Let’s have a look at this trendy destination for digital nomads, Puerto Viejo. It’s a pretty famous place in the digital nomad community.
It is mostly known for its great surf, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle.
But can we really work remotely from Puerto Viejo? Let’s find out.
Internet Speed in Puerto Viejo
Cosa Rica’s Network Infrastructure is very similar to most Central American countries. In cities, you should not encounter any major issues to get a decent internet speed, while in more remote places things could get a little more unstable. The country ranks at the 72nd position on Speedtest.com global index, right behind Mexico.
Puerto Viejo is quite a remote place but it is also a very famous destination for Digital Nomads. Therefore, you will find apartments on Airbnb offering fiber lines, and you will be able to stay in hotels that are offering stable connections. Before booking your accommodation, confirm with the landlord or with the hotel staff what speed you can expect to get.
There are tons of reviews written on Facebook groups, Reddit, and other websites that are confirming this in case you still have doubts.
If you wish to work remotely from different places in Puerto Viejo, and if you want to make sure that you will be able to attend your meeting when there is a power outage, you will need to get a local sim with a data plan.
Kolbi and Movistar are the two main providers. Kolbi seems to be the best opinion for tourists and digital nomads as they have the widest coverage in the whole country. For $20 you should be able to get about 5GB. And it will come with some extra GB to be used on social networks.
The coverage in Puerto Viejo is not great. The town is fully covered with the basic 4G coverage. This type of network is usually limiting the speed of download to about 10Mbps. And its stability is not perfect. This means that, while you will be on calls, at some moments your speed will drop for a few seconds to then come back to its normal level.
If you look at this map from Nperf.com, you’ll see that the 4G+ is just nonexistent in Puerto Viejo (with both main carriers).
Coworking spaces in Puerto Viejo
Surprisingly, if we consider how remote Puerto Viejo is, there are a few places fully optimized for digital nomads. If you wish to work remotely with other travelers, you should definitely check these places out:
Located close to the beaches and jungle, it provides all the necessities that a nomad requires. There are two meeting rooms, a lounge area, and the rest being hot desks in a large coworking space. That is not all as one of the main appeals of Puerto&Co is also a cafe where you can find succulent vegan dishes and drinks.
Digital Nomad Features:
- High-speed Wifi
- Hot desks/private offices
- Lounge area
- A/C coworking space
- Personal lockers
- Computers on site
- Shared kitchen & vegan menu
- Board games
Located really close to Samara beach, Locoworking is a coworking community from which you can get your work done and surf during your break. They offer different options to access their coworking space. You can simply buy a pass to access the space for one day, for one week, for one month or you can book a spot for 3, 6 or 12 months. They also offer a 24/7 option, for people working remotely during the night or very early in the morning.
Digital Nomad Features:
- 100Mbs fiber optic internet
- Meeting room
- Standing desks
- Chill out lounge
- Communal Fridge
- Tropical garden
- 3-minute walk from the beach
Digital Nomads Hotels & Coliving
The one and only. If you don’t know Selina already, it is basically a hotel group that is specialising in welcoming remote workers and digital nomads. They have hotels in many different cities across South America, and some in Europe as well.
It is clearly not the cheapest option however, if you book there you will have access to a coworking space and to a great pool. If you wish to meet people, that’s the best option for sure.
Tasty Dayz Hostel
If you wish to go for cheaper accommodation, not really optimized for digital nomads you could check on this hostel. Make sure to ask for a room where the Wifi connection is good enough for you to work.
Digital Nomad Visa for Costa Rica
Since August 2021, Costa Rica is in the process to launch a digital nomad visa. It is not yet available, but it will soon as the Costa Rican President already signed a law that is meant to allow foreigners to come to the country to stay one year, without being taxed on their income, to open a bank account in Costa Rica.
The Tourism Minister, Gustavo Segura mentioned that this law was the key to bringing back tourists to the country in this post-pandemic time.
Most Digital Nomads are entering the country with a simple 90-day tourist Visa. Remember that you will need proof of exit of the country to be able to cross the borders.
Cost of living in Puerto Viejo for Digital Nomads
In general, a good way to estimate the cost of living in a country, taking into consideration the fact that we all have different lifestyles, is to check the prices of the cheapest accommodation and to multiply it by 3. This will give you the minimum budget to be prepared to pay.
Here in Puerto Viejo, for a standard private room, you can expect to pay about $1,000 for 30 nights. From that, you can estimate that to live a comfortable life, you should be prepared to spend about $3,000 per month.
The 2,000 difference will cover food, drinks, activities, tours, nightlife, etc.
From that, if you don’t want to get a standard room. Instead, you want a beachfront hotel and even a beachfront balcony. Well, you may have to pay $3,000 dollars per month, just for your accommodation. You simply add the $2,000 we initially calculated, and you get an idea of the budget you should be prepared for. $5,000 in this case.
Typical meal cost
You can expect to pay about $5 for a breakfast. Slightly more for a lunch or diner, about $7. Beverages costs should be between 3 to 5 dollars depending on what you order.
Safety in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
I don’t see any reason to believe that Puerto Viejo is particularly unsafe. Indeed, as per most places I visited and worked from, you will have to be careful with your belongings. You will also need to be cautious of the usual safety rules that most travellers are following. And I’m not talking about buying a travel pouch. I’m talking about:
- Doing your research about the places you are going to visit
- Asking people you can trust about these places
- Not drawing attention
- Not walking around with too much money with you
Puerto Viejo for digital nomad In a nutshell
This beach little town seems to be a very nice place to visit and to work remotely from. It has many advantages. It has beaches, coworking spaces, not the best 4G coverage but Wifi seems decent. However, I would probably prefer going other destinations.
It seems to me that Puerto Viejo is too much of a digital nomad and backpacker hub. If that’s what you’re after, then you should really go there. I’m more into more intimate experiences nowadays. That’s how it is to get older, I guess.