From Before I Play
- Depending on your islands fertility, build 3-4 tobacco or sugar farms, and when you can, build a cigar factory/rum disillery as appropriate. Congratulations, you now have almost infinite money to do whatever you want.
- Mines are pretty good too but they run out. They can be useful at the start because the workers don't need education and they have higher profits than just regular farms. Factories need highschool educated workers so build a high school as soon as you can.
- Spread out at the start. I tend to make the mistake of having everything clustered near where the game first gives you buildings. Then that area gets horribly congested in the late game. So you are better off just building more garages and spreading out.
- Save the "Viva Tropico" campaign mission for last, it's by far the trickiest. Stuff like entertainment, health care, liberty and housing quality are actually important for it. It does have a scripted event in the year 1965 for a mascot, pay for it to boost the overall happiness by 10 points.