“I want to travel, but where can I go?!” Finding the answer to this question may seem daunting at first. Covid-19 has halted countries with little to no warning, and the situation is always changing. But several countries are open and ready to welcome US tourists, specifically digital nomads. Some have even started offering digital nomad visas to entice long-term visitors, which in turn stimulate their economy.
As of May 2021- there are 90 countries that are welcoming US tourists (with some requirements such as covid-19 testing and/or quarantine.) Of these 90, 18 have introduced a brand new visa specifically for digital nomads. Want to become a digital nomad this year but aren’t sure where to start? Read my free blog post series here.
Below I’ve curated my top 5 favorite countries for you based on covid requirements, accessibility, and affordability. Get ready to book your flight!
Top 5 Open Countries For The Digital Nomad
Number one on the list is almost obviously, Mexico. After all, Tulum is where I currently am residing. Mexico has amazing food, Mayan temples, beaches, and a vibrant art scene. Although Mexico’s land border still remains closed to travelers, it is easily accessible via air travel.
Mexico now offers a digital nomad visa through a 12 month temporary resident visa, with one of the lowest financial requirements amongst all digital nomad visas (you must show proof that you’ve earned at least $1620 USD per month for the past 6 months.)
However, if you plan on staying 6 months or less you don’t need a visa at all. Just show up, passport in hand, and say you’re here for “va-cat-ion”. Vamos!
Covid restrictions vary from state to state, but the government has adopted an easy to understand traffic light system for restrictions in each state. Green means less restrictions are in place and red means stay at home orders are in place. You can check the current color of the state you wish to visit here.
Although Tulum has been in Orange for the majority of the time I’ve been here, most things are still open, just at a lessor capacity!
2. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has been a long time favorite for western expats as well as digital nomads. The country motto is “Pure Life”, after all. Costa Rica offers beautiful beaches, rainforests, and affordable living.
Costa Rica is now open to tourists and has begun to offer a 2 year residence visa for digital nomads.
This new visa is called rentista and it is available specifically to self employed tourists and entrepreneurs.
- Must show income of $2,500 per month
- Pay $250 application fee
- Purchase travel medical insurance
FAVORITE COSTA RICAN REGIONS AMONGST DIGITAL NOMADS
1. The Central Valley (Capital city of San Jose)
2. Arenal (known for their famous volcano, hot springs, and lake)
3. The Gold Coast (Northwest coastline of Costa Rica)
4. Jaco Beach (known for surfing, beaches, and nightlife)
Work From Paradise
Barbados offers world class snorkeling, affordable living, and by law all coastline is public (meaning you can access any and all beaches.) If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enjoy Barbados with little to no waiting after arrival to the island. Restaurants and bars are also open for in-person dining on the island, but nightclubs remain closed at the moment.
Barbados is now offering a 12 month visa for the digital nomad called Welcome Stamp.
Welcome Stamp requirements:
- 2000 USD fee to apply
- must certify that you expect to earn 50,000 USD over the next 12 months, or have means to support yourself/family
Guatemala is popular for expats because of its affordable living, beautiful landscapes, and mild climate.GUATEMALA IS A MAYAN WORD, LOOSELY TRANSLATED TO LAND OF MANY TREES.
Although Guatemala does not currently offer a digital nomad visa, it has begun welcoming tourists with proof of a negative covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival.
FAVORITE GUATEMALAN CITIES AMONGST EXPAT COMMUNITIES:
1. Lake Atitlan (lake surrounded by striking volcanoes)
2. Antigua (Colonial town with cobblestone streets and volcano views)
3. Cuidad Vieja (Town 15 mins away from Antigua, with slightly cheaper living)
4. Panajachel (town on the northeast shore of Lake Atitlan)
Without a visa, US tourists are required to limit their stay in Guatemala to 90 days. However, due to it’s landlocked borders, traveling to other countries is very easy.
According to the Guatemalan Embassy, covid restrictions are as follows:
“All businesses, entertainment facilities, places of worship, and public spaces may operate, with limited opening hours, and appropriate measures for social distancing following locality-specific tiered health alerts. The wearing of a face mask in public spaces is mandatory. U.S. citizens are advised to restrict their activities and movements to the maximum extent possible.”
We all know how I love Europe. And the best news is, Croatia is welcoming us in with open arms… well, borders. Croatia is well known for it’s wine, Game of Thrones filming locations, and infinite pebble beaches. This picturesque country once boasted that it had too many tourists but now is open (and empty!)
In an effort to bring more tourists in, Croatia has begun offering a digital nomad residence permit. Application for the residence permit can be completed before or after arrival into Croatia and is valid up to 12 months.
I honestly couldn’t think of a better place to live for the next year, while we all wait for the EU to open their doors once again. In fact, while I’ve never been to Croatia just yet, I recently had a vivid vision in meditation that I was living there and loving it.
Covid has forever changed the way of the world, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to be had for the remote worker, or digital nomad.
Since the situation is always changing, be sure to thoroughly research local requirements before visiting or moving to these countries.
If you find yourself in one of these amazing places, tag me in your posts and stories on Instagram (@ce.hall) so I can see and repost!
Christine is a twenty-something coffee-obsessed traveler from a small town in the US. She sold everything 3 years ago to follow her curiosity around the world.
As a passionate freelance graphic designer, digital nomad, and photographer, she has explored it all! Her mission is to help others live their dream lifestyles around what lights them up.