Costa Rica is on a fast track to become one of Latin America’s best destinations for digital nomads. Remote workers flock to this idyllic country for an average of three to six months. Becoming a digital nomad is an option for anyone who can earn a living over the internet: remote yoga instructors, foreign language tutors, travel writers, translators and freelancers from all walks of life.The golden rule is, if you can work from home, then you can become a digital nomad.
Five Top Spots In Costa Rica For Digital Nomads
1. Santa Teresa, Guanacaste
Let’s start with the most budget-friendly option. For as little as $500 a month, you can rent an air-conditioned villa with relatively good WiFi. The area around Santa Teresa is well-known for its alternative, laid-back lifestyle, and offers plenty of options for surfing, yoga, swimming, reggae-bar hopping and socialising with your fellow digital nomads.
2. San Jose, Central Valley
Costa Rica’s capital city is a natural choice for those who love the hustle that comes with the big city lifestyle. It’s also perfect for those who want as many modern conveniences as close to their doorstep as possible. San Jose is a bustling city with a great mix of high-end and local eateries, good nightlife and plenty of museums and attractions to keep a person entertained.
3. Puerto Viejo, Limon
This area has a good number of nomad-friendly accommodation as well as fancy cafés and restaurants. By living and working in Puerto Viejo, you will get the best of both worlds in Costa Rica. You’ll have the big city vibe of San Jose while staying pretty close to the country’s Caribbean coast. Other points of interest include the Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, both of which are full of spectacular wildlife. The best time to visit the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is during rainy season as this is the driest spot in the country.
4. Playa Hermosa (Beautiful Beach), Guanacaste
The clue is in the name; ‘Beautiful Beach’ truly lives up to its moniker. It comes as little surprise that Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste consistently ranks as one of the best places in Costa Rica to live and visit. The beach has also won multiple awards in recent years. This place is an absolute paradise for surf-mad digital nomads. You will also be happy to know that this beach benefits from a high degree of environmental care and optimal safety standards, making it a popular choice for local people, tourists and nomads alike. The activities on offer include swimming, SCUBA diving, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and day trips to the fantastic Arenal Volcano. The big question will be whether you can get any of the work done with all this beauty and excitement around you!
5. Playa Samara, Guanacaste
The town is about a four-hour drive from San Jose, but you can reach it much quicker should you choose to travel by plane to the Liberia International Airport, after which it is a two-hour drive south-west to Sámara, via the town of Nicoya. Be warned, this is a relatively tiny place. There is a good mix of organic food stores, sunset yoga classes and plenty of seaside restaurants offering free WiFi (a rarity in Costa Rica). Playa Samara is home to a wonderful beachside community, which is a mixture of local people and migrants. Snorkelling, SCUBA and fishing are popular pastimes in the area. This place is not as developed as some of the others on the list but it does have a certain charm because of this. There are daily buses that connect Playa Samara to San Jose.
Useful Information About Costa Rica
Costa Rica isn’t quite as cheap as most people might think. Depending on the area, rent will set you back about 500-1000 USD per month.
The internet can be a bit temperamental, so take this into account when choosing where to stay. Wi-Fi speeds vary significantly and fibre optic is not widely available.
Sim cards are cheap and easy to obtain, you can pick one up for as little as two USD. While 4G is available in Costa Rica, coverage is sparse.
Costa Rica’s public transport system can take you all around the country from San Jose or Liberia for as little as 20 USD. Uber is only available in San Jose.
Eating out in Costa Rica is expensive; a pizza for one will cost you in the region of 15 USD. On the other hand, there is a good selection of fruit and veg in the local supermarkets at a reasonable price.
Digital nomads in Costa Rica will need to do a visa run every three months. Most people pop over to Nicaragua or Panama for a short visit, which usually takes a day.
What To Take With You For Work
Bring extra battery packs. It is common in rainy season for the power to go out, meaning it’s a good idea to buy a surge protector also.
Voltage is 110 in Costa Rica so bring several converters/adapters as they’re not super common in supermarkets.
Anything that has to do with technology is very expensive in Costa Rica, up to twice as much as in the US, so take extra care in your electronics. Bring plenty of USB cords, Apple cables and HDMI cables, and ensure you don’t lose your external hard drives, memory cards or CF card readers.
Have you lived in Costa Rica? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!