While I was growing up, I thought the only people that worked at the beach were lifeguards. In the past few years there is an ever increasing trend of expats keeping their current jobs while moving abroad to places like… Nosara. I have worked with many people who dream of living here, but they are unsure of what to do for work. The ‘old’ answer was that you had to find something to do related to tourism which 1) Doesn’t suit everybody 2)Generally takes a lot of working capital to start a business 3) Is often a saturated market and/or seasonal. For most people who don’t have a bottomless bank account, a great way to live in paradise (isn’t it ironic that I always write that Nosara isn’t paradise and then refer to it as such?) is to work here while still earning a living with North American/European wages.
What types of jobs can be done online? Actually, many and people from all walks of life have settled here from around the globe. Here are just a few examples of work being done from Nosara right now:
- Stock Trading
- Commercial Musician
- Employment Recruiting
- Software Sales
- Software Development
- Internet Marketing Sales
- Cellular Refurbishing Sales/Management
- Vacation Travel Management
- And there are several company owners who manage their staff from sunny Nosara
For those interested in living this Bohemian lifestyle but have never lived abroad, it also provides a bit of a security blanket. That is, if things don’t work out they can simply return to their previous life. Of course it is also nice to make good money in a land where it is harder to spend it (no malls, no Home Depot, etc). Other benefits are fairly obvious like a year round tan and no winter clothes. I’ll focus on the challenges because the whole idea is to help you arrive here properly prepared in advance.
When you are working via the Internet… you need reliable Internet service. While it has gotten more stable over the years it does go out from time-to-time. One friend who previously experienced Internet challenges always has a phone with the ‘Hot Spot’ on and ready in case the house DSL goes out. Of course the hot spot isn’t as fast as the regular DSL but it may save you in a critical situation. Most homes have good DSL lines and fiber optic is even creeping its way through Nosara. We still lose service at times but not too often. Having a backup battery connected to the computer and a hot spot provides a good Plan B. The only other piece of advice to consider during rainy season is to schedule your call. For instance, if you have an afternoon call with a client in San Diego, and the client thinks you are in San Diego too and then a thunderstorm rolls through, you could be caught with your pants down. The thunder here can be quite loud and will be impossible to mask.
Another friend of mine has a marketing company in Manhattan. He is on calls and video conferences all day with clients throughout the US. Most of his longtime clients know he is calling/working from an office in Costa Rica but there are few who assume that he is at his desk in the City (you don’t want your client to be jealous and think you’re a slacker…). Little do they know shorts and flip flops are worn just below the screen shot. He returns to NY every 4-6 weeks for a few days to meet face-to-face with clients and staff but the bulk of his work is done about a two minute walk to the beach.
One gentleman, an online stock trader, likes Costa Rica because of our time zone. Without daylight savings time, we bounce from Mountain Time Zone in the summer to Central Time Zone in the winter. For people who work with clients or employees across North America, it is nice to be in the middle.
With the sunny climate, constant surf and being surrounded by energetic tourists, how does one get any work done? A good friend told me she got more work done in Nosara than she did while in the California. She felt so blessed that her company allowed her to work from abroad that she didn’t want to let them down and found ways to be even more efficient. She also gained two hours of free time per day by eliminating her dreaded daily commute.
Some people work from home and others rent office space near the beach. For those who have small kids, it is tough to get work done while a little one comes to terms with the fact that he/she cannot have the cookie they want or if you are on a video conference call with our biggest client and have sticky fingered toddler trying to crawl up on your lap. There are several offices for rent in the Playa Guiones area near Banco Popular and there are also desks/offices to rent at ‘Offices By the Beach’ next to the Harmony Hotel. Prices for space can vary from $250/month to $1200/month depending on the size of the space. It is important to note that commercial office spaces can get more bandwidth from the Internet providers than residential.
The Internet is indeed changing the world and for some, giving them freedom to live where they choose. So if you can choose… why not choose a tropical beach destination with warm water, good surf, bumpy roads, year round flip flops and more yoga retreats than dry cleaners? -Bram