosmetic products are mass shipped to Florida and distributed from there. La Bella Tica Coffee is not sold throughout Costa Rica and is only available through a couple of local retailers. The owner farms and roasts coffee to make income throughout the year instead of only seasonally like other Costa Rican coffee farmers. His product can also be ordered via email and shipped for an additional $5 per pag. Also, Coffee is extremely popular in Costa Rica unlike naturally made cosmetic products. Conservation via environmentally friendly farming methods and recycling processes is understood and accepted throughout the country…

First Day in Costa Rica

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and got to the Lafayette airport at 3:45 a.m. We had no issues flying to Houston. However, our flight to San Jose was delayed twice. We had to fly around once we got there because there wasn't an open landing strip. There were four flights landing ahead of us. Once we landed, we waited in the customs line for 2 hours. We also got stuck in traffic because of contruction on a bridge. We had an hour long orientation to complete insurance information and receive an overview of the itinerary for the rest of our trip, education on exchange rates and Costa Rican currency, and safety procedures in the hotel and around San Jose. I'm really excited to start exploring the country tomorrow.

Pre-Departure Impressions

Costa Rica is a country with a rich culture and known for its eco-friendly tourism and business practices. I'm really interested in seeing how American companies like HP adapt their business practices to fit into the Costa Rican culture. I look forward to experiencing their rainforest with such a variety of wildlife as well as the volcano and beach. Not many countries offer such diverse climates, scenery, and terrain. I expect it to be very hot and humid and to use a LOT of bug spray. I am especially interested in learning about their culture, known for its laid back, "pura vida" attitude which differs greatly from the American corporate culture.