Tropico 5 Tips and Tricks

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General Tips

Tropico has a population cap of around 2,030 citizens. It is really easy to hit that population cap and end up with a ton of open jobs. If you are getting close to the cap, look at retooling your industries and possibly importing resources to make more money.

The population cap can be raised through the options menu. But note that raising the population cap may lead to instability in your game. Hit Esc to open the Tropico menu, select Options and look for Population Limit on the right side of the menu. You can raise it in increments of 1,000, with 10,000 being the max population. 

Click on new mission bubbles! Tropico 5 is a lot more reliant on you clicking on the missions to move the campaign forward. So if you are stuck and nothing is happening, look around for a mission bubble that you may have missed. Mission bubbles usually show up at your palace.

To cycle between the different types of parks and buildings with multiple models, use the period and comma keys.

Always make sure you are looking at the available upgrades for your buildings. Many upgrades can benefit not just the building being upgraded, but nearby housing, education or agriculture. 

If you change crop type in a plantation or upgrade your housing, it will kick out all the employees or residents during the upgrade. If you do an "Upgrade All" on a large number of houses, your approval ratings will drop considerably. It will take some time for the residents to get moved back in. So do not upgrade all right before an election or you will lose!

Press CTRL+Click when setting a buildings budget to set the budget for all buildings of that type. Press Shift when placing buildings to place more than one building.

You can also send a military unit from your palace into the fog of war to reveal areas. Select your palace and you will see the button to explore for $1000 on the first tab. They will leave from the palace and head to the area you specified. They will reveal areas along the path they take to and from the area you selected. When they reach the area you select, they will reveal a large circle around the selected area. If you are strategic with the area you select, you can reveal a lot of territory with one expedition.


If you are worried about losing an election due to being unpopular, enable the martial law edict about a month before the election. Martial law will cancel the elections and give you time to boost your popularity. When you feel comfortable, remove martial law and the election will start up again and you will have another 12 months to gain support for reelection.


Always keep an eye on the trade deals. Look for products (like oil) with a cheap import contract and an expensive export contract to another nation. Put a ship on each contract and you will make money. Just make sure it is not a product your island uses. If you have a steel mill and you are importing Iron, your island might eat up your profit.

Raising the budget of docks raises the frequency of ships from every 6 months to every 3 months.

From Reddit /u/bluesatin, a explanation for why your island can get clogged up later in the game:
Teamsters split and transport goods depending on how many buildings exist of the destination's type. So if you have a single Marketplace then they'll transport food in chunks of 500 from the dock, which is quick and awesome, 2 trips to fill a marketplace!
Now it makes sense to do this splitting to share stuff around the island equally otherwise you'd have empty marketplaces, but unfortunately it kills efficiency extremely quickly.
I had something like 10 Marketplaces on my island I made, thinking that having lots of these Marketplaces would help with efficiency so people didn't have to travel very far to get food.
Unfortunately what it actually meant was that my Teamsters were transporting only 50 food per trip, which would get eaten up very quickly. So that by the time they'd transported the food there, they needed to go get some more. Causing an infinite loop of my Teamsters just trying to keep my population fed.
This means you HAVE to diversify your industries otherwise you'll start having problems with Teamsters just not transporting anything. I had 16 Jewellery workshops, so my Teamsters were transporting a whopping 31 gold per trip from Dock -> Jewellery Factory.
Since only the Marketplace building gives out food, you have to build as few as possible since you can't diversify like industries.
You cannot see export prices unless you are actually exporting the item. This is a guide to show you where you can see export prices.

Here is a general list of export prices in Tropico 5. (from Reddit /u/bluesatin)


From Reddit, Rsfjustin offers this tip on housing problems:
After learning so much through all the other much more knowledgeable redditors here there seems to be two major factors that influence housing for tropicans.
  1. The placement relative to workplace, unless you have the metro, most tropicans will only live so far from their workplace.
  2. The second one is the wealth required to live in them. You can check this by looking at the dialogue box for each house and adjust the budget accordingly. This can also be influenced by the Mortgage edict which lowers all the wealth required to live in each structure universally.
Protip: To get tenements to "broke" level wealth. You need to set the budget of the structure to the lowest level and enact the mortgage edict, this will get rid of any shacks in the vicinity.
Raw Resources

Tropico Wiki has a list of the different unprocessed and processed goods base prices as you go through the Eras.

I have also made a graphic that shows how the different industries develop through the Eras.

Ranches degrade the quality of nearby soil quickly. Do not place ranches clumped together, spread them out and if you notice the ranch is really ineffective it is because the soil quality is really low, fire all the workers and lock them out for a bit (right click on workers to fire, right click again to close the job) so the soil can recover.

Cattle ranches have the upgrade Manure Fertilizer which increases the effectiveness of nearby plantations. You can strategically place a ranch near plantations to take advantage of the Manure Fertilizer upgrade.

By looking in the Almanac under Economy in Resource Overview, you can see how much of a resource is produced, consumed, and exported.

The picture above shows you what a Mine looks like in Tropico 5. When you first start your game, look around your beginning settlement for the mines. You may get lucky and have one in the viable area near your settlement. If you see one but its surrounded by a fog, you need to go explore by the mine to discover it. To discover the mine, you must send your soldiers from your palace out to explore. To send your soldiers out, just click on your palace and the explore option will be right there under "Actions"

Foreign Policy

Positive relations with the world will open up trade routes. If you are looking to expand global trade, build embassies and praise all the different nations. An embassy can only praise one nation at a time and has cool downs between action. Build more embassies if you need to improve relations.

Education and Research

Museums have the "Field Trips" upgrade, which improves the effectiveness of nearby high schools. You can stack this effect with multiple museums near high schools.

Libraries provide research. Each Era has at least six different technologies, skills or Constitution options to research. More libraries allow you to research these technologies faster. Campaign mode in Tropico 5 allows you to continue working on the same island with the same structures. Some of the missions will require you to research technologies quickly in order to meet a deadline. So it is in your best interest to build many libraries in the early part of the campaign so you can quickly upgrade when you move into a new Era.

(Below tips credit to Scott B.)
Libraries are generally the only way to get Research Points in the Colonial Era, but after that they lag behind the value proposition, though not by much. If you are lucky to have an individual in the Colonial era (possibly a Dynasty member) with the Inventor manager skill, throw them in the building with the highest Effectiveness and they'll start to produce Research Points before you have a chance to get a Library up and running.

Starting in the World Wars era you get Universities and the Observatory. The University (with it's upgrade can produce 125 Research Points at a monthly cost of $100. Compare the $160 monthly cost to the 94 Research Points you get for the Library. The University also produces College Educated workers, so it's worthwhile in the long run to have at least 1 if not 2 later on. The Observatory has the same budget per month as 2 Libraries, but they require 2 less workers. With that said, if you do not have high ground, one Observatory produces about 12 less Research Points than two Libraries, but requires 2 less workers which can probably be put to better use. I'll note that my Observatory I checked for numbers had a +6 Height Effectiveness bonus so the base value of Research Points gained might be a lot less. I imagine with a +50 Height bonus, Observatories will produce more Research Points than an equivalent number of Libraries.

The Cold War doesn't provide any new Research building, except at the end when you can get the Space Program to end the era.

Modern Times Research has the Space Program which has a budget of $420 for 10 workers and consumes 70 power. The Space Program itself produces 300 Research Points. By comparison, 3 Libraries have a budget of $480, hire 9 workers and produce only 282 Research Points. If you dropped one worker from the Libraries, you would bring the budget to about $426 for 8 workers and produce approximately 250 Research Points (31.3 per worker). Space Program has the downside that it consumes Electricity

Modern Times also brings the Science Lab, which has a similar cost as the Space Program, but hires 6 workers as opposed to the 10 of the Space Program. The Science Lab produces a base of 280 Research Points and consumes 110 Power. The value is that it gives a +20 Effectiveness boost for each other Science building in the vicinity including the Library, Observatory, Space Program and other Science Labs, but not the University. Compared to 3 Libraries, it produces about the same number of Resarch Points, costs less and hires less workers.

All the above numbers were done on maximum budget in the Modern Times era with the Constitution Option that increases the Effectiveness of Buildings on Maximum budget. It's not to say that you shouldn't build Libraries, but more than 1 or maybe 2 is probably unnecessary given the other options. In most games, unless you get a late start building a Library in the Colonial era, you should be able to research all the technologies before your mandate runs out.

Police Stations, Fire Stations and Crime

Police Stations will help you discover special citizens. Special citizens include faction leaders and crime lords. Crime lords have a red marker over their heads once they have been discovered. You can banish or kill the crime lords to lower crime on your island, but be wary of upsetting your citizens when you kill or banish someone.

Fire Departments no longer exist. Police stations now have an upgrade for a fire brigade.

Make Theocracy the religious policy of your Constitution. This makes religion buildings reduce crime. So if you build a religious building near a building that creates crime, the religious building will cut down on the crime. (h/t Erman Aydemir)

Special Citizens, Faction Leaders and Crime Lords

Check out this post on how to discover and see the special citizens on your island.

Pre-1850 - Colonial Rule

Check out my guides on How to Declare Independence and my Walkthrough for the First Campaign Missions for helpful hints on how to move through the Colonial Era.

The Colonial Era is the most unique era in the game. You need to balance growth against the timer running on your Royal Mandate. Here are some tips if you are having trouble:
  • Balance growth with population. Even if you have the money, you may not have the population to support new growth. I try to keep at least 20-30 jobs open throughout the island in case a ship brings a large number of new citizens.
    • The Crown missions offer a chance to add 10 new citizens. The Revolutionary missions offer a chance to add 3 new educated citizens. Be careful adding citizens from the Crown missions because they will not support you as you move towards independence. I usually take the citizens from the Crown missions in the early part of the game only. I always take the 3 educated citizens from the Revolutionary missions.
  • Your money maker in the Colonial Era is cash crops. I prefer to plant cotton if the soil is good for it. Cotton has the mechanization upgrade, which lowers the number of workers by two. When you are hurting for population, it is nice to free up a bunch of workers from your plantations.
    • Cotton will also come in handy during the World Wars Era. Cotton and Wool (Llama Ranch) are combined in the textile factory to make you lots of money!
  • Build more than one dock. This allows for a more consistent cash flow as more ships come to all the different docks. Also, the number of trade ships available is determined by the number of docks you have.
  • Do not spend money just because you have the money on hand. Spend money when you have extra citizens available who can take jobs. Otherwise your building will just sit there with no workers and cost you money.
    • The Colonial Era can be frustrating because sometimes you just need to wait for new citizens, construction to complete, or for a mission to complete. Remember to be patient while also keeping an eye on how much time you have left on your mandate.

Before the cold war era, don't bother with a corn plantation. It will produce WAY more than your island can eat, clog your teamsters and docks with tons of low-value exports and generally gum up your economy.
The solution: Import corn. Corn is dirt cheap to import and won't flood your teamsters. A single trade ship importing corn is all you'll ever need.
Just wait until you've built your first grocer (so the corn has somewhere to go) before you start importing. The same can be said for fish if you lack a local fish resource.
Once you enter the cold war era and factory farms become available, growing your own corn for both consumption and animal feed becomes more viable and economically sound, provided you build yourself a healthy number of factory farms.

1900-1950 - World Wars Era

Game Play Inside has a guide on making money in the World Wars Era.

If you go with the military Constitution option which requires a high school education for your soldiers, many of your military buildings will be empty when you move into the World Wars Era. Start the era with no high school education for soldiers selected in the Constitution. You can change this later on after you have built a few high schools.

Moving from any of the Era's to the next will require you to retool your industry because exports from old eras go down in price.

1950-2000 - Cold War Era

The Cold War Era brings you many improvements in your service buildings like the Hospital and new buildings like the vehicle factory. Oil as a natural resource export becomes important in this era so ensure you check for oil deposits and get them producing by building on them.

The vehicle factory has the highest return on investment for this era. You will need to research the wheel to get access to the vehicle factory.

If you are finding yourself short on workers, you will need to open your borders.

2000-2050 - Modern Times

Work in Progress


  1. Great site and links. Thanks for your efforts.

  2. if you place 4 logging camps in a 2x2 format on road it will replenish your forest with endless logs forever

    1. Please could you elaborate ? What is a 2x2 structure ?

  3. What do you do if your military not loyal to you?

  4. How do you attract more people to Tropico? and for the trade, can't Tropico be completely self-sufficient and export only?

    1. Yes can be selfsuffient on crops and livestock, but mines and petroleum get exhausted. Also this is not as profitable as importing a good deal and exporting at high price. I am experimenting with importing whenever I can even at slight loss, to avoid exhausting my mines.

    2. I try not to exhaust my resources, so import gold and planks to make furniture and jewelry, for example, but my imports often just stay at the docks and then get exported even though I have teamsters nearby! I have gold at the dock, but the jewelry factory is not producing.
      Is there anyway to control your imports and exports?

  5. I can do everything except the "Jobs". It is always very low, understood that you want lots of people to come to your island but how do you create jobs for all of them. Note: not job happiness. I build tons of factories hoping that it will help but it doesn't seem to do the trick. Advice on how to create more jobs?

    1. keep in mind most (if not all) factories require high school educated workers, most of your tropicans will be illiterate, so focus on plantations until you have an effective enough education system

    2. I have the opposite problem. I try to get my happiness high. I believe the more happiness the more people will come. The lower and they leave. I use Guarded Heaven and still people come. But to strictly answer your question, to create many cheap jobs I recommend timber camps or farms. But personally I don't want a lot of those cheap illiterate jobs. I want to slowly have more educated jobs, but you can't rush that because you have to educate the workers.

  6. How does the building that transport goods work, how many do I need, and dp they only work in a certain area?
    Also my docks gets overladed 2-3 of them gets all the goods while 2-3 gets none, so the ship anchoring there is quite useless :(.
    Many thx for any advice

    1. I think you cannot control where the ships dock. I find that annoying. I wish I could ban certain goods from being exported and imported from particular docks. The number of Teamsters Offices you need depends on how much goods is being moved around. If your farms have thousands of product, you need more teamsters, if your factories are empty but you have resources at docks or farms, need more teamsters. Personally I am always understaffed on Teamsters. But they are a cheap job that takes housing, food, entertainment, so I'd rather not have a lot of them but I do always seem to need more. One solution is to stop building cheap stuff. Only build expensive exports. They are smaller in quantity so less goods to move around.

    2. I think teamsters drop goods at the closest dock. Also the closer you build primary production (fields/farms) to factories and docks the less time spent carting goods around. You can see which buildings are full of goods by zooming in and looking for little cubes (or stacks of logs etc). And selecting the teamster office you can see where they are, how far away they have to go, observe them for a little while and if upping funding doesn't fix your transport problems build another office on the main routes. Later on your roads can get gummed up with traffic which is where you build a mass transit and enact the car pooling edict

    3. Also, too many docks in colonial era majorly lowers your crime rating before you have an opportunity to deal with it by building cop shops - makes reaching 50% harder

  7. I have found this site very useful. To date I have not been able to finish the game to my satisfaction. When I enter the internet era I always end up with a lot of empty jobs & I see now it's because I have reached the population cap of around 2030! I am rarely able to convert all or many of my apartments to modern apartments & offices before I either go broke or I am overthrown by a military coup! It's interesting to destroy taverns in favour of fast food joints but the problem is I am unable to supply enough electricity due to lack of workers! I tried destroying Grocers for Supermarkets and Clinics for Hospitals. They seem to work too but destroying Churches for Cathedrals doesn't. Yes I am rarely able to get to hydroponics stage before things start collapsing. As for the population cap would it be possible to start killing the population that don't work like children & oldies in favour of working age? I doubt it would help your popularity!

  8. great site! i wish there were more like it, thanks for the tips, keep up the terrific work guy!

  9. I've an assignment called '' pay the ransom '' it appeared in CW era and now I'm in modern Era still not able to find from where should or can I pay that! Any idea?

    1. Click on the assignment itself (pc) or push the R3 button (ps4) and you will see the assignment with the option to pay.

  10. I've an assignment called '' pay the ransom '' it appeared in CW era and now I'm in modern Era still not able to find from where should or can I pay that! Any idea?

  11. In the options you will find a setting to allow more than 2000 population. You will get a warning this might lead to instability, so use at your own risk. But it is possible to set it to 10000 if you want.

  12. Oh, and a nice tip for elections: If you're behind 48 to 52 for example you can simply buy the needed votes.
    What you do is: go to the almanac and popular support. You will see a list of all people on the island with high popularity first, going all the way down to 1% favorability.
    Now when you bribe a citizen he/she will gain 20 points favorability. So just check out the 49-31 range, click people and bribe them.
    Note that bribing costs a different amount based on the personal wealth. A rich person takes in 5000, while a broke person can be bought with 500 credits. But do check whether they're eligible to vote!

  13. Any tips to reach over 1 million credits???

    1. Make sure that most of your workers are doing things that produce money. Try to focus on illiterate workers jobs, since you don't have to spend money educating them. The easiest/safest would be to have lots of farms with some housing close to them (add teamsters as needed). Also, create lots of taverns or other entertainment buildings that require illiterate workers (This keeps entertainment at a reasonable level, produces money and reduces unemployment of illiterates= win). After you reach the 100k mark, you should consider building 4 banks, put them at maximum efficiency and put tycoon managers on them and they will start gushing money. Ah, and probably one of the most important, always have your trade routes running (be careful with not upsetting a faction, though. Unless you can fight them, of course).

  14. All the citizens of my country become too wealthy by the modern era. So nobody work the plantations and factories, then my country loses money. I need a way of keeping people poor, but not so poor they start rioting or emigrating. I never get past 600 Tropicans, even with contraception ban and loads of jobs and housing.

    1. for making people less wealthy try wealth tax

    2. I think jobs depend on education level, rather than wealth status. Wealth status affect the services (entertainment,healthcare, even food) and housing that a citizen can have.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. do you need to pair a teamster with a garage or does the teamsters have their own transportation?

  17. I can't seem to be abol to pass The nuclear pawer misión

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  19. personally recommend this game, and it's completely free to play on the browser and just $5 on Steam. (I play it on Steam myself. It just loads better for me there.) Gamerbolt