Costa Rica has long depicted itself as the gem of Central America, set apart from the social strife, political instability and economic depressions that have hampered its Central American counterparts. Yet as we examine the country's rich historical tapestry, we will find that Costa Rica's current image and standing were not inevitable, nor simply a byproduct from being endowed with significant resources or colonial prestige. Rather, Costa Rica's reputation of being a nation shrouded in peace, democracy and stability was strategically produced over time. My thesis seeks to identify how Costa Rica has developed and maintained this image which has consistently centered on its social, political and economic exceptionalism in contrast to its Central American counterparts. In particular, I examine how Costa Rica has utilized Nicaragua's unstable image as well as Nicaraguan migrants as a foil to bolster its own iconic status. In addition, I argue that Costa Rica's image-making process has been shaped and even aided by geopolitical relations with the United States. Costa Rica's efforts to propagate a certain image have not necessarily been seamless and the country has had to strike a balance between its own domestic interests and that of the United States and other foreign entities. Yet throughout the periods of economic fluctuation and political and social uncertainty, Costa Rica has consistently found ways to advance its standing and align itself with entities and opportunities that would further enhance the country's international reputation. Motivational forces behind sustaining this representational strategy have been primarily driven by Costa Rica's political and economic elite. One of the primary factors behind this image-making strategy is to demonstrate to international leaders that Costa Rica deserves to be among select international circles and to have access to a special set of advantages and opportunities set aside for first-world elites. It is also important to note the significance of a political economy in sculpting and propagating a certain national image. In Costa Rica's case, the need to draw international corporations, investors and first-world travelers compels the state to develop and maintain an appealing national image. However, this study is not about the individuals promoting particular images on the international stage as much as it is about how the current image that is so widely reported and repeated came to be.