Costa Rica is a popular country for digital nomads. Though it’s not as cheap as Thailand or Mexico, Costa Rica is close to the US and Canada, has great weather and tons of nature.
Before settling down into the pura vida lifestyle, there are many things you need to know and here is our guide to being a digital nomad in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has recently passed a new “digital nomad” law that allows stays for up to 12 months with tax exemption and no import tax on personal equipment. Contact a Costa Rican immigration firm to help you apply for this visa as there are specific requirements and an application to fill out.
Best Places for Digital Nomads in Costa Rica
If you’re going to be a digital nomad in Costa Rica, you’ll want to thoroughly research where in the country you want to live. Depending on your style of living, standards and needs, you’ll be able to narrow down the best place for you. Here are the best places for digital nomads in Costa Rica, particularly if you want to be on the coast.
Santa Teresa (Nicoya Peninsula)
Santa Teresa, the laid back remote surfing beach town in the Nicoya Peninsula is the main place for digital nomads in Costa Rica. There are many hotels and co-working spaces dedicated to the large digital nomad community who want to spend their days working in the jungle and having fun at the beach.
Pros: Excellent weather, tons of foreigners including young digital nomads and entrepreneurs, great surfing, beautiful beaches and sunsets, lots of food options, many hostels and rentals, very big spread out beach community so it doesn’t feel like as crowded as Tamarindo or Samara,
Cons: Super dry and dusty. Not really any local Tico culture. Only one ATM in town. Far from the international airports, major hospitals and other places of interest. Can be hard to get around without a car so most people rent long term or rent an ATV.
Jaco in the Central Pacific
A popular surfing town in the Central Pacific, Jaco attracts digital nomads who want to be close to San Jose, don’t have a limited budget and like city life. For those who enjoy luxury or having the same conveniences as North America, Jaco is the place to be. Read what it’s like to live in Jaco.
Pros: Many luxury and upscale housing options, only 1.5 hours from San Jose, lively nightlife, great variety of fine dining, easy to get around without a car, wildlife, great surfing, 4g common, always something to do
Cons: Jaco is a party town so more prostitutes, crime and drugs, expensive rent, gets super crowded on weekends, not a very pretty beach but good for surfing.
Playas del Coco in Guanacaste (North Pacific)
A small fishing village, Playas del Coco is now one of the most popular beach towns in Costa Rica. This town is ideal for someone who has a family or does not have a wild party life.
Pros: Easy to get around without a car, wide variety of housing options and budgets, only 25 minutes from Liberia International Airport, one of the sunniest places in Costa Rica, 50 minute boat ride to one of the best surfing spots (Witch’s Rock)
Cons: Limited restaurant options, not a ton of other digital nomads as Coco is mostly retirees and snowbirds, pretty quiet most nights of the year, lack of water as it’s very dry and arid
Tamarindo in Guanacaste (North Pacific)
For digital nomads who want to be around other young digital nomads or expats, Tamarindo is an excellent option. Tamarindo attracts a younger crowd due to the incredible surfing in the area and the more amount of hostels. There are more foreigners than locals in town due to high displacement (Tamarindo’s nickname is Tama Gringo).
Pros: Wide variety of restaurants, excellent surfing, huge population of foreigners, good nightlife, has its own local airport, beautiful beach
Cons: expensive, lack of Costa Rican culture, touristy, theft and house robberies more common, not easy to get around by bus.
San Jose (Capital city)
Though most people prefer living at the beach if they’re going to be a digital nomad in Costa Rica, some people like the city and want all the conveniences of city life. There are several neighborhoods in San Jose that are great for foreigners like Escazu, Barrio Esclanate and La Sabana.
Pros: San Jose international airport, wide variety of housing options, Ubereats, access to all the services, easy to get around by bus, excellent weather, lots of malls and movie theaters, easy to experience local culture, excellent variety of food, faster Internet
Cons: Lots of traffic, downtown San Jose is not the safest place, traffic, super crowded, roads and sidewalks are not in good condition and did I mention the traffic? San Jose is also not a very beautiful city so don’t expect to have sweeping panoramic city views like Hong Kong or Bangkok.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Limon (South Caribbean Coast)
This funky little town in the Caribbean is popular with digital nomads who like the laid back beach life. It’s also great for those who like wildlife as this area is teeming with sloths, toucans, monkeys and all sorts of birds. In Puerto Viejo, you won’t find any high rise buildings but you will find all the basic services such as banks, pharmacies, laundry, etc.
Pros: Small expat community so easy to make friends, a party town so always something going on, beautiful beaches, wildlife, easy to get around without a car.
Cons: Far from the San Jose International airport, closest local airport is 1 hour away, known for having a higher crime rate, not as many luxury or upscale places. Fast internet is not everywhere. Rainier and more humid. Far from other attractions. Accommodations are more basic
Dominical/Uvita in the South Pacific
This part of Costa Ballena is for people who want a more nature, less touristy experience. Most of them live up in the mountains or by the beach so it’s very quiet and peaceful. You can read our Dominical and Uvita guides here.
Pros: Not a super popular area for digital nomads as there isn’t much of a nightlife (this can be a pro or a con depending on what you want), close to lots of natural landmarks, excellent hiking, lots of wildlife, good surfing
Cons: 4g is not common, hard to get around without a car, 4×4 is required since most houses are up in the mountains, far from the San Jose International airport. Not a huge variety of housing or food options but it is definitely growing. Also can be harder to meet people, it’s very quiet, very humid, tends to rain a bit more
Manuel Antonio (Central Pacific)
Manuel Antonio is a popular coastal town in the Central Pacific. Very touristic so it’s a great option for those who like that area of Costa Rica but want white sand beaches and more wildlife. About 3 hours from San Jose International Airport.
Pros: There is a direct bus from Quepos to San Jose, has all major services including a big hospital, good Internet, lots of food options and things to do, beautiful beaches
Cons: Expensive and expensive. Very touristy, must go to Quepos for more Tico culture. Manuel Antonio is spread out on a hill which is not pedestrian friendly due to lack of sidewalks.
Samara in Guanacaste (North Pacific)
For those who love the beach, yoga and surf. Though the popularity of Samara is growing a lot, it is still a fairly mellow, laid back beach town attracting many yogis and surfers. The town has many vegan/vegetarian and organic options. It’s 2 hours from Liberia International Airport.
Internet in Costa Rica: Speed, Cost, Etc.
It is more common to find high speed internet and fiber optic in Costa Rica as more providers are offering it, therefore prices are also more competitive.
Costa Rica Internet Providers
There are several internet providers in Costa Rica. Kolbi (ICE), which is the main telecommunications company is a government organization. Liberty, Tigo, Cable Tica and Claro are other Internet providers.
What to Know About Internet in Costa Rica if You are Renting
If you rent an apartment, you will likely have to put Internet in yourself. Or if internet is included, it is probably the slowest possible speed. You may need to ask your host if it’s possible to increase the Internet speed which you will pay them for (only the contract holder can change Internet packages).
One other thing to take note of is that in rainy season, it is quite common for electricity to go out for the rains. So if you need to be connected as much as possible, we recommend to get a battery back up/surge protector for your modem and router. Power outages normally don’t last too long but even the surges can be bad for your equipment.
Public Wi-Fi and Co-Working Spaces
When it comes to public Wi-Fi and co-working spaces in Costa Rica, it’s grown a lot. WeWork is in San Jose and there are more co-working spaces in the popular beach towns like Tamarindo and Santa Teresa.
We have stayed in a few condo towers in San Jose that have dedicated co-working and meeting rooms which was nice. Selina hostel has reinvented themselves to be a digital nomad co-working hostel so that’s a good place to start looking for to find a place to stay that offers good internet and co-working spaces.
However, cafe culture is nearly non existent in Costa Rica. There aren’t really many cafes with a working environment to be honest. Starbucks is really the only place I’ve seen where people will bring their laptops. Otherwise, most small local cafeterias and restaurants don’t want people to linger.
Sim cards are super easy to get in Costa Rica. A pre-paid sim card is the way to go for digital nomads since you can buy a chip for as cheap as $2 then you can load credit as you go. Most companies have data + calling plans.
Unfortunately, don’t expect lightning fast data speed on your phone. 4g is in Costa Rica but coverage is not everywhere.
Also make sure to ask your renter which provider you should get for a prepaid SIM card. For example, in Golfito, only Claro worked for us, not even Kolbi or Movistar. In Bajos del Toro, only Kolbi worked. When we lived in Playas del Coco, I switched from Movistar to Kolbi because I had absolutely no service in our apartment with Movistar.
Since the goal of a digital nomad is to make enough income to sustain their travel lifestyle, they want to keep their monthly expenses as low as possible. However, this is one of the reasons why most people don’t stay in Costa Rica very long. Unfortunately the cost of living in Costa Rica is not cheap. It’s nothing like Chiang Mai or Canggu.
If you want to rent a place near the beach or in town in a touristic destinations, expect rent prices for a minimum of $1000 USD a month. Going out to eat adds up a lot if you’re going to the more touristy restaurants and you can spend a good chunk if you’re partying, drinking and eating out a lot. Groceries can be a couple hundred dollars of month per person depending on how much you cook versus eat out.
If you have to pay for your own Internet, it varies between providers and locations. The average cost of high speed or fiber optic Internet (100 mbps) a month is around $50 USD.
This is what will take a huge chunk of your monthly budget: housing. Most towns have a variety of housing options but you need to keep 3 super important things in mind is how you are going to get around, when you plan to stay and how long you are going to stay.
You are most likely not going to buy a car during your time in Costa Rica so it’s best to live in town so you’re within walking distance to everything. And like they say, what’s the most important factor in real estate? Location, location, location.
Our Experience in Tamarindo area (2016-2019)
We lived about 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) away from Tamarindo. Our apartment was not super big with 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and 1 bedroom we converted into an office/storage. It was completely unfurnished (not even shelves). We bought all our furniture including a stove, closet, bed, sofa, table, lamps, refrigerator and air conditioning units.
It was a very “Tico” place to live, which means nothing fancy and super duper basic. For this, we paid $375 USD a month plus utilities. We found this place by driving around Tamarindo and Villarreal and calling all the phone numbers on “se alquila” signs.
If you’re looking at Tamarindo downtown, furnished apartments and houses can run from $1000-2000 USD a month easily, particularly in the months of December through April. This is the busiest and most expensive time to visit and stay in Costa Rica.
Our Experience in Jaco (2015)
When we lived in Jaco, we lived in a gated condo complex. It was a fully furnished 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment. Our rent was $725 USD plus utilities (we paid 6 months in advance so we got a discount, original price is $850). However, our Internet was very bad so we paid extra to get faster Internet. Our friend who lived in a beachfront condo complex paid $2500 USD a month for his 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, ocean view, very spacious condo with high speed Internet.
How to Find a Place for Rent
Short term stay (less than 3 weeks)
Your options are hostels, couch surf or apartment rentals. If you plan ahead, you may even be able to find a house sit that works for you. However, this takes a lot more work since you need to constantly be looking. Competition is high for house sitting in Costa Rica.
Hostels in Costa Rica generally are clean and have a shared kitchen with a communal area. For digital nomads, Selina Hostel is an excellent option with a co-working space.
Mid term stay (1-5 months) and long term stay (6+ months)
Airbnb and local listings are the way to go. You can also go to a real estate office but generally those can cost more because of the agents commission and they normally list the fancy places. In touristic areas, they usually only have the very expensive luxury houses or condos.
If you find a place you like on Airbnb that you want to rent for long term, contact the owner directly and see if they are willing to negotiate a long term contract.
Facebook is also your best friend. Each touristic destination has their own real estate and rentals group like Tamarindo Rentals, Puerto Viejo Rentals, etc. There you can post your request for an apartment and find available listings. I highly recommend putting notifications on them as rentals go fast, especially in high season.
Costa Rica’s cheap public transportation system can take you all around the country. However, the bus travel times are long and it is common to have to take a minimum of 2-3 buses to get somewhere.
As a digital nomad, you’re probably only planning on staying in one area your entire time in Costa Rica. Most likely you will find a place that is within walking distance to everything. In that case, you can think about getting a bike or ATV to make it easier to get around. Then if you want to travel around and visit other places, you can rent a car.
As for ride shares, Uber exists in many places in Costa Rica such as San Jose, Jaco, Quepos, La Fortuna, Grecia and Liberia but do not rely on it as your sole method of transportation.
Food isn’t the cheapest but you can eat cheap in Costa Rica. To eat cheap, your best options are sodas (traditional Costa Rican restaurants) or bakeries. A typical lunch of rice, beans, salad and meat on average is $7-8 USD at a soda in touristic places.
With the huge influx of immigrants the past several years, you can find more variety of food thankfully. Italian, Mexican, Argentinian grill and American are the most common international cuisines.
It is also more common to find vegetarian and vegan options on the menus.
Fresh vegetables and fruit are everywhere. Many towns have a feria (farmers market) every weekend where you can get local produce and specialty items. Not only do you help local farmers, but it’s usually a bit cheaper. Also in Costa Rica, there is definitely no lack of supermarkets where you can find everything you need.
One of the reasons why digital nomads choose Costa Rica as a temporary home base is the myriad of fun activities to do. Spend your weekends hiking in the national park or chasing waterfalls, end your day with happy hour on the beach. Surf in the morning, party at night. The options are endless!
In touristic towns, particularly the beach areas, bars are everywhere so take advantage of the happy hour. Some bars have happy hour from 11 AM -7 PM! Local beer (Pilsen, Imperial, Bavaria and Rock Ice) is around $2.50 and mixed drinks start around $5. Craft beer also starts around $5.
Craft beer is growing a lot in Costa Rica so if you love beer, you’ll have lots of options as pretty much all restaurants and bars in touristic destinations now offer craft beer.
Many digital nomads prefer to live by the beach because there are so many things to do and plus, who doesn’t want to experience the beach life in Costa Rica? Depending on which beach you’re at, you can fish, surf, SUP, swim or snorkel.
If you’re in the Central Valley cities, you can grab a bus or Uber to popular spots like Poas Volcano National Park. From San Jose, you can bus to every main town so you can easily enjoy weekend getaways to see beaches, rainforest, volcanoes and much more.
The best way to network in Costa Rica is to join the Facebook groups like Expats in Costa Rica, Digital Nomads in Costa Rica or finding the Facebook page of the town you’re living in and seeing what’s going on that week. Networking works largely through the events put on for tourists which makes it easy to meet people.
Costa Ricans are very outgoing and friendly people so even if you know a little bit of Spanish, it’s not too hard to meet locals. And when you meet one local, they’ll introduce you to everyone they know. We highly recommend learning a bit of Spanish before coming to Costa Rica so you can get to experience the local culture more.
If you stay in touristic places, it’s easy to just stick to English speakers which honestly won’t let you experience much of Costa Rican culture. Try to visit the surrounding small towns and villages to experience more culture and local life. Also, learning to surf is a great way to meet locals!
What to Bring and Other Important Things
It is very important to bring extra electronic equipment because it is hard to find in Costa Rica and expensive. Here are our recommendations.
- Bring extra battery packs. It is common in rainy season for the power to go out. A surge protector is not a bad idea either because of this reason.
- If you have an iPhone, bring extra charging cables. Bring extra USB-C cords if you use them.
- Voltage is 110 in Costa Rica so bring several convertors/adapters if you need to as they’re not super common.
- Extra SD, CF and memory cards. Bring multiple CF card readers as they’re so hard to find here. External hard drives. Memory card readers.
- Waterproof laptop case.
- Air conditioned businesses are not super common. Most are open air which can be a problem if you’re near the beach due to humidity, high temperatures and salt water. We run heavy programs on our computers and have lost a few pieces of equipment for these reasons.
This is something incredibly important many digital nomads gloss over. As much as we’d like to think nothing will happen and that we won’t ever need it, it’s important to make sure you are covered for your health in case of accidents, death, sickness, hospitalization, etc. And now, pandemics.
We HIGHLY recommend you to purchase a travel/health insurance and our recommendation is Safety Wing. They have insurances specifically for digital nomads!
Depending on your required treatment and which type of facility you visited, you will have to pay but the cost of healthcare in Costa Rica is very low compared to the USA. You can read more about the Costa Rica medical system here.
Costa Rica may not have an impressive city skyline or a cheap cost of living compared to other countries, but we have breathtaking waterfalls, volcanoes, beaches, rivers, mountains and jungles. Instead of working inside a 50 story skyscraper, you get to work in the jungle surrounded by toucans, monkeys and sloths. Or you get to surf and work every day!
The beautiful nature, peacefulness and tranquility of Costa Rica is what attracts people the most to this country.
Thinking about moving to Costa Rica permanently? Check out my living in Costa Rica stories!
I hope this guide helps you gain more insight into the life of a digital nomad in Costa Rica.
There are affiliate links in this post.
Ross Kane says
I went to Costa Rica for spring break with a friend in 2008. Had a good time. The parties were excellent, the food was fresh and delicious, and nothing beats the tropical fruit beverages. I’d love to get back some day.
Guido | Dutch Nomad says
Love the article!
Here’s a 2022 update.
La Fortuna, Nosara and Tamarindo are also a great place for digital nomads. Selina offers co-working spaces & community for nomads. Nomads can choose to stay with their Selina CoLive program or pay only for the co-working space and choose a place to stay like AirBnB, hotel, hostel, condo or tico house.
However, Selina Tamarindo stoped offering the coworking space (on their website). There are three other coworking spaces in Tamarindo; Sand & Surf Co-Working, In the Shade Co-Working and The Beach Office.
Hope it helps.
peter n. says
We live in Surfside/Potrero beach. It’s entirely possible to work from at least parts of CR near a beach (ours is 3 minute walk) without sacrificing reliability for a couple of reasons.
1) High speed internet/or electricity is not frequently down for long (ours is CableTica). It’s fast, and mostly reliable.
2) My cell hotspot is my backup, and doesn’t go down when the electricity does.
Just for contrast, I’ve had three incidents in the US where we lost electricity in the winter for multiple days. So…I think it’s really exactly as Sam said – get the specs where you will be renting. If they can’t tell you clearly that should be a red flag since they purchase the service and pay the bill. And don’t forget your connectivity is not perfect anywhere.
Sammi and Yeison, thanks for all the great years of detailed and incredibly accurate posts!
Thanks for the feedback Peter!
Hi, thank you for the excellent comprehensive info. I’m planning on spending 3 weeks in June 2022 in Tamarindo in a furnished condo across from Playa Tamarindo, and will be working remotely where zoom calls will be the order of the day. I checked with the condo office – they said they have reliable high-speed internet (didn’t share the speed), but no generator or back-up for power outages. How worried should I be about power outages and internet quality? I believe June is somewhat rainy, so should we expect frequent power outages? Also, is it simple and inexpensive to buy a battery/power bank and data stick? Or should I set up a power invertor for the duration of my stay? Please advise. Thanks!
I would bring your own battery back up, power outages can be common when there is hard rain or a storm so I highly recommend bringing your own back up
Hi Sammi! thanks a lot for this blog, it’s really fun and helpful! Me, my husband and sister are coming first time to CR from Moscow 1 September. We are all working online, so we do need good internet and nice place to live for 3+ months (at about $1200). is it real?) I got the impression that we should look somewhere in central valley considering wi-fi connection, prices, and not too hot weather for work). We also highly appreciate relatively quite environment with some cultural life (meaning arts not night bars)), easy to get around (not always with a bike or car), availability of beach and wildlife. Do you think such place even exist?) First thought is SJ but we are coming from Moscow and don’t really want to change one big city to another… or maybe some parts of SJ are not that crowded and noisy? maybe there are some places on the beach that correspond to our hopes? Will appreciate any recommendation from you. all the best!
If you’d want the city then San Jose is the best place with good Internet and easy access to everything, you can even check out the other GAM cities like Heredia, Alajuela or Cartago, doesn’t necessarily have to be San Jose proper since all those cities are so close. Also since the cities are small, you can also find places up more in the mountains or outskirts of the city, the only thing to think about is getting around if you don’t plan to rent a car but there are places that are outside the city up more the mountains but close enough that you can still find Ubers/food delivery/etc. If your budget is $1200 USD a month, you can find a very nice place to rent.
Hi, about the Internet speed…..
I´m Dutch and live in CR for over 20 years. I have a 20Mb fiber optic subscription with Kölbi.
Within CR I have a pretty good and stable 20Mb download and 5 Mb upload.
So far, so good but here comes the problem……
When I connect to a / any server in Holland or any other country in Europe my best connection is about 7 Mb download and 2 Mb upload. It depends on the time of the day.
Keep in mind the time difference 7 (winter time) or 8 (summertime) hours.
The problem is not with the provider but with the Atlantic under sea connection to Europe.
Hope this helps a bit with understanding the “slow Internet” problem.
Greetings from Pura Vida country.
You say that “Costa Rica’s summer time is the Northern Hemisphere’s winter time.” Not true — Costa Rica is in the Northern Hemisphere! During the Northern Hemisphere summer, Costa Rica (coastal) is very hot! During the North American winter, Costa Rica has a more moderate temperature. I think you forgot that Costa Rica is not in South America. It’s all good.
Oops yes you’re correct, we are not in the Southern Hermisphere. I was trying emphasize the point that because we do have the dry and rainy season which we refer to as “verano” and “invierno” here so when it’s winter up in the Canada/US, it’s our summer in Costa Rica here, so I was trying to make that distinction for those who don’t know but you are correct that we are not in the Northern Hemisphere!
Hi! Thank you for this excellent breakdown. I’m wondering how is internet for Zoom calls? Have you experienced those since being in Costa Rica for the pandemic? I do a lot of that for my business and am looking to go to CR or Mexico for Jan-March.
It will depend greatly on where you are. In some places, there is pretty decent and stable Wi-Fi but if you will be in more remote areas, it may not be as stable or strong. We personally have fiber optic at our house (we live outside Tamarindo) and Zoom/video chat works very well for us but fiber optic is not that widespread or common since it is expensive. Most hotels and vacation rentals will have basic internet with 2-5 mbps speed. High speed internet is more common in San Jose and there are more workspaces there.
I would try to contact the Airbnb host directly and ask about internet speed and see if they are offering longer term rentals. If you already know where you want to stay, on Facebook, you can check the rentals group of the town. For example, in Tamarindo, we have a group that is Tamarindo Rentals and Real Estate and there is also one for Jaco, PUerto Viejo, etc. etc. and you can join the group and check in there.
Also a quick note you are coming right at high season, the most expensive time of the year so it’s not going to be super cheap!
Thank you so much for sharing all these. We are planning to try working remotely from Costa Rica from mid December to mid February. I was looking at the places that are available on Airbnb but it’s hard to know if their Internet is good or not. Also the prices on Airbnb are much higher than what you had mentioned on your blog of course. Would you happen to know a place to recommend to us? We are pretty flexible as long as it’s a nice clean private place close to water and nature.
Rita Poll says
Have just discovered your blog. It’s great! I was born in CR and my mother is also Costa Rican but my father was originally from Italy, although he met and married my mum in CR and we lived there until we immigrated to Australia! Would I qualify for citizenship as I was born Costa Rican as was my mother? I’m now in my 50s and last visited CR almost 20 years ago! (Quite expensive and very far to travel from Australia, especially the West coast!). Anyway, any information would be most appreciated. Btw, still speak quite good Spanish 🙂
Hi Rita, I’m not an immigration expert so you’d have to double check but as far as I know, the only option you have is naturalization but you have to be living in Costa Rica for at least 7 years straight or married to a Costa Rican, even if you were born in Costa Rica since naturalization restrictions ends at the age of 25 if your parents never applied you for citizenship.
Hi Pepe, I don’t know too much about it but as far as I know, if you are older than 25 years old and your parents never applied you to get Costa Rican citizenship, your only option is naturalization but you have to be living in Costa Rica for at least 7 years or married to a Costa Rican. If you don’t plan on living in Costa Rica for 7 years then getting citizenship wouldn’t work unless you’re younger than 25. I am looking into naturalization since Yeison is Costa Rican and we are getting married here soon and those were the requirements.
Hola Sammi, I was born in Puerto Viejo, Limon but I moved to Germany a few years later where my parents are from and haven’t been back since. Now I’m traveling through Asia working as a freelancing software developer. I was thinking about getting a Costa Rician citizenship (using my birth certificate) to solve my tax problem since Costa Rica operates a territorial tax system. I’m just not sure if that would actually work for me because I’m not planing on staying there, I want to keep traveling through Asia. Do you have any suggestions about that?
Desiree Zink says
are you still in Costa Rica? I want to know more abut DNs. Are you willing to meet me for a short interview or do a Skype Call?
I want to know more about your story,your work, your employers,… 🙂
Your blog is helping me a lot!
Please conact me if you are interested 🙂
I will be in CR until Christmas!
Hi! Yes I’m still in Costa Rica, you can read about our blog in the “about us” or start here sections 🙂
Love your blog. What is the best way for self-employed people like myself to have access to reliable Internet for business? I am thinking of transitioning to an Internet-based business but want to make sure this is possible to continue in Costa Rica, even if the Internet is slower than in the U.S.
You will need to live somewhere close to a good Internet connection or tower and check what companies are available in that area. We used to use Tigo which was the worst service in the world, but when we lived in Coco it was the only company that reached our apartment so we were stuck with it unfortunately. We barely got 5 mbps and it went in and out all the time. When we lived in Jaco, we used Kolbi which was decent, it was slow but stable as we couldn’t afford a higher plan a few years ago. Now near Tamarindo, we live right next to a tower and use CableTica who has a direct line to our apartment so we get great Internet. It’s not cheap but it’s worth paying more to get good Internet, which is a rarity in Costa Rica.
You won’t be able to live somewhere far off like in the mountains or in less developed areas to get good Internet, it needs to be a more developed area. Unfortunately it’s just difficult and quite expensive to get good Internet. We finally were able to get 20 mbps with Cable Tica and it costs around I think like $80 a month.
Brian Herten-Greaven says
Hola Sammi, Been following your excellent blog. My wife and I are currently in CR visiting our son who will be marrying a Tica girl . We are looking to find a place my wife and I can visit next year and beyond to stay for 90 days (Dec-Feb) at a time. We are retired and in our 70’s, so a quiet, nice beach area would be nice. We think a slightly more in-land location (i.e. from expensive beach life) would be good but within a few minutes drive from shops and restaurants. I make fashion and costume jewelry as a hobby and would love to set something up with a store to supply my exotic pieces. Is there a place that comes to mind that you would recommend we visit that would meet these requirements.
Hi guys, I would check the small towns in the Central Valley like Grecia or Atenas. Those are the most popular towns for foreigners who want to retire in Costa Rica, it has great weather, they’re up in the mountains and in a local CR town.
Overall, Costa Rica doesn’t seem like the ideal place for digital nomads. Slow internet and difficult conditions make it unattractive. As for the beaches, it sounds like they’re super touristy and dirty. I was thinking of going to CR, but now I’m probably not. There are better beaches / living conditions elsewhere it seems. Or am I missing something?
The beaches are actually gorgeous and super clean. The downsides are definitely internet, it’s expensive and bad infrastructure which makes it not ideal for digital nomads but it’s a trade off for lots of nature and wildlife and a very laid back lifestyle.
Hola Sammi,i just spent hours reading your blogs, i love them,and feel very lucky to find this website today. I am Vivian, i am Chinese and currently working in China in medical profession, i have a costa rica bf (well should be called fiance since few month ago 🙂 )as well,and we are planning to move to CR this autumn. So i was thinking to enroll into an university to learn Spanish,and then get a job or i dont know,some business,but i found that its very difficult to find a job there for chinese people specially my career…i feel kind of stressful of how to settle myself down in CR,can you give me some advices of how and what can i do there or any information ？ muchas gracias!!!
Hi Vivian, well first I’d see if how you guys like living in CR together if you’ve never been there before or have not spent long periods of time there before. That’s the most important thing. Second, it is definitely best to learn Spanish because to get a legal job in CR, it is necessary. If you are planning on getting your Costa Rican citizenship after you get married, it’ll be easier for you to get a job since you won’t need to apply as a foreigner, but it will be required to be fluent in Spanish to get a job here. Good luck and congrats!