Film Locations. White and dark sand beaches, rivers, waterfalls, jungles and forests (tropical, cloud, dry and rain), mangroves, volcanoes (active and non-active), islands, lakes, natural hot springs, crop plantations including coffee, pineapple, melon, banana, flowers, corn, wood, rice, palm, orange, macadamia, papaya, mango. There is also a man made African safari park with many African animals as well as a reptile park available for filming.
Costa Rica is a small country. Most locations are accessible within 2-4 hours drive from the capital. It sits on both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean allowing for different coastal looks. Costa Rica has some extraordinary undiscovered locations.
Santo Domingo is the production centre in Costa Rica. Should you need to look further for your production needs, Miami is the closest major production centre and only a short 2.5hrs flight away.
Costa Rica Film Location Permits. No extraordinary restrictions or rules apply. Permitting in Costa Rica is a very straightforward process requiring one to fifteen days to process permits depending on the location. National parks can take up to one week depending on the park. There is no general parks fee, each Nature Reserve is permitted separately. Closing a street or shooting at the airport will take about a week to permit. Please contact us for location specific information.
When to shoot? Summer in Costa Rica is from December to April. The rest of the year is the rainy season. The rainy season is characterized by sunny mornings and rainy afternoons in most of the country. The Caribbean Coast has it’s summer in September / October making that the best time to shoot beaches, jungle and island style locations.
For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Please contact us for more specific weather and sun path information.
Costs. Compared to other countries that offer a great variety of locations at a high standard of production, Costa Rica is a very cost efficient option. On average Costa Rica costs about 40% less than the US and 20% less that Mexico and Argentina. The favorable exchange rate and comparatively low cost of factors of production make Costa Rica a cost competitive place to shoot.
Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are very reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis. As a rough guide: One main talent buyout for USA or one country on average $1,300 (one shoot day). Additional shoot day around $800. Additional regions (America, Europe, Asia, etc) 100% of the cost for each additional region. Total buyout is on average 400% of the cost. These prices include talent agency commission.
Costa Rica offers mainly International Latin looking talent similar to what you would find in Brazil or Cuba. There are not that many indigenous looks left in Costa Rica but a few can still be found in the mountainous areas. If we are ever short of talent locally we can easily bring them in from abroad.
There are a couple of casting agencies in Costa Rica and street casting is often required.
Creative talent. Costa Rica has a very limited pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers.
Please contact us for recommended directors, DoP's and photographers for your project.
Crews are also non-union. Crews are of a relatively high standard. Key crew speak English and Spanish.
Fringes. No hidden extras.
Premiums. Shoot days are negotiable. Our producer has shot a 15 hour day without incurring additional charges. No surcharge for weekends, nights or holidays.
Equipment. All the standard basic equipment such as the Arri 435 ES, Arri 3, RED and Cinealta Sony 900 is available locally in Costa Rica. Anything additional such as Steadycams, Tyler mounts, Panavision cameras, Arri master lenses and underwater housing can be easily brought in from abroad. Every major production company owns some equipment and rent to each other when necessary.
Art department and set construction are quite good. Our local partner has in the past provided a variety of complex builds and special effects ranging from snow on a mountain village made out of potatoes, through to throwing a car from a bridge tied to a bungee rope.
Costa Rica also has a very good internationally experienced food stylist, greens man and body paint artist, all available locally.
Studios do exist but are not Costa Rica’s strong point. Studios are good for basic product shots, making small sets and shooting with a chroma background.
Backlots. At present no backlots exist in Costa Rica.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in Costa Rica.
Film Stock. Both Fuji and Kodak are available locally.
Post Production. No labs or telecine available yet. Best to develop / telecine in Miami or LA.
Visas and Work Permits. No work visas required for foreign crew. For information see here. For more information contact your local Costa Rican embassy / representative.
Transportation Infrastructure is all up to known and expected world standards. Costa Rica has access to every corner of the country even though some of the roads are unsealed.
Accommodation. Recommended hotels include:
Hotels in San Jose:
San Jose Marriott
The Alta Hotel
Hotels at the beach:
Los Sueños Marriott
There are many hotel options in Costa Rica. Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.
Safety. For decades Costa Rica has stood out for its stability. It has no standing army. Its citizens enjoy a high standard of living. It is a very peaceful and safe country to shoot in. See here for up to date travel advice.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, online advertising, corporate videos, stills campaigns, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Costa Rica, please see below:
Our production service companies, line producers and fixers have serviced TV commercials, online advertising, corporate videos, stills campaigns, feature films, TV series and documentaries for:
AXA Belgium, BBC UK, Canon Singapore, Coca Cola Indonesia, Concord Canada, Dove Malaysia, Deutche Bank Germany, Dressman Sweden, Evian France, HBO USA, Heineken Ireland, Hyundai Korea, Intercontinental Hotels Global, ITC India, Kirin Japan, Kraft USA, Landrover UK, LG Korea, Meunil China, McDonalds Australia, MUFG Japan, Nikon Hong Kong, Nokia China, Orange Moblie Slovakia, Philips Netherlands, Proctor & Gamble USA, Chery Riich China, Rimowa Germany, Samsung Korea, Sinoland Hong Kong, Skipper Italy, Smirnoff USA, Sony United Arab Emirates, Stella Russia, Telefonica Spain, Vidal Sassoon China, Virgin Media UK, and much more.
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in Costa Rica, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.