Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica for Digital Nomads
Costa Rica is an earthly paradise that has attracted millions of tourists thanks to its outstanding, world-class biodiversity, charming people and delicious food, among other reasons. Now finally, thanks to the recently approved digital nomad visa, Costa Rica opens its doors to all those looking for a place to work from.
Why is Costa Rica a great location for digital nomads?
Costa Rica is a haven that offers a wide variety of natural settings, from beautiful beaches to green forests with lavish vegetation, working peacefully surrounded by nature is indeed an option hard to resist. To that, it can be added the extra benefits that the Costa Rican government has granted through the new law supporting digital nomads. These benefits are:
- Lawful residency in Costa Rica for one year, with the choice to request one additional year. The only condition would be to have remained in Costa Rica for at least 180 days during the first year.
- Being able to use a foreign driver’s license.
- Enjoying import tax exemption on equipment needed to perform the digital nomad’s work while in Costa Rica.
- Income tax exemption only for the digital nomad, not for the family, in case the traveler’s family is in the country as well.
- Being able to open a savings account in Costa Rican national banks.
Pros and Cons of living and working in Costa Rica for digital nomads
Like any other place in the planet, there are pros and cons that need to be considered before choosing your next destination to work and live for a while.
- Tropical weather all year long.
- Unique biodiversity.
- The opportunity to visit many great and different places during your stay, given that Costa Rica is a small country.
- Delicious food. Both local and international cuisine from all over the world.
- Good public transportation.
- English is spoken by many Costa Ricans, especially in the city and touristic places.
- Safest Central American country.
- Friendly locals always willing to help.
- High cost of living compared to the other Central American countries.
- High speed internet is not yet entirely available nationwide, however, the Costa Rican government is currently working on improving such availability in remote locations outside the main cities.
The best places for living and working in Costa Rica for digital nomads
The number one priority for digital nomads is reliable internet. The following places meet such requirement, however, even when these locations have been the most preferred by other digital nomads, that doesn’t mean that in other parts of the country you wouldn’t have a great experience too.
Samara is a small town in Guanacaste province with minded, friendly, holistic people who welcome others into their community. The beach is great for swimming and sunsets are mind-blowing. People from different countries have made Samara their current home.
Located in the Nicoya Peninsula, Tamarindo is a lively town with many cool cafes and restaurants to hang out at, plus a vibrant beach famous for good surfing.
The small town of Santa Teresa, located in Puntarenas province is a laid-back place with loads of WIFI spots offering extraordinary internet connection. With coworking spaces located as close to the beach as possible, you won’t feel like you are working, as you will be able to experience a stress free/ life balance environment.
You can find Puerto Viejo in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. Life pace tends to be slower there and unlike any other location in Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo is quite multicultural.
Liberia is the main city in the province of Guanacaste. It has the second international airport in Costa Rica, so you can fly in and out from there. It is also the perfect departing point to explore all the amazing beaches, volcanoes and national parks located in Guanacaste. Finally, although it is a quiet town, cost of living there is not as high as in the other locations listed.
Last but not least, there is the capital, for those who rather stay in the city while working. Internet connection is certainly stable, quite accessible even at most cafes, and you would still have the option to head to the beach, or national parks during the weekend.
Cost of living in Costa Rica for digital nomads
Cost of living certainly varies depending on location, how luxurious or conservative you want to live, how often you go out, how fancy your nutrition is, if you will rent a coworking space, if you rent a car, and many other factors. Overall, cost of living with basic needs covered can go from $1,500 to $1,800 per month. It can go lower if expenses are shared, or higher if you add any perks.
Some suggestions per listed locations are:
Samara: LocoWorking, Futuroom, YellowRockets
Tamarindo: In the Shade, Sand and Surf Coworking.
Santa Teresa: Skyloft, Swinda Coworking and Selina Santa Teresa.
Puerto Viejo: Puerto&Co, In the Heart of the Jungle and Selina Hostel.
San Jose: Gracias Cowork Escalante, Workings Escazu, Workhub Escazu, among others.
Requirements to apply for the digital nomad visa in Costa Rica
- Apply on this website https://tramiteya.go.cr/dgme/ and enter the required information.
- Provide proof of stable monthly income in the last year, equivalent to or greater than US$3,000. In the event that the applicant decides to request the visa for his/her family (spouse, life partner, children under twenty-five years old, disabled children, or any elderly adult living with the applicant), the monthly income needs to be at least US$4,000. Such amount can be the sum of the income of the spouse or any of the other family members.
- Have private medical insurance covering the applicant and/or any family included in the visa for the entire time staying in Costa Rica.
- Comply with the payment of the visa.
- Be an employee of a remote company or be registered as self-employed in your country of origin.
- Not performing work or paid professional services within the Costa Rican national territory.
Once the registration has been completed, the Costa Rican government has 15 working days to grant or reject the visa. If granted, you can live and work in Costa Rica for a year and even have the option to extend your stay for another year.
Thanks to the support of the new government, Costa Rica is looking to improve and put more resources in place to make digital nomads feel at home.
Visitors are never disappointed with what Costa Rica has to offer, most wish they could stay for longer and now thanks to the visa for digital nomads, this is a reality. Hopefully, you can take advantage of this opportunity and come enjoy a “pura vida” lifestyle as a digital nomad.