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Five Popular Jobs in Costa Rica Every Expat Tries At Least Once

Last updated on March 9, 2024
popular jobs in costa rica

Ah, Costa Rica. The land where rainforests meet the ocean, and every expat seems to have a side gig selling artisanal kombucha. Picture this: you’re sipping on an ice cold pipa, mulling over your life choices, and you think, “Maybe I should move to Costa Rica and become a…” Wait for it…

Because there are five popular jobs in Costa Rica, that, for reasons only the sloths know, have become the unofficial go-to gigs for every foreigner. Let’s dive into this fascinating rabbit hole.

The Yoga Instructor: “Find Your Inner Pura Vida”

I’d bet my last colón that within 10 minutes of setting foot in any Costa Rican beach town, you’ll encounter a poster advertising a yoga retreat. And behind that retreat is an expat who once thought downward dog was a strange command to give a pet.

The expat-turned-yoga-instructor is an intriguing specimen. They often come equipped with flowy pants, a newfound appreciation for incense, and a unique ability to turn any conversation into a chat about chakras.

Their natural habitats? Beachside shalas, waterfall hideaways, and any spot with a view that’ll make their Instagram followers seethe with envy.

Lesson: If you can breathe and stretch simultaneously (and aren’t opposed to the occasional beachside session with howler monkeys as background music), this might be your gig.

Real Estate Agent: “Dreamy Beachfront… Just Gotta Find that Missing Title”

Remember that scene in a horror movie where someone inevitably says, “Let’s split up”? Becoming a real estate agent is a very popular job in Costa Rica. It’s adventurous, slightly unpredictable, and still a bit like the Wild West.

Every expat realtor starts with grand dreams of selling luxurious beachfront villas. They’ll tout ocean views, proximity to surf breaks, and howler monkey neighbors. But the fun starts when they’re led to properties that can only be accessed via a treacherous mud path, disputed property lines, and guarded by a territorial iguana named Hector.

Lesson: If you can differentiate between a “rustic charm” and a “total teardown,” and can navigate both the Costa Rican wilderness and property laws, slap on that blazer! Just maybe wear hiking boots instead of heels.

Digital Nomad: “Living the Dream, One WiFi Outage at a Time”

Ah, digital nomads. Masters of the art of making work-from-beach look glamorous, even when they’re secretly being bitten to shreds by sand fleas.

Thanks to technology, and a new digital nomad VISA, countless expats flock to Costa Rica armed with a laptop, dreams of passive income, and an unfounded confidence in WiFi speeds. They’re easy to spot. Look for the person at the café with a mild look of panic, asking if anyone has a hotspot as they’re on a “very important call.”

Lesson: If you’ve got an online gig and can handle the occasional internet outage with grace (read: without hurling your laptop into the ocean), welcome to the club.

Surf Instructor: “Dude, Where’s My Board?”

For some, Costa Rica’s waves are too enticing to resist. These water-loving expats morph into surf instructors. Their mornings start with sunrise sessions, and their “office” attire is permanently set to board shorts or bikinis.

Teaching someone to face the mighty Pacific waves is no small feat. It’s a mix of athleticism, infinite patience, and the ability to explain, repeatedly, that no, the board won’t magically keep you afloat as that big set rolls in.

Lesson: If you’ve got the skills, the patience, and the ability to spot a rip current AND a tourist who clearly lied about being “an excellent swimmer” – grab that surfboard and hit the waves.

Bar Owner: “Because Everyone Needs a Drink”

At some point, every expat has that epiphany: regardless of cultural differences, everyone understands the universal language of alcohol. Enter the expat bar – an oasis of familiar liquors, hearty laughs, and occasionally, questionable decisions.

Owning a bar in Costa Rica is both a rite of passage and a wild roller coaster. One day you’re hosting a lively group of tourists playing reggaeton on loop, and the next, you’re negotiating with a local farmer about why his escaped cow can’t be your new mascot.

Lesson: If you can mix a mean margarita, appreciate the subtle art of bar banter, and don’t mind the occasional escaped livestock incident, this is a popular job in Costa Rica. 

Wrapping up the Popular Jobs in Costa Rica

So there you have it. Costa Rica is more than just a tropical paradise. It’s a land of opportunity, where any dream – be it contorting into a pretzel on a beach, selling houses that challenge your definition of ‘livable’, or pouring drinks for sunburned tourists – can come true. You just need to be willing to work in Costa Rica a little harder, maybe make a bit less, and jump some hurdles.