WHAT OUR LOCAL FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM LOCATIONS IN COSTA RICA
Costa Rica has a tropical climate, the sun shines throughout the year although there are extensive periods of rain (May to November). The driest period for filming is December to April, there are regional variations between the East and West Coasts, and between lowlands and uplands.
Costa Rica is famous for its pristine national parks, making up around 20-25% of the country’s entire land mass. These include Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Tortuero National Park.
The country boasts various types of forests, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, and numerous volcanoes. It also has both Caribbean and Pacific Coastlines, complete with palm trees, different colour sands and impressive surf breaks. Costa Rica can be a good double for other parts of the world like the Alps and Africa. The country has some interesting architecture including modern villas, government buildings, homes and palaces, town squares and parks.
SAFETY & TRAVEL
Costa Rica enjoys a high standard of living and no standing army. Costa Rica has an extensive network of roads, with many hotel options. With cities dotted across the Central American country. Costa Rica boasts a robust telecommunications infrastructure, a highly regarded healthcare system and a safe and secure environment for filmmakers.
COSTS & TAX INCENTIVES
In December 2021, Costa Rica enacted the film investment attraction law, aiming to promote investment in and development of international film productions, co-productions, and activities. The package of incentives includes an 11.7% return on all budget lines invested in Costa Rica without a cap. The incentives, regulations and procedures have been open to applications from May 2022. No actor, director or producer working on an international production in Costa Rica will be subject to a tax of any kind while employed in the country.
Costa Rica is not unionized, and production crews are more cost effective than in Europe and the US.
FILM CREW AND TALENT
Costa Rica provides a small pool of local crew; key crew are of a good standard and speak fluent English and Spanish. Bringing in specialized crews from the US or Mexico is an easy process.
Most Costa Ricans are of Spanish European descent, minorities include mestizos, mulattos, and indigenous people. There are good casting agencies, bringing in foreign talent is easy. Miami is only a 3-hour flight away.
ENTRY OF FILM CREW AND EQUIPMENT
Standard equipment is available locally, modern equipment such as Steadicams, Tyler mounts, Arri master lenses, underwater housing needs and Panavision cameras need to be brought in from abroad.
You must request a letter at least 8 working days prior to the entry of the crew and equipment otherwise, the Commission will not be responsible if the letter cannot be ready and sent on time to the Customs and Immigration Office. Information necessary for the letter:
- Costa Rican Local Production Company Name that will accompany you (Local Producer, Fixer, Line Producer…)
- International Production Company Name
- Small synopsis of the project.
- Specify type of project (commercial, fiction feature film, documentary, reality show, music video, corporate video, photo shoot, etc.)
- Detail of dates & locations where the shooting will take place.
- Name and copy of the passport of the people who will enter the country.
- Indicate airport and flights of entry and exit of all the crew members and talent.
- When and where it would be broadcasted.
- List of equipment and materials that will enter and go back out the country as follow
The Crew List or and the List of the Equipment that will be used
VISA AND WORK PERMITS
Crews travelling on Western passports can enter Costa Rica to film without a visa for up to 90 days. Obtaining a permit in film-friendly Costa Rica is straightforward, a standard permit takes up to 15 days, but national parks may require longer.
DRONE LAWS IN COSTA RICA
All drones in Costa Rica must be registered with the DGAC.