Life as Digital Nomad in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
by Josien - 12 Mar, 2020
Santa Teresa has one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica and perhaps in the whole world. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can listen to live music in the evenings and socialize with the locals in many places. But what is life like as a digital nomad in Santa Teresa? We spend 3 months in this beautiful town and will share our experiences with you here:
Pro 1. Great co-working spot: Selina
In case you never heard of Selina: it’s an organization that offers co-working and co-living for digital nomads. They have locations all over Latin America and thus also in Santa Teresa. Selina is the town’s leading shared office space that offers natural lighting, Skype booths, water and coffee, and plenty of amenities for busy professionals! And when you’re finished with your work, take a 5 min walk and you’re at the beach!
Pro 2. Big community of ex-pats and digital nomads
During our stay in Santa Teresa, we got to know a lot of other digital nomads and entrepreneurial foreigners who started their own local companies. The digital nomad community in Santa Teresa is pretty strong and with an international school in town, it’s easy for them to settle here with their family. It also means it is easy to find an international community in town.
Besides the ex-pats, with two Selina locations in town, there is no way you will feel alone. We found a lot of like-minded travelers and are still in touch with some of them, even though on the other side of the world.
Pro 3. Green, lush, and healthy environment
Costa Rica, and therefore Santa Teresa, is known for its eco-friendly and sustainable culture, something you as a digital nomad will appreciate. They organize trash by separating plastics, organics, and recyclables, they keep the streets and beaches clean and are very well aware of climate change. A lot of restaurants have organic menus, there is enough choice for vegans/vegetarians and there is a strong focus on a healthy lifestyle. As a digital nomad, I always find more rest, inspiration, creativity and a free mind to start new gigs in places like these. I’m more productive and focussed on what needs to be done. And to be honest, who likes to be in a polluted place anyway?
Pro 4. Fun activities
I spent a whole blog article on all things to do in Santa Teresa and its surroundings. Enjoy!
Con 1. It’s a very small town
Don’t expect big supermarkets, shopping centers or lots of restaurants to pick from. There are small supermarkets in town where you can buy the basics (and a bit more), but the good supermarket is an hour’s drive away. Forget about ordering things online, there are no addresses in Santa Teresa.
There is enough for everyone to enjoy themselves, but after a while, I felt like everyone in town knew me and I had been to all restaurants (which is not true btw). Santa Teresa is great for its quietness, the great consistent waves, and that it’s so hidden, but it is super remote too.
Con 2. The main road…
Santa Teresa is basically one long unpaved road with a lot of holes. Deep holes.
To get to Santa Teresa, you need a 4×4 or a quad. The town is situated at the south-west of the Nicoya Peninsula. When you come by car from SJO, you will cross some dodgy dirt roads at high cliffs. If you come by plane, you land at Tambor (just a runway with a local bus stop). From there you still need a car to cross those rocky roads.
Then, when you think you made it, you arrive in Santa Teresa to realize that the main road of this town is just the same: rocky, muddy, lots of holes, and unpredictable. This brings many issues, but these are the main ones:
- During the dry season, everything gets dusty.
- During the rainy season, the road is slippery.
- After a while the holes are so deep you can’t drive faster than 10 mph.
It’s one of the biggest frustrations of the local community and entrepreneurs on the main road. Trucks and school busses have to pass each other, and tourists have to feel welcome (and clean).
The locals and local businesses pay for pavement, but clearly the government is not investing that money in their roads.
A well-prepared digital nomad travels with a face mask, especially after the corona crisis, so you will be fine in Santa Teresa!
Con 3. Costa Rica is expensive
It may be a Latin American country, it wields American prices for food, stays, and supplies. You get a lot in return for that money (clean, nature, healthy lifestyle), but for an average traveler, this location might be above budget for many. The best thing to do here is to book a co-living (Selina) or get a group of nomads together and share a bigger Airbnb. We did the latter and it saved us a lot of money. It meant we had a big house with a big kitchen so we could cook our own meals instead of eating out every day.