costa rica digital nomad guide
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Costa Rica Digital Nomad Guide – Live & Work Remotely (2023)

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Guide – Live & Work Remotely

Are you thinking about making the move to Costa Rica? If so, you’re not alone. In recent years, Costa Rica has become a hugely popular destination for remote workers and digital nomads from all over the world.

It’s not hard to see why. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and laid-back lifestyle, Costa Rica is the perfect place to live and work remotely.

But before you pack your bags and head to paradise, there are a few things you should know about moving to Costa Rica.

In this digital nomad guide, we’ll cover everything from visas and internet speeds, to finding an apartment and the best place to find online work.

So whether you’re just starting to research your move or you’re already packing your bags, this guide will give you all the information you need to make your transition to Costa Rica as smooth as possible. 

costa rica macaw flying

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Guide

Best Places To Work Remotely in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the most popular countries to work remotely, with some stunning places to call your new home

If you’re considering making the move to Costa Rica, here are a few of the best places to work remotely

1. Tamarindo 

tamarindo costa rica

Tamarindo is a quaint beach town located on the pictueresque northwest coast of Costa Rica.

It’s always been a popular destination for surfers and travelers from all over the world, but recently it has also become a hub for people leading the location independent lifestyle.

Tamarindo is such a great place to work remotely, because there are plenty of coworking spaces, cafes, and restaurants with rapid Wi-Fi, as well as a great community of people around you.

You’ll also find that most hotels and Airbnbs are equipped with great Wi-Fi, making it easy to stay connected. 

Top 3 Things To Do in Tamarindo

2. Puerto Viejo 

puerto viejo costa rica

Puerto Viejo is a laid-back beach town located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and disconnect from work, Puerto Viejo is the perfect spot.

That said, there are still plenty of places to get work done in Puerto Viejo.

There are several coworking spaces and coffee shops with Wi-Fi, and most hotels and Airbnbs offer good Wi-Fi as well. 

Top 3 Things To Do in Puerto Viejo

3. Manuel Antonio 

manuel antonio

With its white-sand beaches, lush vegetation, and abundance of wildlife, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica.

It’s also a great place to set up shop if you’re looking for a remote working destination with a bit of a natural playground at your doorstep.

There are plenty of coworking spaces and cafes in Manuel Antonio where you can set up shop for the day, and when 5 o’clock rolls around you can hit the beach or go for a hike in the national park. 

Top 3 Things To Do in Manuel Antonio

4. Nosara 

nosara costa rica

If yoga, meditation, and clean eating are more your speed than surfing and bar-hopping, Nosara might be the ideal remote working destination for you.

This wellness-focused town is located on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula and is home to plenty of yoga retreats and holistic health centers.

You’ll have no problem finding a place to plug in your laptop and get some work done; there are several coworking spaces in Nosara as well as countless cafes serving up healthy (and delicious) food options. 

Top 3 Things To Do in Nosara

5. San Jose 

san jose costa rica

San Jose might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of an idyllic tropical working vacation, but this bustling city definitely has its charms – especially if you’re looking for an authentic taste of Costa Rican culture.

While it’s not exactly beachfront living, San Jose does have plenty of parks and green spaces where you can enjoy some fresh air and sunshine between work sessions.

And with its abundance of restaurants, bars, and clubs, you’ll never find yourself bored after hours either.  

Top 3 Things To Do in San Jose

More of the Best Places to Work Remotely in Costa Rica

costa rica moving guide

How to Move to Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica as a digital nomad is relatively easy, especially since the government is now encouraging the recent influx of remote workers.

Once you take the leap, you’ll have an apartment waiting, great communities of people all around (and not just at beaches!), as well as plenty coworking options nearby too!

If you’re thinking of making the move to Costa Rica, here are a few things you should know:

1. You’ll need a visa. >> check the full visa guide below <<

Unless you’re from one of the countries that are exempt from visa requirements, you’ll need to obtain a visa before you move to Costa Rica.

The good news is that there are a number of visa options available, so there’s likely one that will fit your needs. For more information, click here.

2. You’ll need a passport.

In addition to a visa, you’ll also need a valid passport to enter Costa Rica.

3. You’ll need to find a place to live.

Costa Rica is a popular destination for expats, so there are plenty of housing options available.

However, it’s important to do your research and find the right neighborhood and apartment for your needs.

TOP TIP: Check the Wi-Fi speed before signing any long-term lease. And if you’re looking at Airbnbs, ask your host to send a screenshot of the upload and download speed.

check wifi speed costa rica

4. You’ll need to have an income / savings

If you’re planning to move to Costa Rica as a retiree, you can go ahead and skip this part. However if you’re a digital nomad, you’ll be pleased to now that Costa Rica has an abundance of remote work opportunities!

One of the benefits of moving to Costa Rica is that it’s easy to find work as a remote worker or digital nomad, especially since you’re on the same time zone as the US.

There are a number of great resources available, such as the Costa Rica Job Board and RemoteOK.

costa rica volcano

5. You’ll need to learn Spanish.

Although English is widely spoken in Costa Rica, it’s still a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases before you move.

This will make life in Costa Rica much easier and help you connect with locals on a deeper level.

6. You’ll need to get used to the Latin culture.

Costa Ricans are known for their friendly and laid-back attitude, but it’s still important to be aware of some cultural differences before making the move.

For example, punctuality isn’t always considered important in Latin cultures, so don’t be surprised if people are late for appointments or meetings.

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costa rica culture

What is the Cost of Living in Costa Rica?

The cost of living in Costa Rica varies depending on what you include in your budget.

A basic monthly budget for a single person could be under $1000. This would include rent, food, transportation, and utilities. If you want to add in extras like cable TV or internet, that will increase your costs.

The average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $500-800 USD per month, but this depends on where you choose to live. Small apartments in Tamarindo or Santa Teresa, are likely to cost more than a relatively large apartment in San Jose.

You can find apartments for every budget. Like anywhere, it all depends on the quality of the accommodation you choose and the location.

Food costs vary depending on what you eat, but a general estimate would be around $200 – $300 per month for groceries.

Transportation costs depend on how much you use public transportation and taxis versus renting a car or motorcycle.

Overall, you can expect to spend around $1,000 – $1,500 per month living in Costa Rica as a digital nomad.

costa rica beach view

How to Find a Place to Live in Costa Rica

One of the challenges of moving to a new country is finding a place to live.

If you’re moving without knowing anyone in Costa Rica, your best bet is to start by looking for furnished apartments in popular expat areas like Tamarindo or Puerto Viejo.

These areas have large expat communities and offer plenty of amenities and activities for foreigners. 

Another option is renting an Airbnb for your first month or two while you search for a more permanent place to live.

This can be a great way to get acclimated to your new surroundings while getting some help from your Airbnb host with things like finding a grocery store or signing up for utilities. 

somewhere to live costa rica

Signing Up For Utilities 

Once you’ve found a place to live, the next step is signing up for utilities like water, electricity, trash service, and internet.

This can be done online through various utility companies’ websites or in person at their offices.

Be sure to have your passport and visa handy as most companies will require one of these forms of identification when signing up for service.  

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What is the Internet Speed in Costa Rica

The average internet speed in Costa Rica is 8 Mbps. However, many rural areas still only have access to 3G or 4G speeds.

If you’re looking for a faster connection, you may want to consider moving to a more urban area, or asking your landlord / host beforehand what their average internet speed is.

You can find the latest reported internet speeds for places like Tamarindo, San Jose, Samara and Puerto Viejo on Nomadlist.

costa rica visa field view

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

One of the first things you’ll need to do before moving to Costa Rica is apply for a visa. Here are a few of the options

Digital Nomad Visa

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad visa is a new visa that was created specifically for digital nomads. This visa allows you to stay in Costa Rica for up to 6 months and work remotely.

To apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad visa, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • A letter from your employer or client confirming that you will be working remotely
  • A copy of your passport and travel itinerary
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation in Costa Rica

You can find more information about the application process here.

costa rica manuel antonio

Tourist Visa

If you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, or most European countries, you can apply for a tourist visa when you arrive in Costa Rica. This visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days.

After that, you can either apply for an extension or leave the country and re-enter on a new tourist visa. 

Residence Visa

If you’re planning on living in Costa Rica long-term, you’ll need to apply for a residency visa.

There are several types of residency visas available, but the most common is the pensionado visa, which is available to retirees who receive a pension from an outside source (such as Social Security in the United States).

To qualify for this visa, you’ll need to show proof of income of at least $1,000 per month from a retirement fund or pension. 

costa rica beach view tropical

Vaccinations

In addition to a visa, there are also a few vaccinations that are recommended (or required) for travel to Costa Rica. These include vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, rabies, and typhoid fever.

Be sure to check with your doctor or travel clinic before your trip to ensure that you have all the vaccinations that you need. 

costa rica health insurance

Costa Rica Health Insurance for Nomads

You’ll need to make sure that you have adequate health insurance coverage when moving to Costa Rica.

The public healthcare system in Costa Rica is generally quite good, but it’s not free. You’ll be required to pay a nominal fee for most medical services.

However, if you need specialty care or medications not available in Costa Rica, your health insurance will need to cover those costs.

There are excellent health insurance companies that offer plans specifically for travelers and expats.

Make sure to do your research and choose a plan that’s right for you.

If you’re not sure where to start, we can recommend Safety Wing Nomad Health Insurance.

costa rica volcanic beach

9 Reasons to Move to Costa Rica as a Digital Nomad

Still need more convincing that Costa Rica is the right choice for you?

Ok fine, here are our top 9 reasons to move to Costa Rica as a digital nomad:

1. The Weather is Perfect

One of the best things about Costa Rica is the weather. The average temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), and it rarely gets too hot or too cold. Costa Rica also has a wet and dry season, which means that you can enjoy the beach all year round.

2. There are No Taxes on Foreign Income

If you’re a digital nomad, one of the most important things to consider is taxes. In Costa Rica, there are no taxes on foreign income, which means that you can keep more of your hard-earned money.

3. Healthcare is Affordable and Good Quality

Another important consideration for digital nomads is healthcare. In Costa Rica, healthcare is both affordable and high-quality. In fact, Costa Rica has some of the best hospitals in Latin America.

Check Out Safety Wing Nomad Health Insurance

4. The Cost of Living is Affordable

The cost of living in Costa Rica is very affordable, especially when compared to other countries in Latin America. For example, a meal at a restaurant will only cost you about $10 USD, and a cup of coffee will only set you back around $1!

5. There are Lots of Co-Working Spaces Available

If you need a place to work, you’ll be happy to know that there are many co-working spaces available in Costa Rica. Co-working spaces are great places to meet other digital nomads and get some work done at the same time.

6. The Internet is Fast and Reliable

As a digital nomad, one of your most important considerations will be the quality of the internet connection. In Costa Rica, the internet is both fast and reliable, so you’ll be able to get work done without any problems.

7. You Can Learn Spanish Easily

If you don’t already know Spanish, moving to Costa Rica is a great opportunity to learn the language. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, and there are many resources available to help you learn it quickly and easily.

8. There’s So Much to Do in Your Free Time

When you’re not working, you’ll want to have things to do in your free time. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in Costa Rica. You can go surfing, hiking, zip-lining, or just relax on the beach with a good book.

9. You Can Meet Like-minded People Easily

One of the best things about being a digital nomad is that you can meet like-minded people from all over the world. And since there are many digital nomads living in Costa Rica, it’s easy to find people who share your interests and lifestyle

Best Places in the World For Digital Nomads

costa rica rainforest canopy

Costa Rica Digital Nomad FAQ

Is Costa Rica Safe?

Costa Rica is a safe country to live in. Although there are some petty crimes, such as theft, Costa Rica is still a very safe place to be. The police are very effective in preventing and solving crimes, so you will be safe living here.

What is the Time Zone in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is in the Central Standard Time Zone. This also covers 20 states in the US, parts of Canada, Mexico and Central America.

What is the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa?

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa is a special visa for digital nomads who want to move to Costa Rica and work remotely. This visa allows you to stay in Costa Rica for up to six months, and it can be renewed if you need to stay longer. To qualify for this visa, you must show that you have a valid reason for moving to Costa Rica, such as working remotely or starting your own business.

Is Costa Rica Expensive?

Costa Rica can be expensive if you are not careful. The cost of living in Costa Rica is higher than in many other countries in Central America, so you will need to be mindful of your spending. However, there are also many ways to save money here, so you can still enjoy your time in Costa Rica without breaking the bank.

Do You Need a Passport to Fly to Costa Rica from USA?

Yes, you will need a passport to fly to Costa Rica from the United States. You will also need a valid visa, such as the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, to enter Costa Rica.

What’s the Weather Like in Costa Rica?

The weather in Costa Rica is tropical, so it’s hot and humid all year round. The average temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can get as high as 90 degrees during the summer months.
The rainy season runs from May to November, and the dry season runs from December to April.

Where is Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is located in Central America. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Why Move to Costa Rica as a Digital Nomad?

Costa Rica is a paradise for digital nomads who are looking for beautiful beaches, friendly people, and good Wi-Fi.

If you’re considering making the move to Costa Rica, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, or Puerto Viejo are three of our top picks as the best places to work remotely.

With its beautiful scenery and friendly locals, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is such a popular destination for digital nomads.

And with this guide in hand, you’ll be well on your way to planning your move and starting your new life as a digital nomad in Costa Rica!

READ MORE: Best Places For Digital Nomads To Work Online

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