The Top 3 Digital Nomad Destinations in Costa Rica
If there is a silver lining to this dreadful pandemic, it might just be the work-from-home, work-from-anywhere revolution. Over the past year, companies have learned—much to their surprise, it seems—that workers are just as committed and productive outside of the confines of their cubicles.
Meanwhile, workers have discovered a new, more flexible way of earning a paycheck, sans the dreary daily commute. And now many of them are starting to realize that the home they work from could just as easily be beside a tropical beach or lush mountain park, as in some cold, expensive urban center.
This, then, explains why we are on the verge of a boom in digital nomadism. Previously, the term “digital nomad” denoted workers, usually younger people, who could work from anywhere with an internet connection, and who used that freedom to live a truly nomadic lifestyle—moving from place to place, staying at hostels.
In light of recent developments, I think it’s fair to expand the term to include those remote workers who don’t want to uproot their home base every few weeks, but rather want to find a single, stunning destination overseas where they can continue their careers as accountants or consultants or HR directors or whatever.
These older digital nomads have different priorities. Since they want to remain in a destination longer-term, they value things like safety, political stability, and healthcare, alongside more traditional digital nomad considerations such as affordability and climate. And that’s why so many of these older digital nomads are coming to Costa Rica.
The Central American country, winner of International Living’s 2021 Global Retirement Index, has world-class healthcare and is politically stable, close to the U.S., and affordable, with a couple able to live well here on just $2,000 a month or less. Moreover, the country has strong internet infrastructure and is currently rolling out a new 5G network and fiber-optic internet.
These upgrades mean there are now a host of communities across Costa Rica that are suitable for this new generation of digital nomads. Here are three of them that offer uniquely different living environments.
Escazú, San José
Located just west of the capital city of San José, hip and trendy suburban Escazú has long been on the cutting edge of new ideas. With an abundance of shopping, dining, medical centers, temperate weather, and high-speed internet options, this is an excellent location to work from “home.” It is also within 30 minutes of the main international airport, which is optimal for those nomads who may need to go on business trips
There are also a number of coworking spaces in Escazú. One of the best is Workings, which offers comfortable open spaces, private offices, and meeting rooms 24/7. It also has a kitchenette with coffee and conducts events where you can team up with other digital nomads. Another option is WeWork, which has a variety of payment plans, and as well as a stocked kitchen, there is parking and bike storage and regular organized events.
The most developed beach town on the Gold Coast of Guanacaste suffered from sloth-speed internet for decades…until now! A couple of new fiber-optic internet companies have blown away the region’s old provider and brought lightning-fast speeds to the beaches.
Tamarindo also boasts dozens of coffee shops and beach restaurants with free internet access. Who doesn’t dream of sipping a cup of java overlooking the sparkling deep blue while conducting business? Consulting in the morning and surfing in the afternoon are not unusual “work from home” schedules for many digital nomads in Tamarindo.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón
Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of humanity? It is possible to live off the grid on the remote Caribbean side of Costa Rica and still enjoy connectivity. The walkable, laidback town of Puerto Viejo is the heartbeat of the Afro-Caribbean culture of Costa Rica, boasting a lively atmosphere sprinkled with Calypso music, hot chilis, and a commitment to sustainability. You won’t find any fast-food outlets, high-rise condo towers or brand-name resorts. But what you will discover nearby are vast expanses of empty beaches, crystalline water, incredible wildlife, healthy food, and some festive nightlife too.
Although much of the Caribbean area experiences slower internet, the part-coworking space and part-café Puerto & Co, in Puerto Viejo, offers super-fast fiber-optic internet. Daily plans start at $15, with weekly and monthly options available. You can also lounge with a cocktail or a coffee or grab a meal at the on-site vegan café.
By Kathleen Evans