Work Remotely as a Digital Nomad in Costa Rica

Whether you’re just starting to research the digital nomad lifestyle or are fully committed to this dream already, you likely have questions. After all, this is Costa Rica’s newest type of residency (kind of… more on that, below!) and there’s not a lot of info out there yet. 

You’ve come to the right place. 

We’re all about those questions, thoughts, doubts, and dreams bouncing around in your head. We’re also the kind of people who tell whole truths and hard truths. We don’t sugarcoat the facts or tell you what you want to hear. We research obsessively and know a lot about moving to, living in, and working from Costa Rica. Because we did and now do that, too. 

Welcome. Consider this your home base. From finding housing and researching the cost of living to moving with pets and applying for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa, we’ve done the legwork and we’re here to help.

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How We Can Help

Hi, I’m Rebecca Clower but my friends call me Becky. I hope you will, too. 

I’m the face behind our Relocation Department and you and I probably have a lot in common. Not too long ago, I was in your shoes: seeking change and wondering if my dreams were possible. As it turns out, they were! And yours are, too. 

I founded Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica to do a lot more than real estate. Here, we thrive on relationships and we crave connection. And so, we’ve helped, advised, and aided many individuals, couples, and families to relocate their lives and fulfill their dreams in Costa Rica. And we know that the new Costa Rica digital nomad visa will open even more doors, for even more people. It’s your turn now.

Moving Checklist

It’s in the name: Being a digital “nomad” implies a certain sense of impermanence. And yet, when you’re getting ready to pick up your entire life and move abroad, it certainly feels like a monumental decision!

There’s a lot to consider, even if you’ll only be here for a year or two. Where will you live? How can you guarantee that your internet will be fast enough? Can you bring your pets? If you have kids, where will they go to school? These very important practicalities must be considered, decided, and planned, long before your plane touches down.

Cost of Living in Costa Rica

A lot of people ask, what’s the cost of living in Costa Rica? We’d love to rattle off an answer but the truth is, it depends on you. As anywhere else in the world, your cost of living is a reflection of your life and lifestyle: A digital nomad living frugally in the mountains will spend less than a family of four that rents an upscale home with ocean views and an infinity pool. 

That said, there are a few ways to estimate your cost of living in paradise. Here’s what you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes… and no. Technically, the digital nomad visa is neither a residency type nor an actual visa; it’s an estancia. In Costa Rica, an estancia is essentially a right to reside – somewhere in between being a tourist and a resident.

Many! While it’s not officially a residency category, the digital nomad visa offers many of the same benefits as residency. These include: 

 

  •     Legal Right to Reside: As a tourist, you could stay for a maximum 90 days in Costa Rica. The digital nomad visa extends that for up to one year, renewable for an additional year.
  •     Costa Rican Driver’s License: Your home country’s driver’s license is only valid for as long as your passport stamp (max: 90 days). As a digital nomad, you are permitted to use your home country’s license for the duration of your visa term.
  •     Tax exemptions: You will be exempt from Costa Rican income tax, import taxes on work-related electronics and telecommunications equipment, and more.
  •     Ease of Daily Life: Life is just easier as a resident. For example, you’ll be able to open local bank accounts and get a cell phone line.

 

The most basic requirements are simple: You must have an income of $3,000/month (individual) or $4,000/month (couple/family). Your income must originate outside of Costa Rica.

This is one of the easier immigration processes, actually. (The requirements were simplified, rather than made more complicated!) The requirements are the following:

  • An application, which can be made through the government’s Tramite ¡YA! online portal (or via your attorney);
  • Proof of income ($3,000/month for a single or $4,000 a month for couples and families) from outside Costa Rica;
  • Heath insurance for a minimum $50,000 in coverage, for the duration of your stay; 
  • Receipt of $100 payment for each applicant; and
  • A copy of your passport photo page and entry stamp to Costa Rica (the visa provides an initial 6-month to one-year extension of your initial 90 days).

Additionally, if any of your documentation is issued in a language other than Spanish, it must be officially translated.

If you’re applying as a couple or family, then you’ll have a few additional requirements. In addition to the $4,000 income requirement and all the above requirements, you must also provide: 

  • A marriage certificate or document to certify your civil union (either must be issued within the last 6 months); 
  • Birth certificates for any dependent minors (up to age 25 or with disabilities); and
  • A sworn declaration of your bond and coexistence.

Again, any documentation issued in any language other than Spanish must be officially translated.

 

Finding Housing

Just like back “home,” housing can be a complex topic in Costa Rica. For digital nomads, it’s an even harder question to answer – not because it’s so hard to find housing, but because you’ll have so many options! Because today, many areas of Costa Rica, especially throughout the Pacific beach towns and the Central Valley, have access to the digital nomad’s #1 requirement: high-speed internet. 

 

So, the question goes back to you: What else are you looking for? If you’re not sure, then here are some important factors to consider: general location and the specific location, traffic, distance to certain points of interest (ex. schools), microclimates, availability of utilities, roads, and the current real estate panorama in your chosen town, city, or community.

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Cost of Living in Costa Rica

If you’re still in the can-I-really-do-this phase, we get it. Picking up your life and moving abroad is a big decision, even if it’s only for a year or two. There are considerations and planning and dreams to dream!

 This one’s for you. From basic questions and educational options (for digital nomad families) to housing and bringing your beloved pets, we’re covering some of the most important topics and questions for digital nomads in Costa Rica.

Helpful Resources

Surf Spot

Moving to Costa Rica? Start Here!

Still in the thinking phase? Good move because this is a big decision! Here are six steps to get you started on the path to life in paradise.

Perpetual Tourism vs. Costa Rican Residency

The Costa Rica digital nomad visa is a go-between perpetual tourism and full-fledged residency. Learn more about both, here.

Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Want to dig deep into your possible cost of living in Costa Rica? We break it all the way down in this detailed article (with examples).

 

Book Your Digital Nomad Relocation Package

What We Do

  •     One-on-One Conversations: My relocation assistance begins and concludes with one-on-one conversations – just you and me (Becky Clower). This gives you a chance to get personal and answer all those nitty-gritty, detailed questions that matter most to you. Go ahead – ask me anything!
  •     Relocation E-Course: We’ll set you up for our Costa Rica relocation e-course, delivered via email. Explore, learn, and discover at your own pace, in your own time.
  •     Our “Little Black Book”For nearly two decades, my team and I have compiled a list of our most trusted contacts: best-in-class professionals, service providers, and other resources throughout Costa Rica. Now, that list is yours.
  •     Exclusive Relocation Resources: Everyone has access to my free eBook but only my consulting clients receive the whole library of resources, PDFs, eBooks, and other digital resources. This includes a Relocation eBook, Guanacaste Community eBook and Moving Checklist!

Schedule a Consultation

Reserve your one-on-one relocation consult! Our basic package is $500 and includes everything at left, including two one-on-one phone conversations (one hour each).

ABOUT COSTA RICA

Stunning scenery, ideal climate, wonderful people and proximity to International Airports, Costa Rica has become a popular area for investment, relocation and retirement for many North Americans and Europeans alike.

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