The Complete Digital Nomad Guide To San Jose, Costa Rica

Sunsets & Digital Nomading In Costa Rica

A sunset from Dominical a couple hours from San Jose

Table Of Contents

Disclaimer – This is largely a review of Barrio Escalante, as that’s mostly where I stayed while in San Jose.

The 5 Quick Scores

  • Internet Speed – 3.5/5
    • Avg. Download Speed = 18.6 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 4.1 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 47 MS*
  • Ease Of Connecting & Making Friends – 4.5/5
    • There are plenty of other travelers around, and Costa Rican people are really easy to make friends with.
  • Nightlife – 3.5/5
    • Personally I liked this style of nightlife in Barrio Escalante, it was a bit more laid back not the loud, packed cluby vibe more of the wine bars & craft beer spots.
  • Places To Work From – 3.5/5
    • There are a decent amount of places to work from here, however many spots seemed to have weird hours, or closed super early More details on this below.
  • Affordability – 2/5
    • This spot is expensive, you can get hotels pretty cheap, but otherwise eating out and such is gonna cost you a bit, especially if you like drinking European wine.

Wifi Speed Tests

Type / DeviceNameUploadDownloadLatency
CafeCabra Negra69.224.6333
HotelHostel Finca23.921.3718
HotspotSolis22.1310.2437
HotspotGoogle Fi17.811.05213
CafeEntre Nous15.122.7323
CafeStarbucks – Central Ave & Calle 359.393.9910

Where I Stayed

Hostel Finca Escalante

Digital Nomad Hostel / Hotel San Jose Costa Rica
Sunset shot of the front – Photo Credit – Trip Advisor
  • OVERALL4/5
  • Affordability – 4/5 – Affordable, at the time of writing this, it’s ~$10 for a shared dorm room & ~$35 for a private room
  • Wifi – 3.5/5 – The wifi near the lobby wasn’t too bad, I was able to have multiple video calls but needed to connect my ethernet cord to do so.
    • Avg. Download Speed = 19.33 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 21.42 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 23 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 5/5 – The staff is super cool and there are a lot of other single / nomadic folks here that are easy to connect with, they have a bad ass area in the back where I actually shot one of my digital nomad interviews at.
  • Location – 5/5 – Right in the heart of Barrio Escalante
  • Cleanliness – 4/5 – Overall pretty damn clean
Hanging out at a cafe In San Jose, Costa Rica
My buddies Scott & Varun, Varun is probably the best Spanish speaking Brit I know

My Favorite Places To Work From

Digital Nomad Cafe - San Jose Costa Rica

Cabra Negra

  • OVERALL4/5 – Killer spot, and they had plenty of space and were totally cool with me working there for what ended up being about a 6 hour stretch haha.
  • Wifi – 4/5 – This was the fastest wifi I got at any cafe in Dominican Republic
    • Download Speed = 22.7 MBPS
    • Upload Speed = 10.2 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 58 MS
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly. They were also totally cool with me camping out and working from there. The owners were very nice too, and super well travelled.
  • Location / Ambiance – 4.5/5 – The ambiance is killer, I do have to say the location isn’t as prime as Cafe Conde. But as I mentioned, I’m partial to colonial plazas, so take that into consideration haha.

Transportation

  • Getting There & Leaving
  • Getting Around
    • UBER – Although you may find that it takes you 3 or 4 drivers to actually get a ride, the drivers will regularly accept your ride, then cancel it.
    • DiDi – Cheaper than UBER, but same problem as above

What I Ate

Not So Healthy Food – I loved the Dulce De Leche, not too tough to find at markets.

Casado
I totally spaced taking any photos of these 🤦‍♀️
Photo Credit : Soda Visquez on TripAdvisor

Casado Pescado – this is a traditional Costa Rican dish, with fish, beans, rice, salad and some fried plantains. Definitely my favorite Costa Rican food. If you’re in Dominical check out Su Raza.

What I Drank / Nightlife

Lots of cool, low key spots all around Escalante
Photo credit: Trip Advisor
  • If you’re looking for nice, European wine, Restaurant Isolina is quite good. It’s pretty damn pricey though.
  • I didn’t do a crazy amount of partying in Barrio Escalante, not going to lie to you so instead of Googling some place that looks cheap and fun I’ll just be honest. I don’t have any recommendations for cheap nightlife
  • For drinks, Imperial is the beer everyone drinks. I did come across a couple of Costa Rican rums but even the more expensive ones were a far cry from the rums of Dominican Republic. Check out my guide to Santo Domingo, Dominincan Republic.

Exercise / Outdoors

Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo
Los Tres Ojos – Picture Credit : Godominincanrepublic.com

Nature

There’s a lot of good mountain biking near San Jose, here’s a map of some trails nearby from AllTrails (my favorite app for hiking). Here’s a spot you can with some cool trails where you can even rent a bike.

I also drive through Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, which was a super beautiful spot that I haven’t heard anyone talk about before though for some reason.

Other Spots I Recommend

Dominical – A cool, laidback surf town on the Pacific coast

Manuel Antonio Another cool spot on the Pacific coast, it’s a little busier and has more resorts and such not quite as chill as Dominical, but still bad ass.

Monteverde – A really cool spot far up in the mountains, it’s quite cold and constantly in the clouds, but a great spot!

La Fortuna – Great hiking, Arenal Volcano, and a kickass hostel that I wish I would’ve stayed at longer, Poshpacker.

Santa Teresa – Unfortunately I was only there for a bit over 2 weeks so I wasn’t able to check this place out, but it’s definitely on my list for next time it looks awesome and I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about it from other digital nomads.

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