After years of efforts to enhance Costa Rica’s presence in the niche of convention tourism, the National Congress and Convention Center (CNCC for its initials in Spanish) finally opened its doors on April 5th, 2018. This inauguration marks a milestone for the ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism), institution that provided the funds for the center’s construction.

The $35 million investment shows. The grounds of the CNCC total 10 hectares (24.7 acres) and the building itself boasts a total of 15,600 square meters (168,000 square feet) of construction. Specially designed with an ecological as well as technological focus, the center is a tribute to Costa Rican culture.

The CNCC is divided into 8 different halls of various sizes, 6 meeting rooms, a press room, a VIP room, and a state of the art kitchen area.

The main conference hall, the Talamanca Auditorium (named after Costa Rica’s largest mountain range), was designed for conventions of up to 4,600 people, while in total, the whole center can host up to 5,600 participants. The interior offers a modern feel, yet it is an ambience that pays homage to the country’s cultural heritage. Paintings, sculptures, and artwork by national artists adorn its generous inner spaces, as well as an abundance of plants.

Its chosen location in Barreal, Heredia is also key. Situated to one side of the Inter-American Highway, the CNCC is only 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and only 10 kilometers (6,2 miles) from downtown San Jose. The locality offers plentiful and convenient accommodation options for visitors, from at least 1,334 to 4,587 available hotel rooms in a 3 to 7 kilometer (1.8 to 4.4 mile) radius.

The center is managed by Heroica Trejos Group, a Colombian-Costa Rican consortium. The firm expects the CNCC to attract at least $4 million in business for what remains of 2018 and around $38 million in activities during the next four years. This investment projection has prompted the private tourism sector into action, with firms – including Camino Travel & Premio DMC – devoting resources to software acquisitions, infrastructure, and personnel. The boost provided by the inauguration of the CNCC will enhance Costa Rica’s tourism and will further solidify its worldwide reputation not only as an ecological and adventure travel haven, but as a congress destination as well.

According to El Financiero, 13.4% of foreign travelers arriving at Juan Santamaria airport in 2016 visited the country in relation to MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) tourism. Although increasing these figures is one of the main objectives, linking MICE travel to all other available kinds of tourism is also part of the strategy. Convention delegates can choose to take advantage of all Costa Rica has to offer, such as taking part in cultural tours, visiting beaches, hiking across national parks, participating in white water rafting expeditions, etc.
There is no doubt the National Congress and Convention Center marks a new beginning for convention travel in Costa Rica. Its inauguration coincided with news of the country being chosen as the host of Fiexpo, considered the most important event in the Latin American convention sector, for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025.

With the CNCC, the national tourism industry strives to permanently pin Costa Rica on the map of top international convention destinations.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Helena Chavarria Saxe at