If you’re a digital nomad wondering where to go next (or if this is your first trip!), you’re in luck. Costa Rica has become a hotspot for digital nomads, and they even have a new visa specifically for remote workers.
When it comes to living the digital nomad lifestyle, there are few places better than Costa Rica. This guide will share everything you need to know about the country – from visa info and cost of living to best cities for digital nomads.
Read more: 7 Ways Digital Nomads Make Money Online
Is Costa Rica good for digital nomads?
There are many reasons why working remotely in Costa Rica is an excellent idea. Let’s take a look at some top benefits of being a digital nomad in Costa Rica.
- Incredible weather: You can’t beat Costa Rica’s lovely tropical climate that lasts all year.
- Picturesque scenery: The scenery is unlike any other from beautiful beaches to lush rainforests.
- Rich culture: Costa Rica is a melting pot, and the culture is a dynamic blend of various cultures. This shows in the local history, food, and activities.
- Fun activities: Aside from cultural activities, digital nomads can appreciate endless outdoor experiences, a lively nightlife, and more.
- Simple and affordable WiFi options: Many places offer WiFi, and SIM cards are available anywhere, offering reliable internet.
- Easy to travel to other places: Costa Rica is close to many places in Central and North America, making travel to other places relatively easy.
- Public transportation & walkability: Speaking of travel, most of the best areas in Costa Rica offer public transportation, and many are also very walkable.
- The digital nomad visa option: We’ll go into more details about this below, but a new visa makes it easier than ever for digital nomads to go to Costa Rica.
Of course, with good always comes so bad. While there aren’t many drawbacks to being a digital nomad in Costa Rica, there are a few. While the internet is widely available, it can be somewhat unreliable sometimes. Costa Rica is also more expensive than other popular digital nomad destinations like Southeast Asia.
Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
As we mentioned above, working remotely in Costa Rica is better than ever because of the new Costa Rica digital nomad visa. This visa is available for all kinds of digital nomads, including business owners, freelancers, and remote workers.
Costa Rica has always welcomed digital nomads, and now they’ve made the process of living here even easier. If you’re a digital nomad with proof of income of at least $3,000 per month from outside of Costa Rica, you can now stay for up to a year without having to leave every few months to renew your visa. You’ll also need to have proof of health insurance for the entire time you plan to stay.
Note: If you want to stay in Costa Rica even longer than a year, you can apply for an additional year.
Apply for the digital nomad Costa Rica visa here or contact an immigration firm for help.
Best Cities in Costa Rica for Digital Nomads
Costa Rica is a great place for digital nomads, with many affordable and interesting cities to choose from. San José is the capital and largest city, with plenty of coworking spaces and cafes perfect for working remotely. Each city has its own unique charms and attractions, so find the one that suits you best!
- Jaco, Central Pacific (for surfing and partying)
- Santa Teresa, Guanacaste
- Playa Samara, Guanacaste
- San Jose, Central Valley
- Puerto Viejo, Limon
Jaco, Central Pacific
Jaco is the perfect destination if you’re a digital nomad who enjoys surfing and partying during your free time. This relaxed beach town is less than 2 hours from San José, and it’s filled with locals, tourists, and digital nomads.
In Jaco, you can find many accommodation options, a vibrant nightlife scene, and excellent beaches. You can also appreciate other activities in and around Jaco, like hiking, ziplining, shopping, and dining. Best of all, it’s easy to get around Jaco without a car.
Where to work in Jaco
- Café Bohío: a relaxed, locally-owned coffee shop
- Selina Jaco Cowork: a beachfront coworking space, also offers accommodations and fitness classes
Tamarindo, North Pacific
Like Jaco, Tamarindo is a laid-back beach town with excellent surfing opportunities. However, it has less of a party vibe, so it’s perfect for digital nomads looking to work, relax, and hang out on the beach.
Tamarindo is also called Tama Gringo because of its high population of foreigners. It’s easy to make friends with other nomads here, and there are plenty of things to do during your time off, especially if you like outdoor activities.
Where to work in Tamarindo
- Nordico Coffee House: excellent food and coffee with a peaceful terrace or indoor space for working
- In the Shade Hotel & Coworking: a beautiful, quaint coworking space
Santa Teresa, Guanacaste
Santa Teresa is similar to Tamarindo but larger. It’s a peaceful beach town popular for digital nomads. You can find many hostels and rentals, so finding accommodations is pretty simple.
The local culture is lacking here, but Santa Teresa is great if you want to meet fellow travellers. And it’s got some of the most stunning beaches and sunset views in Costa Rica.
Where to work in Santa Teresa
- The Roastery Coffee: an Instagrammable cafe, excellent for working, eating, and drinking
- Selina Santa Teresa South & Cowork: a lovely space to work and also offers a swimming pool, hotel rooms, and yoga lessons
Costa Rica digital nomads who love yoga, the beach (& surfing), and eating vegetarian fare, Sámara is the place to go. Although Sámara is growing, it’s still a quaint beach town somewhat off the beaten path.
Sámara is a great place to experience an authentic Costa Rica experience and enjoy dining and shopping, while also getting work done. It’s surrounded by wildlife and has one of the most gorgeous beaches in the country, Playa Sámara.
Where to work in Sámara
- Roots Bakery & Café: a simple coffee shop with coffee, snacks, and a quiet atmosphere
- LoCoworking Costa Rica: a beachside coworking space ideal in an inspiring environment
San José, Central Valley
If you’re more interested in city life than beaches, San José might be the best city in Costa Rica for you. San José is the capital and largest city, with endless things to see and do. You can visit museums, explore local parks, enjoy the nightlife scene, and much more when you aren’t working.
It’s also easy to take a day and longer trips from San José, It’s home to the country’s largest airport, and it’s close to must-visit destinations like the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and the Arenal Volcano.
Where to work in San José
- Cafeoteca: spacious patio and indoor space, ideal for working
- WeWork: large, modern coworking space with ample amenities
Puerto Viejo, Limon
Puerto Viejo is a small, quirky town with laid-back beach vibes. If you enjoy simplicity and beautiful scenery, you’ll love Puerto Viejo. While you won’t find many things like big stores, pharmacies, and banks, its wildlife and nature make it worth it. You can also take an easy 4.5-hour bus ride to San José.
Digital nomads in Costa Rica love Puerto Viejo because there’s a small expat community, and it’s easy to meet people and make friends. Weekends are always fun, too, with parties and get-togethers.
Where to work in Puerto Viejo
- Caribeans Chocolate and Coffee: a local coffee shop with sweet treats, coffee, and great vibes
- Selina: a picturesque coworking space located in a beachside accommodation
How to Find Accommodation in Costa Rica: Long and Short Term
One of the many benefits Costa Rica digital nomads appreciate is how many accommodation options there are. You can always spend a short time in a hostel (Selina Hostel is an excellent option) while finding where you want to stay long-term.
Airbnb is a go-to option for finding a rental in Costa Rica. Many Airbnb hosts will work with you on long-term accommodations and may even offer a deal for a more extended stay.
Facebook also comes in handy when looking for a long-term rental. Each destination above has a local Facebook page, like this one for Tamarindo, where you can find accommodations.
Read more: How to Find Accommodation for Digital Nomads (18 Great Options)
Cost of Living in Costa Rica
Digital nomads from the US, Canada, and Europe report a similar or slightly lower cost of living in Costa Rica. That said, different cities vary in how much you’ll spend. For example, Tamarindo and Santa Teresa are more pricey than the less frequented Puerto Viejo.
Here’s what you can expect for average prices in Costa Rica:
- 1 Bedroom (rent per month/city centre): $494.35
- 1 Bedroom (rent per month/outside of centre): $350.45
- Basic monthly utilities: $66.49
- Internet: $48.89
- Inexpensive meal: $7.25
- Three-course meal: $20.16
- Beer: $3
- Coke or Pepsi: $1.57
- Coffee: $2.61
Is Costa Rica LGBTQ+ Friendly?
Yes, Costa Rica is considered LGBTQ+ friendly. In fact, Costa Rica is one of Central America’s most welcoming countries and also legalized gay marriage in 2020.
San José holds Costa Rica’s largest LGBTQ pride event every June and is known as the best city for the LGBTQ+ community. San José is a hotspot for LGBTQ nightlife and local events. You can also find gay bars and clubs.
Manuel Antonio is also a popular Costa Rica area for LGBTQ+ travellers. This beach and rainforest is a gorgeous destination, has a lively nightlife scene, and offers some of the best nature along Costa Rica’s west coast.
Do I Need to Learn the Language?
Costa Rica’s primary and most-spoken language is Spanish. While you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to be a digital nomad in Costa Rica, it would help to know basic phrases.
Most touristy destinations in Costa Rica have locals who speak English. However, that’s not always the case; knowing some Spanish can go a long way.
Note: If you mess up trying to speak Spanish or need some help, the locals are incredibly friendly and almost always happy to assist.
Here are some phrases worth learning before your trip to Costa Rica:
- Hola – hello
- Buenos días – good morning
- Buenas tardes – good afternoon
- Buenas noches – good evening
- Chao – bye
- Adiós – a formal way to say goodbye or greet someone in passing
- Sí – Yes
- No – No
- Agua – Water
- Una cerveza – a beer
- La cuenta, por favor – the bill, please
- Quiero… – I would like…
- Necesito… – I need…
- ¿Habla Inglés? – Do you speak English?
- ¿Cuanto cuesta? – How much does it cost?
- ¿Dónde está el baño? – Where is the bathroom?
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We hope you enjoyed reading this digital nomad guide to Costa Rica. If you’re interested in learning more about Central and South America digital nomad locations and visas, check out this article.