Working in Costa Rica
According to Costa Rica labor laws, a foreigner can not take the job of a Costa Rican. This means you can not come down here and get a job with one of the many corporations or hotels in Costa Rica without first obtaining a work permit. These are difficult to impossible to get as again, you can not take the job that a Costa Rican can do.
There is an exception to this law and that is in the type of residency that you file for. Under rentista or pensinado status you are not permitted to work. Under resident investor status you have many of the same benefits of a permanent resident including the ability to work. With a resident investor visa you can work as a Costa Rican with any job open to a Costa Rican. This does require an investment as does rentista status.
You can not work as a tourist. You can start your own business as a rentista or pensionada but you can not work in this business. This includes owning and working in a B & B. You can own your own B & B but you can’t do the cooking or the cleaning or any other jobs related to this business.
Immigration laws have changed a lot in the last year and working without the proper type of visa can get you deported from Costa Rica for 10 years.