NordVPN is the best VPN for Costa Rica, edging out the other tested providers because of its local Costa Rican servers, global server haul, extensive P2P abilities, and extra threat protection.
So, why did other big names in the VPN industry fail here? What makes these top 5 VPNs for Costa Rica stand out? And how do you even set them up in the country?
Follow this in-depth guide to answer all your questions.
Top 3 VPNs for Costa Rica
Surfshark provides the best combination of affordability and premium features. You get 3200+ servers to unblock content anywhere, local servers in Costa Rica, improved threat protection, and torrenting support on unlimited devices.
NordVPN is the best choice for Costa Rican servers, unblocking content abroad, enjoying ultimate online privacy, and protecting your internet sessions from government/ISP interference.
CyberGhost packs standard servers for everyday private browsing. It also has servers optimized for torrenting, streaming, and gaming in Costa Rica.
Since the Costa Rican government can automatically install COVID-19 monitoring apps on its citizens’ phones, you should rightfully worry that it has a backdoor into your devices.
Likewise, the Costa Rican government isn’t free from US interference.
And being one of the 14 Eyes surveillance countries, that’s a huge concern.
After all, we don’t know how much data the US strong-arms Costa Rica into giving up.
When the US embassy threatened to shut down the Costa Rican internet registry for not taking down a local version of The Pirate Bay, a P2P site, the US’ influence on Costa Rica became even more obvious.
That said, there’s a high chance you lose access to a lot of US content when you travel to Costa Rica. Even though it’s considered a US region, it doesn’t have access to YouTube TV, CNN Go, Hulu, Peacock TV, Vix, and other US-state content.
Fortunately, all the VPNs that passed my tests for Costa Rica offer solutions to these problems.
In a hurry? Discover what each of my top VPNs can do for you below.
Unblock the Pirate Bay and Stream Content Anywhere From Costa Rica With These VPNs
Don’t let copyright trolls like the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) or your Costa Rican ISPs determine what files you can download on the internet.
Here’s how my top VPNs help keep you private while you browse the web freely:
- NordVPN – Get access to US content from 1900+ US servers, enjoy Costa Rican content over local San Jose servers, and unblock content globally from 5200+ servers.
- Surfshark – Best budget VPN for unfettered internet access from 3200+ servers in 100 countries, get local servers in San Jose, and bypass the cluttered ads web experience with an ad blocker.
- CyberGhost – Connect to any of its torrent-optimized servers to unblock torrent sites and download P2P files fast without interference from your Costa Rican ISP.
- ExpressVPN – Want to hide your Virtual Private Network (VPN) usage from Claro, Kolbi, Movistar, or the government? ExpressVPN’s fast obfuscation on all servers and protocols is the answer!
- PIA – Access the largest library of US servers to unblock regional and continental American content anywhere, Costa Rican servers to browse like home, and extensive torrenting support to match.
It sounds like all these VPNs are great for online security, privacy, safe torrenting, and reliable unblocking. Even so, some of them are better than others in some aspects.
So, check the details of my tests and comparisons below to choose the option that best suits your torrenting needs for Costa Rica.
Tests, Reviews, and Comparisons of the Best VPNs for Costa Rica
You don’t need more than one VPN to make a difference in Costa Rica, but which one to choose?
Follow through as I test and compare these top VPNs to make the best choice.
NordVPN – San Jose Servers, 5200+ Global Servers & Reliable Threat Protection
The first time I tested NordVPN for Costa Rica was when the other VPN providers I tested before failed to unblock and hold a steady live stream on Repretel. I launched NordVPN, connected to a Costa Rican server, and watched Channels 2, 4, 6, and 11 in no time over the service.
I took the tests further by unblocking some World Cup highlights and news on Repretel over this VPN without getting any nasty geo-restriction.
But that wasn’t the only thing that impressed me here.
Besides unblocking local content, NordVPN did just as amazing with all the international content back home.
So, I could connect to a Costa Rican server to secure my connection over the public Wi-Fi at Popeyes (the one in Curridabat) without losing access to local content. At the same time, I could switch to a US server to watch CNN Go, stream Netflix US, and enjoy some Hulu shows while I’m back at the Hotel Radisson Europa.
And if you want to unblock content outside Costa Rica and the US, you’ve got access to 5200+ servers in 57 other countries to explore.
This may not be the largest server network or country count on the list, but it does the job.
NordVPN never lagged or buffered during these tests, even when I streamed live video on Repretel. That’s evidence of its speeds, but I still tested it – and I got an impressive 33Mbps on my 100Mbps networks.
Note that this wasn’t the fastest I got on all the VPNs I tested, but it’s enough for 4K content streams. Since my laptop is engineered for such, I didn’t miss anything with my 1080p HD streams either.
I knew that the US government and copyright trolls pressured the Costa Rican government to crack down on torrent sites in the country.
Likewise, I don’t want to be another statistic in the next government Special 301 Report. Neither do I want to get nasty notices from Claro (or any other Costa Rican ISP) for downloading torrents on its network.
Thus, NordVPN stepped in with a nice solution: P2P-enabled servers layered over AES 256-bit encryption to ensure fast and secure torrent downloads without anyone knowing.
Besides NordVPN, only CyberGhost and Surfshark have specialty P2P servers on this list. That’s not to say the others don’t have such servers, but you might have to test a few manually before getting the best one.
I’m also impressed that NordVPN carries its fast-streaming speeds into torrenting. So, you can unblock The Pirate Bay, RARBG, or other top torrenting sites to download files faster.
The only downside is that the provider doesn’t support torrent seeding.
I rarely seed torrents anyway, so that’s not a major dealbreaker.
But if you want torrent seeding, jump to PIA or ExpressVPN.
That said, NordVPN has a Threat Protection feature that’s useful for torrenting, besides other things.
When on torrent websites, enable Threat Protection to block ads that may interfere with your torrenting experience, load malware onto your device, or track your internet activity. I tested this feature, and it blocked 96% of all the ads I encountered, even on non-torrent sites!!!
In contrast, the rest (except ExpressVPN) also offer ad-blocking tech, but only PIA comes close by blocking 77% of the ads. So, NordVPN wins by far!
NordVPN’s Threat Protection also ensures you don’t mistakenly or intentionally access malicious websites, download malware onto your device or have web trackers deanonymize you online.
I’ve heard of some copyright trolls joining your torrent swarm to track your real IP address. So, this kind of tracker annihilation from NordVPN ensures they don’t make headway in tracking you.
Note that Kolbi, Movistar, other preferred ISPs, and copyright trolls can still see that you’re connected to NordVPN. But they won’t be able to get information on what you’re doing online from the VPN provider.
For one, it’s based in Panama – outside the US and Costa Rican jurisdiction – so it can’t be summoned to any court to provide your data.
On the other hand, NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy.
Thus, it won’t even have your data to hand over if asked.
Finally, you can download easy-to-use NordVPN apps for your PCs (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.) and mobile devices (Android and iOS).
Given that it supports six simultaneous device connections, you can encrypt your data across multiple devices and unblock content anywhere.
Ready to enjoy what NordVPN offers? Grab these limited-time discounts and enjoy a 30-day risk-free guarantee to test the VPN.
Surfshark – Get Costa Rica Servers, 100+ Country Reach and CleanWeb
Surfshark mimics NordVPN by not stating its number of VPN servers in Costa Rica. Still, there’s a difference: it uses a virtual Costa Rican server.
Now, that’s not an issue, but most Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) I discarded when testing providers for this list also use virtual servers that don’t unblock content, only assigning a Costa Rican IP address.
Thus, I quickly checked against severely geo-blocked content, and Surfshark accessed live content on Channel 4 (Canal 4) over Repretel TV like nothing.
With that in mind, its virtual server means:
- It can place the server in a country with faster internet (like the US) to help you get better speed and bypass ISP throttling in Costa Rica.
- You can access your Lafise Bank, Cathay Bank, or other Costa Rican online bank portals from abroad without raising any red flags.
- You can encrypt your internet connection using public Wi-Fi at the Uh la-la Café, Porky’s Burger Bar, Hard Rock Café, or anywhere else in Costa Rica without fear of cybercriminals.
If you think NordVPN is the best to get international content, Surfshark does better. Here, you can unblock content in 100 countries – 41 countries more than you get with NordVPN.
So, it wasn’t hard for people in my travel group to get access to:
- NRK TV on its Norway servers
- BBC iPlayer on its UK servers
- Hulu, Netflix US, and Amazon Prime Video on the US servers
- France TV on its French servers
- ViX on its Mexican servers
- Servus TV (for some Formula 1 action) on its Austrian servers
I bet you’re already wondering how I could afford to share my Surfshark plan with everyone in my travel group? That’s because the VPN provider allows unlimited simultaneous device connections with unlimited bandwidth!
That’s the highest on this list, with only PIA coming closer with ten simultaneous device connections. But that’s not even the best part about Surfshark yet.
I ensured that none of those I shared the Surfshark plan with complained of content buffering or lags, even when streaming live news content.
Once I confirmed that, I tested for speed and got an impressive 39Mbps – more than NordVPN managed.
The interesting thing is that NordVPN has a NordLynx protocol optimized for speed, while Surfshark uses the stock WireGuard to get better results.
Now that I’m sure it’s fast in real-life and benchmark tests, I tested Surfshark for torrenting. It doesn’t have a specialty P2P server section like NordVPN, but I learned that typing “P2P” in the search bar brings up available P2P-enabled servers to download torrents faster and securely.
Those who hate to see ads during torrenting or general web surfing (like me) will appreciate Surfshark’s CleanWeb service to block ads and trackers.
However, it doesn’t block malware (like NordVPN’s Threat Protection).
Instead, Surfshark has a standalone antivirus service to protect your device from malware. Also, it doesn’t keep you from visiting malicious websites as NordVPN’s solution does.
Even so, its ad blocker isn’t as efficient as NordVPN’s, only keeping 67% of the ads at bay. But that’s better than nothing, like you get with ExpressVPN. So, I can’t complain.
You already know that Surfshark supports unlimited simultaneous device connections, but you may not know that it’s also the cheapest VPN provider I reviewed here. It’s rare to see a VPN packing such premium features for such a steal.
Grab these exclusive discounts to get Surfshark for these mouth-watering prices and enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost – 24 San Jose Servers & 9000+ Global Server for Secure Torrenting and Streaming
CyberGhost mentions that it has 24 servers in San Jose, Costa Rica, continuing the trend of the other providers who also have their servers in this city. Since it’s the only one that states the number of Costa Rican servers, I’m tempted to believe it has the highest server count in the region.
That wouldn’t be surprising, given that it has the largest server count overall of all the listed VPN providers.
But those servers won’t mean anything if they don’t work.
Thankfully, all the Costa Rican servers will unblock and stream quality pictures of TN7 on Teletica, another Costa Rican online streaming service.
I even unblocked some live content, which is usually the truth test for slow networks, and CyberGhost never faltered.
You don’t need to want to stream Costa Rican content to connect to these servers. You may want to:
- Hide your online gambling activities, web surfing habits, and other online interests from Kolbi/Movistar/your Costa Rican ISP
- Download torrents securely and fast from Costa Rica by connecting to the nearest server without leaking to copyright trolls
- Enjoy your free public Wi-Fi experience at Café La Musa Confusa, Ekono Tibas, La Peregrina, etc., without becoming the latest victim of conversation hijacking, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.
- Open your Banco Popular or Lafise Bank app/web platform abroad without getting locked out for “suspicions foreign activity”
Before I moved on to the international streaming tests, I checked the provider’s speeds and got an impressive 38Mbps. That’s still faster than NordVPN but a tad slower than Surfshark. Still, you won’t have to worry about missing 4K streams since you only need 25Mbps for that.
Part of the reason for these speeds is that CyberGhost is optimized for speed-intensive tasks like streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
Thus, you can connect to any of its specialty servers for these tasks, choose the fastest WireGuard protocol (or IKEv2 on mobile) and unblock the web faster.
In some instances, I found that I got better speeds than the Claro base internet speeds after connecting to CyberGhost’s Costa Rican servers.
This shows that the ISP was throttling my connection speeds (they all do this), but CyberGhost hid my internet activity enough to bypass such throttling.
I connected to some streaming-optimized servers to unblock streaming services like Hulu, France TV, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix US content (on the relevant servers), unblocking all with ease. You’ll have CyberGhost 9000+ servers in 90+ countries if you want more content elsewhere.
That’s the third-largest country reach (behind Surfshark and ExpressVPN) and the largest server count here!
However, I had to keep CyberGhost closer to my chest than Surfshark since it only allows seven simultaneous device connections.
That’s still more than NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer, but it’s a far cry from what you get with Surfshark.
So, choose this VPN if you don’t have many devices to connect.
Otherwise, go for PIA or Surfshark.
CyberGhost’s decent speeds combine with the torrent-optimized servers to unblock top torrenting websites and grab P2P files fast.
I’m equally impressed that CyberGhost is compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, and Deluge, all torrenting clients I tested with.
On top of that, it has a local P2P-enabled server in Costa Rica to get the fastest torrenting speeds without letting your ISP know what you’re up to.
I even got lesser intrusive ads with its Block Content feature, which blocks ads and trackers. But again, it’s no match for NordVPN’s Threat Protection since it could only block less than half (45%) of all the ads shown.
Considering that it’s faster than NordVPN, has more servers, supports more devices, and works on all the same PC and mobile platforms, you’d expect CyberGhost to be more expensive.
On the contrary, it’s inexpensive, and you can grab these CyberGhost deals to get it cheaper. In fact, it offers a more-than-generous 45-day money-back guarantee to test the VPN risk-free!
ExpressVPN – Fast Reliable Obfuscation on Costa Rican and 3000+ Servers to Hide VPN Usage
If you ever need to hide from your ISP or network admins that you’re using a VPN, ExpressVPN is your best bet.
I didn’t say it’s your ONLY bet because the others (except CyberGhost) also offer this kind of ‘obfuscation’ technology. The difference is that the others suffer a significant speed drop after they enable obfuscation.
Furthermore, on the others, obfuscation is restricted to the OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) protocols.
But with ExpressVPN, you get fast, automatic, and reliable obfuscation on all servers and protocols. So, connect to any server, unblock content anywhere, and no one knows you’re using a VPN.
Thankfully, ExpressVPN also has a Costa Rican server with this feature enabled. On top of hiding your VPN usage, this feature also ensures you can bypass VPN traffic blocks and some firewall blocks.
In other words, if your ISP/school/workplace network admin sets up firewalls against VPN traffic, ExpressVPN sails through like it’s nothing!
Besides that amazing content unblocking and neat stealth mode, ExpressVPN offers 3000+ more servers in 94 countries.
That’s the least server count on this list but the second-highest country count. And knowing that ExpressVPN has fast obfuscation on all those servers, they’re worth 2-3x as much as the servers on the other providers here.
But how fast is the fast obfuscation anyway? A random server test shows almost 33Mbps! That’s just 6Mbps less than Surfshark, the fastest so far.
With Surfshark’s obfuscation enabled, it won’t manage half of these speeds.
Thus, ExpressVPN is easily the more impressive option for speed.
Don’t forget to enable ExpressVPN’s Lightway – UDP protocol for similarly fast speeds on your chosen Costa Rican or foreign networks.
If that’s unstable, try the slightly slower Lightway – TCP protocol instead.
Don’t tell the missus I told you this, but ExpressVPN has a New Jersey server that allows you to place online bets with legal US betting brands without traveling to the New York neighbor state!
What about downloading torrents securely? ExpressVPN has all its servers P2P-enabled, allowing for fast torrent downloads on your preferred client.
It’s also the first of two VPN services (PIA being the second) to support port forwarding.
Once enabled, you can download torrents slightly faster, and you get to seed torrent files too.
The major downside is the lack of an ad blocker, making ExpressVPN the only provider without one. It still does a good job of keeping some ads at bay, but many of them will slip through the cracks. Thus, you might have to get an ad blocker to pair with the VPN, or try other VPN providers.
Fortunately, ExpressVPN is in the league of other VPNs to support all PCs and mobile devices. It even has the best router support to easily set up the VPN on compatible routers.
Given the massive country count, fast obfuscation, in-house protocol, and port forwarding, why did ExpressVPN feature fourth in my rankings?
For starters, it only allows five simultaneous device connections, the least here. It’s also the priciest VPN provider I reviewed.
Considering all its offerings, though, the pricing is good.
You can still test the VPN by grabbing these ExpressVPN deals with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PIA – Massive Server Library for Streaming and Torrenting Anywhere
Private Internet Access doesn’t disclose how many servers it has, but it used to tout 35,000+ servers before it took that number down.
Now that it claims it’s upgrading its servers, there’s no doubt it still has one of the largest server counts here, especially if you need a server in almost all US states.
But first, I confirmed that it has a local server in Costa Rica to unblock Canal 7, 11, Repretel TV, and other local TV content. These local servers are your best bet to hide your online activities from your Costa Rican ISP without losing access to Costa Rican content (like banking apps, food apps, streaming channels, etc.).
Moving to the massive server library, PIA has servers in 84 countries, pushing NordVPN to the last position on server count alone.
I had no issues unblocking:
- Streaming services like Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Peacock TV on the US servers
- BBC iPlayer on the UK servers
- France TV on the French servers
- Voot on the Indian servers
- And much more!
PIA never buffered or lagged during my content streaming tests like the others. So, I checked its speeds on my 100Mbps network and got 31Mbps.
That’s a bag of good and bad news:
- On the bad side, it’s the slowest provider here, and this is less than ExpressVPN, which even had obfuscation enabled.
- On the good side, you can still download torrents fast and unblock up to 4K content at these speeds.
But you can already start seeing why it’s the last-rated provider here.
Even so, remember that it beat 15+ other free and paid VPN providers I tested to make this list.
Moving on, PIA shined the brightest in my torrenting tests for the following reasons:
- The VPN works seamlessly with BitTorrent, Vuze, uTorrent, and other torrenting clients I tried.
- You can bind PIA to your torrenting client if you don’t trust the kill switch alone.
- It has SOCKS5 proxy to download torrents faster and safely without the VPN’s encryption load on speeds.
- You get port forwarding on all devices and servers (except US servers), unlike ExpressVPN that only has port forwarding on its router.
Now, you see why it made the list and why it’s your best bet for torrenting in Costa Rica.
The only torrenting downside here is that PIA doesn’t have a specialty P2P server section as you get with NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark.
Instead, you can check the server latency numbers to pick the fastest server for the best download speeds. After all, they enjoy the same security level.
Lest I forget, PIA has a MACE tool that blocks ads and trackers when downloading torrents, using the general web, or surfing ad-infested websites.
It blocked 77% of the ads I tested it with, posting the second-best scores after NordVPN.
So, another plus.
Perhaps the best part of PIA is its ten simultaneous device connections, twice more than ExpressVPN and second only to Surfshark.
Plus, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either, competing with CyberGhost for the position of the second-cheapest provider here.
Want these juicy prices? Grab our PIA discounts and test the VPN risk-free for the first 30 days.
How to Setup a VPN in Costa Rica?
The best way to set up a VPN in Costa Rica is to ensure the kill switch is active and you’ve chosen the correct protocol before connecting to a suitable VPN server.
- Launch the VPN app and log in with your account credentials.
- Choose the right protocol. I recommend NordLynx for speed and security on NordVPN. Go to Settings > Connection > VPN Protocol > NordLynx.
- Enable the VPN kill switch to prevent IP/DNS leaks if the VPN connection randomly drops. Go to Settings > Kill Switch > toggle “Internet Kill Switch.”
- Go to the VPN homepage. Search for a preferred server country/city. I’ll use Finland for this example.
- Double-tap on the location to connect. If a country has servers in multiple cities, you can tap a preferred city to get an IP address there.
- Wait for the connection confirmation. Then test for leaks (I use www.ipleak.net).
- Start browsing the internet securely from your new IP address.
How to Get a Costa Rica IP Address?
Do you want to unblock Repretel TV from outside Costa Rica or encrypt your local connections over public Wi-Fi in Maria & Compania at the Multiplaza?
Worry no more. Here’s how:
- Choose a VPN with Costa Rican servers. I recommend NordVPN.
- Follow steps 2-5 from above.
- Go to the VPN homepage and search for Costa Rica.
- Continue with steps 7-9 from above.
If you're in Costa Rica and connecting to a local VPN server, perform a leak test BEFORE connecting to the VPN.
After connecting, ensure the IP address you get on the new leak test differs from the initial one.
Otherwise, your ISP can still see what you're doing.
Frequently Asked Questions
VPNs are legal in Costa Rica, and the government isn’t introducing legislation to ban the use of similar censorship circumvention tools anytime.
Even so, ensure you’re never doing anything bordering on cybercrimes while connected to your chosen VPN’s servers, nor breaking the VPN provider’s terms of service.
You can use a free VPN in Costa Rica but risk losing your identity to cyber thieves, suffering slow internet speeds, bandwidth restrictions, a lack of Costa Rican servers, and poor P2P support. In fact, some free VPNs collect your data to sell to the highest bidder, enabling them to make money from your free usage.
Enjoy Pura Vida Online in Costa Rica
Costa Ricans believe in peace, freedom, and pure life (pura vida).
While some internet restrictions might be against a few, these top VPNs help you get around them in no time.
If you’re still dazzled by all these VPNs, I recommend NordVPN to make your choice easier.
Given its complete package of speed, security, reliable unblocking, ad blocking, malware protection, and P2P support, you can’t go wrong with it.
In fact, I’ll throw in some generous discounts to sweeten the deal, and you can get a refund within 30 days if you don’t like the VPN.