7 Tips for Working Remotely from Costa Rica
In 2020, most of us adopted the work-from-home style mullet…business on the top, PJ’s on the bottom. Our home offices were overrun by kids, pet hair and our husbands aimlessly wandering around like zombies (looking for a sandwich and not braaaains…). 2021 could be different – we’re still largely screwed by the pandemic so not THAT different, but different nonetheless. My point here is that we have all realised that working remotely is awesome and it can pretty much be done from anywhere in the world, within reason. If you have always fancied the idea of living a remote beach life; sipping out of a coconut and having a year-round tan, then you have come to the right place. Here are 8 tips for working remotely from Costa Rica.
- There Could Be a New Visa Category for Us
Costa Rica has a new proposed law that would create a new visa category just for remote workers. This so-called digital nomad category is close to becoming law. This visa category would allow for foreigners to work remotely in Costa Rica and receive income from outside of the country. This visa would be valid for a year and could be extended for an additional year. Visa-holders would be exempt from taxes on utilities and remittances and they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on any equipment they bring into the country in order to do their jobs. This is great news for all of us who are considering living the blissful Costa Rican life.
- You Wouldn’t Be the Only Ones
There are literally thousands of people living in Costa Rica and working remotely for their employers in North America, England, Europe and other places. Due to the current pandemic health crisis, more and more companies are opting to cut back on overheads and are allowing their employees to telecommute and work from home – some companies have even made this transition permanently. This has allowed many workers to live their dream lives in gorgeous places that would otherwise have been reserved for vacationing only.
- There Could Be a Time Difference
Costa Rica has one time zone, which is in the UTC-06:00 zone. Costa Rica does not have daylight savings time as it keeps the same time offset every day of the year. Depending where your employer is based, this could mean adjusting your sleep schedule accordingly. If your colleagues are working from home in New York for example, this would mean that they are only 1 hour ahead of you. You would need to check the time difference for your unique circumstances. Considering that you’re the one living in Costa Rica, you should be the one to adjust your schedule accordingly – it’s better if everyone agrees to use only one time zone. There could be a few hiccups at first, especially if you have all relocated to different locations around the world – you will all get the hang of it soon enough.
- Resort Accommodation
If you’re considering taking a grown-up gap year in this gorgeous paradise, be prepared to pay a fair amount of money for your accommodation if you want to stay in a resort. Decent resort rates (air-conditioning, high-speed WiFi, stove, fridge etc.) will set you back from around $2500 a month per person which is $625 a week each. You could probably find something cheaper to rent, this is just a baseline figure in case you were expecting it to be a lot less. That’s fine though because there are some excellent ways to make extra money online.
- Security & Environment
Unlike other beach locations, Costa Rica has a constitutional republic with a stable democracy. Costa Rica is well known for its progressive environmental policies and its highly-educated workforce. It is a largely safe country but petty crime is common (like pretty much everywhere else in the world) and muggings have been known to happen. It is important to be vigilant, but this is true of everywhere in this day and age.
- Digital Capabilities
If you’re worried about Costa Rica not having the communications infrastructure that you need to be able to work remotely from there, you can stop. Costa Rica has had several huge improvements in infrastructure and communications that have transformed this country from a third-world digital status vacation spot into a truly competitive force that is entirely capable of holding their own in the international market. This is especially true for the capital city of San José as well as many other major beach towns with several private companies offering high-speed packages.
- Co-Working Environments Exist
Barrio Escalante is a trendy neighbourhood in San José and it has some great options if you’re looking for co-working environments. Remember that we are living in the middle of a pandemic, so you need to observe and comply with all the safety protocols set out by the government of Costa Rica. You will need to look for a space that is equipped with high-speed, reliable internet for video conferencing but if all you need is a space to think and write then you can set up camp pretty much anywhere or even on the beach, under a tree – mind the coconuts.
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