Tropico 4 Tips and Tricks

Getting Started with Your El Presidente

In addition to your Presidente's looks, you will need to set their traits. Traits are aspects of the presidente's history, abilities, and life. These traits give advantages but some come with downsides. The traits need to be leveled up by playing and completing games with those traits in effect. El Presidente gets three traits You can see the different traits here.

The traits are stackable and can give some pretty awesome bonuses. To get the best effect from traits, you will need to decide how you want to play before you even get in the game and stack the traits appropriately. 

A few ideas include:

Tourism Build
Background: Hotel Corporate Buyout: Free Hotel, Better Tourism, and Better US Relations: Sociable: Better Tourist Rating, Well Traveled: Better Tourist Rating, Scholarly: Faster Skills
No Pollution or Crime Build
Background: Naturalist (or Chief of Police)
Trait 1: Incorruptible
Trait 2: Green Thumb
Trait 3: Vigilante
Result if Naturalist (or Police Chief)
-80% Pollution (-30% Pollution)
-60% Crime (-90% Crime)
-50% Chance of Criminals
and a bunch of respect with Intellectuals and Environmentalists.
Getting Started on Your Island

The first thing you should do when you get to your island is bring up the overlays. The overlay button is the amoeba-ish blob above the island map in the lower left corner. The information gained from the overlay can show you the best places for the different types of crops, minerals for mining, and area's with high beauty/tourism potential.

You also want to look at the trade tab in the almanac to determine the best crop for your island. On the left side you have your Trade Overview. Compare your island growing conditions to the export prices listed under the trade overview. Go with the export that can be grown easily on your island and sells for a good price. So if Pineapple is selling for close to 3000 and you have a good spot to grow it near your starting area, then you should consider putting down a few pineapple farms and some ranches. Also consider what raw resources you can improve upon. Pineapple may net you good returns, but if you also have good growing conditions for sugar, you can turn that into rum with a rum factory.

Ranches are also a good option for starting islands because the building only requires two employees and Llama Wool or Beef can sell for a lot.

Once you've looked over your island and decided on your starting industry, you need to build a basic transportation system.


I highly recommend reading FritoPasta's Transportation Guide, it is a extremely good guide on building the most efficient road system in Tropico 3. A lot of his Tropico 3 observations will apply to Tropico 4.

However, if part of the fun of playing Tropico is figuring things out for yourself, here are a few tips:
  • Tropican's will take the shortest route to their destination.
  • Try to avoid four way stops, they will lead to traffic jams when your island grows.
  • Do not place Garages near four way stops.
  • Try to keep the roads between farms and industry clear of city centers. Teamsters will be able to transport raw materials without causing traffic in city centers.
  • Try to keep factories near the docks where they will be exported.
Housing near Needs

Tropican's will work when they do not need to fill a need, and they will work till they need to fill a need. Tropican's needs include sleep, hunger, healthcare, entertainment, and religion. To get the most work out of your Tropican's, keep their housing (sleep) near marketplaces (hunger), churches (religion), clinics (healthcare), and entertainment buildings.

When you first start out, focus on building some industry buildings in order to get your economy going before you invest in Churches, Clinics, and entertainment buildings. Your population is still small so you want your Tropican's working at farms and ranches, not pubs.

Tropican's needs are always ticking, so if your Tropican is stuck in traffic going to work, they will work shorter hours.

Slowly Build Up Services

Focus on building income producing buildings when you first start. If you build too many service buildings (clinics and churches) and not enough income buildings you will have trouble paying for those services. Tropican's will eventually ask for buildings that fulfill their needs or fulfill their faction agenda but you have time to slowly build up. You can build some income recapture buildings such as entertainment buildings.


The best guide for making a tourist island comes from nowfocus on Steam. He really does a good job of explaining tourism, attractions, tourist types, and hotels.


To open up most of the edicts, you need to hire a minister after you build a ministry. You can see a list of edicts here. Ministers need to have specific prerequisites which are listed in the table below.

Ministry positionProfessional experience required
Minister of the EconomyBankershopkeeperjournalist, or customs officer
Minister of EducationTeacher or professor
Minister of Foreign AffairsBureaucrat or journalist
Minister of the InteriorPolicemanSWAT member, or secret agent
Minister of DefenseSoldier or general.
The Minister of Defense is usually one of the first slots you can fill with a soldier from your palace. Depending on your playstyle for your game, you might prefer certain edits over others. Edicts like Free Housing, Food for the People, and Literacy Program are good for making your Tropicans happy and smart. Otherwise, ready about the different edicts and decide which ones will work for your playstyle.

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