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The digital nomad is a different breed of human being. If you’re one, you know. You don’t follow societal norms. You don’t wish to be part of the workforce herd mentality. And, most importantly, you want to be able to work where you want, when you want, preferably somewhere with gorgeous scenery.
It’s not hard to find a destination for your envious live-work lifestyle, but if you can be remote, why not implement some standards while you’re at it? Of course, cost of living, safety and internet access come into play too. Here are the 6 best cities for digital nomads–one for almost every continent–based on all the important criteria, including proximity to gorgeous landscapes.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Looking for beaches? Mountains? City life? Cape Town has all of that in addition to a growing digital nomad community. It has been nicknamed Silicon Cape for its emerging tech scene, which means fellow nomads aren’t hard to find.
Capetown isn’t exactly known for an outstanding internet connection (usually around 2-8 Mb/s), but the good news is that co-working spaces are popping up all over the place and the remote work scene is only getting better. When the internet is halting your workflow, just head out to the beach where you’re guaranteed summer weather 9 months out of the year.
Cost of living in Cape Town: $1,600-$2,200/month
2. Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala
Guatemala is not the first place that comes to mind when you think expat life, and that is exactly why Quetzaltenango (better known as Xela) is an ideal place for digital nomads. It hasn’t been overrun by foreigners. Being a small Central American city, Xela possesses all the hospitality and warmth of the Latin culture without the crowded metropolitan vibe.
The tight-knit community of foreigners has melded almost seamlessly into Xela, adding to its character without diluting its uniqueness. The best part is that the foreigners have created a community amongst each other as well as with the locals. It’s the perfect blended atmosphere for any digital nomad. This quaint city ranks high in safety, has numerous cafes with great internet connectivity and is ideal for taking Spanish lessons. Why not give it a try?
Cost of living in Xela: $500-$800/month
3. Medellin, Colombia
The digital nomad community loves Medellin, and, once you experience it for yourself, it’s easy to see why. Between the immaculate metro system, free workout facilities, public WiFi hotspots, and a diverse restaurant scene, there was no way to leave Medellin off this list.
The cost of living is low even when compared to other South American countries, but the opportunities for digital nomads to thrive are endless. Co-working spaces are sprawled throughout the city, high-speed internet is easier to find than quality coffee and networking events occur daily. This city may not have been created for the digital nomad lifestyle, but it is certainly set up to cater to one, especially in the Poblado neighborhood, where the densest population of remote workers reside.
Cost of living in Medellin: $1,150/month
4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is not just Slovenia’s capital, it’s also the most charming city you’ll ever lay eyes on. From Baroque cathedrals to artistically constructed bridges to the calm river that runs through the center of town, it really is postcard-worthy. The impressive architecture isn’t the main draw for a digital nomad, however. The draw is actually the fact that the country’s largest university lies in the center of the city, which lends to its youthful energy. It also accounts for the countless cafes, libraries and 12 Mbps internet speed throughout the city–ideal for students and digital nomads alike.
Don’t be fooled, however, this isn’t your typical college town. Ljubljana enjoys a safe, calm energy and is the perfect place to escape the chaos of city life. Plus, Slovenia lies in the center of Europe, making it easy to pop over to a neighboring country when you need a getaway from long work weeks.
Cost of living in Ljubljana: $2,036/month
5. Osaka, Japan
Japan isn’t famous for low-cost living, but Osaka is a bit of a rebel in that sense. It’s the second largest metropolitan city in Japan and an economic hub. A port town that lies on the island of Honshu, Osaka is known mostly for its modern infrastructure and exciting nightlife.
It boasts a Universal Studios, an impressive aquarium, classic temples, museums, ports — everything you’d expect from a major city, at a fraction of the cost. Of course, this comes hand in hand with excellent WiFi and plenty of places to work so you can maintain your digital nomad lifestyle.
Cost of living in Osaka: $1,567/month
6. Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington’s sandy beaches set among a city of colorful buildings and grassy hills sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? And with the influx of co-working spaces due to demand from remote workers, this capital city has become much more connected in recent years. It also has the most affordable cost of living in all of New Zealand.
The waterfront promenade is one of the highlights of the city and also one of the favorite places to work for digital nomads. For some work-life balance, you can head to one of Wellington’s thermal pools or indulge in the city’s craft beer scene.
Cost of living in Wellington: $2,215/month