Wal-Mart – Costa Rica Monopoly Going Green

Walmart now has managed to take control of over 50% of the mega-shopping centers in costa Rica

Walmart now has managed to take control of over 50% of the mega-shopping centers in Costa Rica and announced it is starting to go green.

Back in Feb, 2007 U.S. retail mega-giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, said they would spend $49 million to open 14 new stores in Costa Rica and all within a year. The business hype was simple, it would create 1000s of new jobs, keep the government happy with additional tax revenue, keep prices down, and provide Costa Ricans with some of the US luxuries (like electronics) that otherwise they could not get at fair and reasonable prices.

So is Wal-Mart tending to the needs of the people?  Yes and No.

I will say one thing, Wal-Mart defiantly knows what they are doing with their monopoly (like ICE is) of a one-stop shopping center and cashing in on all the colons that otherwise would be going to José’s PC Service and Repair and Mendoza’s Buenos Appliances. The mom and pop stores are a bit cheaper in local products, especially the roadside stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables. And due to Costa Rica huge import taxes on luxury items, like cars, motorcycles, appliances, computers etc, you knew, unless the government reduced them, (which they did not because they would lose millions) luxury items weren’t the huge saving that many thought they would be.

Since that first foothold, in two years, their empire has grown to 152 stores, a far cry from the original 14 stores. What’s that you say dude?

Within the last two years, Wal-Mart has managed to take management control of  shopping stores,  like Pali, Maxi Bodega, Mas x Meno, Hyper Mas and Auto Mercado and NOW has control of over 50% of the mega-shopping.  Almost overnight the Mas x Menos stores now look like the typical US Wal-Mart inside and at some, they flaunt  gas stations, rent a car services, restaurants, etc and has pushed out (like in the US) the mom and pop businesses and culture that Costa Rica was known for. Bummer!

Wal-Mart territorial takeovers, has had its opposition. Many Blogs are crying “Greedy Corporate!” Anti-CAFTA (Anti-Central American Free Trade Agreement) in Costa Rica had massive boycotts of the above mentioned stores and labor bitched that Wal-Mart was using Sweatshops in places like Columbia where workers were getting $2.00 a day. And there were some claims/rumors that Wal-Mart imported local products, like bananas and pineapples (which they were not to do) since labor was cheaper outside of Costa Rica –  and/or paid local labor way below the minimum wage in places like Del Monte Costa Rica where Wal-Mart sells Del Monte products in its stores. Fact or Fiction?

However, I will say that Wal-Mart always seems to make the bad into good. Last month they announced they were going Green! Yes, they begin to substitute their Styrofoam containers that they used for fruit and vegetable for biodegradable/compostable containers. These eco-containers are made from natural fibers and being distributed in the Caribbean, Central and South America by the Costa Rican company, Musa Green Group.

Obviously, Styrofoam damages the environment being non-degradable, where these containers are degradable into a compostables within 90 days, well under favorable conditions. And tending to the environment to help gain more favorable PR …

Hummm, what’s next on Wal-Mart’s schedule for Costa Rica?

Costa Rica Medical
Calypso Cruises

previous post: First Swine Flu Death Reported in Costa Rica
next post: Traveling To Costa Rica – Common Mistakes


  1. Chris Stahl says:

    Walmart lays waste through the path of destruction in the friendly county of Costa Rica. This barrage of a slipping US corporation is here to rape and pillage the back bone of each small prosperous town. These small communities are self sustainable built from the local businesses; meat markets, shops, grocery stores, soda's, home goods and appliance stores. Allowing this corporation to come in and destroy these micro economy's is a crime. Walmart shall create a hatred towards Americans in this country and the easy going people will not be so friendly after they lay waste.

  2. Walmart = BAD!
    Money is power & I do try my best to spend it at small businesses and with people who do good things that have a positive effect on the community. But I will admit I've shopped there a few times when in a pinch for the lowest price & convenience of not having to wait for online shipping. At least watch this eye-opening documentary about the real big Walmart picture and inform yourselves.
    Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price 

  3. Parritaman says:

    All the visitors from Canada and the US will quickly discover that Wal-Marts in Costa Rica are not the same as in North America. In Costa Rica the shoppers look and act normal, as in North America many customers look like overweight Red Necks, Hill Billies, or as if they worked in a circus. I am glad that Wal-Mart is into Costa Rica in a big way, as the employment created is a blessing for the Tico people. The last time I was in a Wal-Mart I seen a husband put a case of beer into his wifes cart and she suckered him, leaving him laying on the floor with the case of beer sitting on top of him. I go to Wal-Mart for the entertainment, not the good prices.

  4. John Newton says:

    I am a Gringo who will be living in Costa Rica full time within the next few months, as I’ve already purchased a home there. Love or hate the operation, but every country needs Wal/Mart, not just to create employment, but to also eliminate the companies who rip off the public, such as furniture retailers etc.
    Example: The local Tico builder wants many thousands of dollar to build me a small swimming pool, I’ll just go to Wal/Mart at get a $400. pool that is 15 feet wide and 4 feet deep. God bless Wal/Mart.

  5. John Kohne says:

    The only green that Wal-Mart is concerned about is the green in their pockets. They will go into a community and run all the mom and pop stores out of business and then they’re the only game in town . People should look at what they do in other places and picture them in your town .The mom and pop stores that gave you credit when you were short won’t be there. If you don’t have cash forget Wal-Mart.

  6. R. Quesada says:

    Don’t kid yourselves. Walmart will hire and fire just as fast as they do here in USA they talk a great package, but, they overwork people, don’t hire enough for a full crew., They sell meat in the USA, that is so tainted . You can smell the meat section, before you reach it, and that is in more than one store. Sure they have good prices, for CHEAP quality products, that’s no bargin!! We all like a bargain, but not a the TICO”S expense. Be frugal, shop carefully and you will find better prices and better quality elseware.

  7. give locations of stores

  8. iam so happy that we are finally going to have a walmart anda supermarket of a superwalmart way to go costa rica pura vida ;that the way costa rica has become just like the usa and other parts of the world thanks anna deschamps hughes

  9. Waggoner41 says:

    Wal Mart has finally come out of the closet in re-naming their Hiper Mas stores Wal Mart.

    I for one am not impressed by Wal Mart and never have been since our says in California. Many of the products they were selling in the States were made in China and of extremely poor quality. The “furniture” is made up of plastic and particle board, the clothing seemed to be factory seconds and the cookware was extremely thin and cheap.

    In Ciudad Colon we have two major grocers, Pali and Super Mora. I find that the prices are competetive between the two for the items we buy at retail and our food shopping is dome primarily at the ferias and road side stands which are much cheaper than either of them.

    I don’t see Wal Mart as a particularly good thing for Costa Rica.

  10. Tony D. says:

    Well for quiet a while the Walmart Corporation owned several supermarkets chains here in Costa Rica: Hipermas, Pali, MaxiBodega and MasxMenos. Until recently (last couple of weeks) they announced the opening of the Walmart supermarkets which is going to be pretty much the same as the Hipermas we already have. Anyway, Walmarts huge success is because the hire local products in that way they can always offer low prices. That’s what makes us wonder how alike will be the Walmarts in CR to the ones in the US, that’s yet to be discover but don’t get your hopes up, because down here people rather to buy clothes at levis, nike or other well know brands than at the Hipermas, the cds selection is extremely poor. Things we can look forward is maybe furniture, appliances and some other stuff for the home but the food I believe is not going to be wow since again there’s not much selection in that either anywhere in the country unless they are planning to import from the US. So let’s see what happens.

  11. Virginia Mora Ureña says:

    75 mts de la entrada Barrio Maria Auxiliadora, Los Filtros de San Josecito de Alajuelita

  12. Tilly Holmes says:

    everything should be green these days, let us help mother earth’,’

  13. I am planning a vacation in Costa Rica in 2011 and Wal-Mart is not what I want to see.

  14. I would like to inform that, I am a Professional for extraction of Banana, Sisal, Pineapple fibers by Microbial action. It is a new Technology invented in India. This new Technology is sponsored by Central Government of India. I have done the Training for this new Technology.
    I am looking forward to introduce this new Technology to your Esteemed Country. For that purpose please send me the Address of Banana fibers Extractors of your Country. I am looking forward to get a positive reply from your side.
    for more details please call Mob. No.00919048877450 Email id sadiq.ali42@yahoo.com


    M.Sadiq Ali

  15. Abbie Hunt says:

    everyone should Go Green so that we can help the environment.`-‘

  16. It is funny to think that people intending to vacation in Costa Rica think that the Walmarts here are the same as in North America. Oh well! They will see when they get here.

  17. Poor people need Walmart, it’s a simple fact of life.

  18. Hazel Koffel says:

    Hi: Am planning a three months trip to Costa Rica and are so happy to know that you have Walmart there. This will mean that I will not have to buy and take nearly as many items.

    How close do you have one to Montezuma, CR.

    Anxiously waiting for your reply.
    Hazel Koffel


  1. […] that you can find in the U.S. also exists in Costa Rica. Even Applebees, Outback Steakhouse and Walmart can be found here. Credit cards are accepted in many places. In supermarkets baggers (aka […]

  2. […] conditions. And tending to the environment to help gain more favorable PR . More on this go to Costa Rica Wal-Mart… Optical WebBlog and […]

Speak Your Mind