Best Places for Digital Nomads
NOTE: This information and advice is constantly changing and evolving around the world. This article was most recently updated on 5/12/2021. Please check all country, state and local restrictions before planning your next trip.
Before COVID-19, being a digital nomad was reserved for freelancers and those who were bold enough to leap from their corporate gigs to pursue remote or entrepreneurial work.
In the face of COVID, employees of all types realized that working remotely was not impossible for their position and that working and traveling to all of the amazing destinations around the world is simply a matter of figuring out how to continue working remotely after covid. Within the next year, there will inevitably be an uptick in remote workers as employees and employers have become more comfortable with the idea of remote working. Becoming a digital nomad is no longer a pipedream and as COVID vaccinations roll out in the US, fewer of us will be confined to the walls of our homes or our offices. More people will experiment with becoming digital nomads.
During the pandemic, we saw people moving from inner city apartments to the countryside in a mass urban exodus. People from New York fled to other cities with safer, uncrowded streets, and now, with countries offering visas for digital nomads, these people may start finding their next homes abroad. With this influx of new digital nomads and new travel visa programs popping up, it’s time to evaluate where are the best places for digital nomads.
Table of Contents
Picking a Digital Nomad Destination
Whether you’re already a digital nomad or just beginning to toe the edge of working remotely, there are several characteristics to take into consideration before choosing your destination, especially during COVID (it isn’t just the WiFi connection we care about).
When looking for the best places to work remotely, several factors make a great digital nomad destination, including the cost of living in the location, access to WiFi, travel ease, safety, time zone, traveler communities, and visa requirements. For a full breakdown of these factors check out our article on what makes a great digital nomad destination.
Because of Covid, these factors have become even more complicated as travel restrictions, visa requirements, tax implications and the digital nomad support community have all changed significantly. Don’t fret, we’ve included all of these factors in our evaluation, but remember the Covid-19 situation is constantly changing and evolving all around the world. Be sure to check all country, state and local restrictions before planning your next trip.
All of the countries and this list and many others are beginning to roll out freelance and digital nomad visas. However, to keep the list concise, these destinations have the easiest visas to apply for and are the easiest to access during COVID.
Whether you’re making the transition from office worker to digital nomad, or if you’ve always been a digital nomad but your plans were dashed due to COVID, here are some of the best places for digital nomads right now broken down by regions.
Digital Nomad Destinations in the Caribbean
Bermuda for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Bermuda: Imagine sitting in a beach chair and sipping a rum swizzle as you reply to the last email of the day. Bermuda boasts some of the world’s most pristine beaches, amazing scuba attractions and island life culture and food. The weather is incredibly mild and consistent, ranging from 65 to 85 degrees year round. It is important to note that hurricane season lasts June until November and there have been many storm systems this year.
Cost of living in Bermuda: The daily cost of living on the island is more expensive than major US cities, so you'll need to be sure to appropriately budget for the trip. For example, an inexpensive meal would be about $40 USD and monthly utilities will probably be in excess of $200 USD. As a small island it is difficult to get goods and services to the island making everything more expensive.
WiFi in Bermuda: Bermuda is an internet haven with some of the fastest and most consistent internet connections in the Carribean, Central and South America. The island boasts nationwide LTE coverage and WiFi speeds of up to 500Mbps.
Getting to and getting around Bermuda: Bermuda is easy to get to in under 3 hours from the US East Coast and there are direct flights available from many major cities. Once there, the 21 square mile island is easy to navigate on foot, bike or taxi.
Is Bermuda safe: Bermuda is an incredibly safe island for tourists and visitors with a crime rate that is much lower than the US.
What time zone is Bermuda in: Bermuda is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone just an hour ahead of EST making it easy to coordinate calls and meetings with your US counterparts.
Bermuda digital nomad community: There are generally around 10,000 expats living on the tiny island so there is a strong and supportive community of remote workers and digital nomads. Some Bermudians though can be known to have a general hostility towards their “guest workers.” There is a perception expats are taking jobs from locals, but with a virtually nonexistent unemployment rate that seems to only be a belief among a minority of locals.
Bermuda digital nomad visa: All it takes to call the pristine beaches of Bermuda home right now is $263 USD and a quick, online visa application. There is no sneaky fine print on the visa, you don’t have to provide any specific proof of income on your application, and your visa can be approved within 5 business days. It is straightforward and quick. Apply today, be there in a week, and stay for a year.
Gear to pack for Bermuda: If you’re heading to Bermuda you’ll undoubtedly be headed to the beach. We’d highly suggest some waterproof protection to help keep your gear safe while you work poolside or from the beach. In addition, you’ll want a great beach bag daypack so you can explore all the different beaches, and a microfiber towel that’s easy to pack up and transport.
Barbados for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Barbados: Barbados has comfortable temperatures all year and offers a vibrant, laid back island culture. Thanks to the consistent temperature and the lack of a hurricane season, Barbados is a great destination any time of year. Beautiful beaches dot the coasts with many regularly showing up on best beaches in the world lists. Combine this with mouth watering seafood and friendly, welcoming locals and you’ll be all set for an island stay in paradise.
Cost of living in Barbados: There’s no getting around it, spending time in Barbados is expensive. In fact, it's generally considered the most expensive Caribbean island with average daily costs for a traveler pushing $300. An average meal for two people will generally be about $100 but you can find inexpensive meals for about $30. Accommodations are the real expense easily running $1000 a week for a low to mid range 1 bedroom place.
WiFi in Barbados: Wifi is quick and plentiful in accommodations, restaurants, and coffee shops. Barbados has plans to cover the entire island in Wifi but until then there may be times you’re relying on a cell signal, like at the beach or on the bus. Fortunately, you can consistently get a strong cell signal anywhere on the island.
Getting to and getting around Barbados: Barbados has one airport, it is the only international arrival point for travelers by air. Direct flights from major US hubs are relatively frequent so you’ll likely never be far away from a 5-6 hour direct flight. Once on the island there are a few options to get around. Car rentals and taxis are common (but expensive). The local buses run around the island and are heavily concentrated in the west and south coasts where everyone stays. The buses are regular, easy to use, and very cheap.
Is Barbados safe: Travelers in Barbados will be very safe. Petty crime is the only real worry other than select neighborhoods that you can review on the US state department site in advance. Barbados is also not prone to hurricanes which makes it a great destination year round.
What time zone is Barbados in: Barbados is in Atlantic Standard Time, 1 hour ahead of EST. It's important to remember that they do not observe daylight saving time so for half the year Barbados is equal to Eastern.
Barbados digital nomad community: The island nation is a popular destination for digital nomads and expats. This includes entrepreneurs, remote workers, and expats working for consulting or banking companies based on the island. It's easy and common to run into long term visitors in areas where foreigners frequent; bars, dive shops, and coffee shops. Additionally, online groups are very active and the easiest way to meet other remote workers.
Barbados digital nomad visa: The Barbados Welcome Stamp offers remote workers a 12 month visa to stay in Barbados while working for a foreign company. The application is simple and straightforward with a cost of $2000 for individuals or $3000 for a family. The welcome stamp was started in 2020 to help the economy recover from the pandemic. Thanks to the popularity, the island has become a top destination for digital nomads during Covid.
Gear to pack for Barbados: A great laptop backpack will be your best friend for afternoons working in coffee shops, beach days, or jaunts around town. It's relatively common to see workers on laptops in coffee shops or restaurants so pack an electronics organizer and power bank to work outside your accommodations.
Mexico for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Mexico: Mexico is a large and diverse country with an amazing mix of culture and amenities. You can find big cities with entertainment, food and attractions, or you can escape to the mountains or beaches to reconnect with nature.
Cost of living in Mexico: Living expenses in Mexico are hard to beat. The cost of living in Mexico City is roughly 1/2 that of living in Austin, Texas, making even luxury accommodations, meals and transportation affordable for most digital nomads earning their income in USD. And the cost of living can get even less inexpensive outside of the city.
WiFi in Mexico: Quality internet speeds and connectivity can be a bit of a wildcard in Mexico. Large cities and well developed areas have strong infrastructures capable of fast and consistent WiFi, but more rural or coastal areas can be slow or spotty. Check with your accommodation provider if you need consistent and fast WiFi.
Getting to and getting around Mexico: It is incredibly easy to get to Mexico from the States with tons of airlines offering short, direct flights to Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and more. Once there, an extensive bus system can get you just about anywhere in the country and tickets are cheap. Your US driver’s license will also be recognized in Mexico so feel free to pick up a rental car if you really want to get out and explore.
Is Mexico safe: Crime and especially violent crime in Mexico has been on the rise over the past decade. Mexico is still considered safe for travelers in many areas, but the US State Department has released a lengthy list of cities and states that tourists should avoid due to elevated crime levels. If you’re headed to Mexico, be sure to check all travel advisories and adhere to safe traveler best practices like avoiding sketchy areas, keeping a close grip on your valuables and maintaining a modest profile.
What time zone is Mexico in: Mexico covers the same time zones as the continental US with its easternmost cities falling into EST and westernmost falling into PST.
Mexico digital nomad community: Many of Mexico’s urban centers and tourist destinations are becoming some of the best cities for digital nomads including Mexico City, Puerto Vallarata, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. In these cities, you can connect with other digital nomads in cafes and coworking spaces, or utilize the many facebook groups to find other digital nomads when you’re out on the coasts.
Mexico digital nomad visa: Mexico’s borders are open and welcoming US citizens who can provide proof of either $20,000 USD of savings or more than $1,000 USD monthly income. To get the most out of their temporary resident visa, you should aim to stay longer than 180 days, which is the length of a typical tourist visa requiring no application.
Gear to pack for Mexico: Mexico is a large and diverse country so what to bring will depend largely on where you’re going and what you plan on doing. In general, an anti-theft urban explorer daypack, a packable excursion backpack for beach days or exploring ruins, and a luggage cable lock are all good ideas. In general you should avoid the tap water in Mexico. If you want to avoid tons of plastic bottles, pick up a filtering water bottle and run your drinking water through the filtering process.
Costa Rica for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Costa Rica: Costa Rica boasts delicious and cheap Latin American food, canoeing, whitewater rafting, mountains to hike and explore, excellent surfing, paddleboarding and snorkeling on its famous beaches.
Cost of living in Costa Rica: The cost of living in Costa Rica is not as cheap as other Latin American or South American countries. That said, it is still relatively inexpensive when compared to the US. You can expect your dollars to stretch somewhere between 20% and 30% further in Costa Rica than in the States. Accommodations should run between $500 and $1,000 month, leaving room for entertainment and exploration.
WiFi in Costa Rica: Internet access in Costa Rica is lagging a bit. Most rental accommodations will have WiFi included, but public access to WiFi in coffee shops or restaurants is very rare. Additionally, the network speeds in Costa Rica need modernizing. If you’re planning to browse and occasionally download files you should be fine, but if you need consistent video calling or strong download and upload speeds you may need to check with your accommodation provider.
Getting to and getting around Costa Rica: Costa Rica is very close to the US making it a short and relatively inexpensive flight. You can find direct flights from several major cities. Once there, if your home base is in San Jose, you’ll have easy daytrip access to just about every other major tourist area via cheap buses and taxis.
Is Costa Rica Safe: Costa Rica is one of the safest countries for tourists and travelers in Central and South America.
What time zone is Costa Rica in: Just about all of Costa Rica falls in the Central Standard time zone, just an hour behind EST. Meaning no jet lag and making it easy to keep up with your US counterparts during office hours.
Costa Rica digital nomad community: There is an active expat community in Costa Rica, but it may be difficult to break into due to the lack of co-working spaces and non-existent cafe culture. There are Facebook groups that can help you make introductions.
Costa Rica digital nomad visa: Costa Rica is in the process now of rolling out their new remote work visa which gives digital nomads a permit to stay in the country for up to a year without leaving, and provides the possibility of extending for another year. Proof of steady income generated outside of the country exceeding $5,000 per month and medical insurance will be required. Applicants would be eligible to apply for family members as well. Additional privileges like tax exemptions and using your origin country’s driver’s license may also be available.
Gear to pack for Costa Rica: There is apparently a huge electronics shortage in Costa Rica and replacement gear can be difficult to come by once you’re in Costa Rica. Bringing extra batteries, power banks, USB-C cables, and plug adapter and converters are a must. Protecting your electronics should also be a priority, and if you’re headed to the beach you will definitely want to bring a waterproof case for your gear.
Digital Nomad Destinations in Europe
Georgia for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Georgia: Swim in the Black Sea, explore the Caucasus mountains or learn about the clash of cultures that occurs at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Asia. Georgia offers beautiful rolling hills and mountains as well as a bustling city life for tourists.
Cost of living in Georgia: The cost of living in Georgia is really cheap. Numbeo estimates that you’d need roughly $750 a month in Tbilisi, Georgia to maintain a lifestyle that would cost you roughly $4,000 a month in New York City. This means monthly rent around $350, less than $200 a month in groceries per person and meals under $5 USD.
WiFi in Georgia: Georgia has invested heavily in its internet infrastructure and over 80% of the country's internet connections now use optical fiber. That means internet connections are fast, consistent and stable. Rural and mountainous regions may have spotty service, but established cities and towns should have all the internet you need.
Getting to and getting around Georgia: As a small country, Georgia generally requires a connecting flight (or two) when traveling from the US and the price tag can be relatively expensive. Once there, Georgia does have a railway system that can help travelers get about between cities and explore neighboring countries for cheap.
Is Georgia safe: Georgia is a very safe country to visit and is consistently ranked in the top 15 safest countries in the world for travelers.
What time zone is Georgia in: Georgia is located in the Georgia Standard time zone (GET) which is 8 hrs ahead of EST, so planning overlapping office hours with coworkers or clients in the US can be a challenge.
Georgia digital nomad community: Georgia’s economy is largely based on tourism and their newly released digital nomad visa is attracting tons of new freelancers and entrepreneurs. Tbilisi has a thriving and growing digital nomad community.
Georgia digital nomad visa: Georgia is accepting applicants from over 95 countries who can show monthly income of at least $2,000 USD. The visa takes 10-days to get approved and should provide residence status for up to a year. There is no cost for the application or the visa itself.
Gear to pack for Georgia: Grab an excellent hiking backpack to explore all that the Caucasus mountains have to offer. You’ll also need a global travel plug adapter and voltage converter to run your electronics on the European electrical grid. The tap water quality can also be hit or miss in Georgia with the water system being safe to drink in most cities and more suspect in smaller more rural areas. To avoid wasteful plastic bottles bring a filtering water bottle and run your drinking water through the filter.
Croatia for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Croatia: A Mediterranean natural beauty, Croatia boasts an enchanting mixture of food and wine, charming old cities with rich history and culture, along with a mild Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches and hundreds of islands to explore.
Cost of living in Croatia: Croatia is surprisingly affordable. On average, the cost of living in the country is roughly 10% cheaper than in the US, but rent prices are significantly less expensive at roughly 40% cheaper. It is not uncommon to find accommodations right in the cities for under $500/month. That leaves a lot of budget for entertainment and exploration!
WiFi in Croatia: WiFi access in Croatia is plentiful and most accommodations will include free, consistent and reasonably fast internet access. Broadband access is available in most cities, but can be spotty in the countryside.
Getting to and getting around Croatia: Direct flights to Croatia from the States are pretty much nonexistent and the cost of trips to Croatia vary greatly depending on where you’re connecting and how many connections you’re willing to make. Don’t be surprised if it costs $1,000 - $2,000 USD to get to Croatia. Once there, Croatia has an extensive network of buses and trains that can connect you to most cities, towns and islands. Renting a car can also be a great option given the well kept and modern roadways, and you’ll be permitted to drive with just your US driver’s license.
Is Croatia safe: Croatia is very safe for travelers. Violent crime is extremely rare and pickpocketing and petty theft are concentrated in the city centers and poorer neighborhoods.
What time zone is Croatia in: Croatia is located in the Central European Time zone, 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard. This can make it difficult, but not impossible to plan overlapping office hours with coworkers in the states.
Croatia digital nomad community: Almost all restaurants, bars and cafes offer free WiFi making Croatia a great place to meet other digital nomads through their cafe culture. Additionally, there are “cybercafe” coworking spaces with faster internet and other amenities for remote workers.
Croatia digital nomad visa: The Croatian digital nomad residence permit allows foreign nationals to live in Croatia for up to a year at a time. To apply, applicants need to be able to provide proof of income generated in another country in excess of at least half of the average monthly income of a Croatian. This is obviously a moving target, but in the most recent year where data is available, you’d need to earn at least $700/month USD. Of note, the residence permit forbids applicants from working for any Croatian company.
Gear to pack for Croatia: A comfortable urban explorer daypack will be your best friend in Croatia while you’re roaming the city streets of Dubrovnik and Split. You’ll also need a global travel plug adapter and voltage converter to run your electronics on the European electrical grid.
Portugal for Digital Nomads
Why travel to Portugal: Lush hills, beautiful beaches and a buzzing city life await digital nomads settling in Portugal. Whether you’re looking for great surfing, amazing food, historic exploration or a free spirited party lifestyle, Portugal has something for everyone.
Cost of living in Portugal: Portugal is relatively easy on the wallet when compared to the rest of Western Europe, coming in about 15% cheaper than Spain and 35% cheaper than France on average according to Numbeo. This puts it roughly 30% cheaper than the US with an average apartment costing around $650 USD/month, a meal for two costing around $35, and a 500ml beer costing $2.50.
WiFi in Portugal: Portugal has been a forerunner in Europe in the past decades spending millions of dollars building out the internet and mobile broadband infrastructure. High speed WiFi is available just about everywhere in Portugal with free, open access networks in plenty of public areas like markets, parks, hotels and football stadiums. Just about all accommodation providers have fast and consistent internet.
Getting to and getting around Portugal: Several major US cities including Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Charlotte all have direct flights to Lisbon and the Azores (Portugal’s Atlantic Ocean island chain). Flights can vary greatly by price with the summer months being the most expensive time to travel to Portugal. Expect to spend between $700 and $1,500 USD. Once in Portugal, the 350 mile long country is well connected by both train and a public bus network. Both are inexpensive and modernized.
Is Portugal safe: Portugal is an extremely safe country for travelers, ranking #3 on the 2020 Global Peace Index. Violent crime is almost nonexistent in the country, but travelers and tourists should still adhere to common sense best practices to avoid scams and pick pocketing, especially in major cities.
What time zone is Portugal in: Portugal is in the Western European Timezone, 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This makes overlapping half days with US coworkers and clients fairly easy.
Portugal digital nomad community: Portugal has a huge and growing digital nomad and expat population. DigitalNomads.pt is a great starting point for remote workers looking to meet others in Portugal, but there are also plenty of Facebook groups and coworking spaces as well. Of note, the island of Madeira in the Azores even has its own Digital Nomad Village.
Portugal digital nomad visa: Portugal offers two types of visas for digital nomads. The temporary stay visa, valid for 1 year and can be renewed for up to 2 additional years, and the residency visa valid for 2 years and renewable for 3 year periods. The residency visa even offers a path to permanent residency, but comes with some additional restrictions. In general though, you’ll need to provide proof of income of €600 (approximately $750 USD) per month generated outside of Portugal, proof of travel health insurance and will need to submit to a criminal background check to apply.
Gear to pack for Portugal: Portugal is a well developed, modern European country. Bring your best urban explorer daypack for days out and about, a power bank to stay connected and travel plug converter to keep all of your gear charged on the European electric grid.
The Best Places for Digital Nomads Right Now
The beauty of being a digital nomad is you have the ability to work anywhere in the world. During the Covid pandemic, many have found this lifestyle more accessible and even though the after effects of COVID will make travel a bit different for years to come, there are still places abroad to safely travel to and explore. As a digital nomad, your travel plans don’t need to be completely canceled.
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