San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Airport duty free stores expanding

Did you know that buying Duty Free in Costa Rica helps contribute to social programs to combat poverty? 

The Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) runs Duty Free stores here, which are located in both the Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, and the Daniel Oduber International Airport, in Liberia, the capital of northwestern Guanacaste province. 

This year those stores unveiled a new sales slogan, called “Shopping with Social Responsibility.” 

IMAS’ Fernando Sánchez said the slogan helps remind shoppers that each purchase generates revenue for IMAS social programs, including improvements to schools, pedestrian bridges and rural community projects.

Another program, “Productive Ideas,” helps train and finance small businesses. 

“It’s important to let people know why IMAS Duty Free stores exist and where the money goes,” Sánchez said.

In 2012, IMAS began remodeling and expanding some of these shops, including a new store near the baggage claim area in Juan Santamaría. 

Geovany Flores, administrative manager of the Duty Free shops, noted that before expansion – the store is set to more than triple in size – 2011 sales topped $519,000. Now, the baggage claim store offers several new products, including perfumes, electronics, beauty products and other items. Sales last December alone totaled $843,000. 

Two more stores will be built in sections D and E of the airport, with new items for sale including watches, jewelry and top-shelf liquor.

Contact Alberto Font at

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