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From a tradition of aquaculture to thriving logistics & manufacturing

Puntarenas, one of the main cities on the Pacific coast, is located 70 miles from San Jose – a short 45-minute drive to reach the beach from the capital.

The area has been traditionally known for being the seafood provider of Costa Rica as well as that of several other nations in Latin America.

  • Food Industry
  • Light Manufacturing
  • Transportation, logistics & services
Central Pacific
  • 337,479 population
  • 60% under 35 years old
  • 126,949 labor force
  • 30% with high school education
  • 11% with university education

About the region

A convenient location, connected by recently opened route 27, allows the metro area to be linked to the Port of Caldera, the country’s Pacific global logistics hub, which services Asia Pacific as well as the west coasts of North and South America.

It’s the heart of the yellow fin tuna industry, and home to Alimentos Prosalud’s (Sardimar) state-of-the-art processing plant located in Barranca, which not only takes advantage of the area’s rich resources but also minimizes waste by using byproducts from its processing to generate biofuel that makes its plant self-sufficient.

Aquaculture and seafood processing operations are also present with farming company Camaronera La Parrita, which owns 420 acres of Pacific white shrimp ponds near Parrita in Puntarenas. The company partners with Rainbow, a subsidiary of German seafood company Ristic, to deliver organic and sustainably farmed shrimp, certified in accordance with Natureland standards, to customers across Europe.

Given this intense maritime business, a great opportunity is also present for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in the boating industry. Activity in the port of Caldera has doubled in the past 8 years, driven by important investments to strengthen logistics. But the port also receives the most renowned cruise liners. And, in addition to the boating activity tied to fishing in the area, Puntarenas is just 30 minutes from Los Sueños Marina, the only luxury marina of its kind between South America and Mexico, making it an ideal stop for premier yachts that travel and do tourism in the area.

Multinational company IKOR, leveraging the incentives of the Free Trade Zone and located in the Puntarenas Free Zone, designs and manufactures industrial filtration products. The company works with all available substrate materials presently offered for dry and liquid filtration markets. IKOR routinely manufactures standard reverse air, pulse jet and shaker bag designs. IKOR also produces highly customized designs requested by its customers or the end users.

In addition, advanced manufacturing is also present with multinationals like Bekaert, headquartered in Belgium and the world’s largest maker of steel wire. It recently opened its first plant in Latin America in Orotina, to produce one of its key patented products Dramix, and is growing its operation there. An open local government relation allowed the company to build and start-up in less than a year. Some of its senior level management travel daily from San Jose while others enjoy living in the warm climate of the tropical coast and the amenities it has to offer.

Success story


Started operations: 2014Sector: Light ManufacturingCountry: Belgium

Transforming steel wire and applying advanced coating know-how. That is what Bekaert does flawlessly.

Headquartered in Belgium, the company has been improving both the bulk and surface properties of steel wire products for over 130 years

Headquartered in Belgium, the company has been improving both the bulk and surface properties of steel wire products for over 130 years to become a leading business in this industry with more than 4 billion in annual sales. Thanks to Bekaert’s technological support and global presence in EMEA, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific, customers can benefit from a strong commitment to local service, delivered by over 27,000 employees worldwide.

A combination of technological leadership in wire transformation of over 2.8 tons per year, and focus on innovation; provides customers with a broad range of high technological products and solutions for various sectors such as automotive, construction, energy and utilities, agriculture, consumer goods, equipment and basic materials.

Bekaert was looking to expand its presence in Central America to better serve its markets there. It found a great hub in Arcelor Mittal’s steel wire plant in Costa Rica and acquired 73% of the shares of this entity. In August 2014, the company also inaugurated a new state-of-the-art facility in Orotina, about 40 minutes from San Jose, dedicated to producing Dramix® which is oneof Bekaert’s most innovative products forconcrete reinforcement.

Bekaert was able to have this new operation fully functional in less than half a year. Although the country has strict environmental regulations, the company managed to ensure full compliance. Valuable and open support from the local government or municipality, as well as other institutions, allowed them to complete all installation processes and permits in a record 3-month time.

Bekaert also found talent acquisition locally to be an easy process. “Costa Rica has an excellent educational system, our recruitment process has been very successful. We have found good engineers in Orotina and Esparza and have seen that Costa Ricans have a great attitude, they are very committed and willing to learn” said Mr. Simon Pineda, General Manager for Central America& Caribbean.

The company’s location, which is less than 20 minutes from Caldera Port in the Pacific, makes its logistics processes easier, cost-competitive and provides quick access to its core markets. “Our relationship with the port authorities is great, it’s actually one of the best port services we’ve ever encountered” added Mr. Pineda.

Orotina is also located outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area, which provides enhanced tax incentives to companies establishing in those areas. Bekaert is able to leverage those benefits and perceives them as a good sign of the open and friendly business environment that Costa Rica has to offer. For more information on Bekaert:

Interested to learn more about the region? Download document