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My 3 Recommended VPNs for Privacy & Security in Costa Rica in 2023

I‘m headed to Costa Rica soon for a much needed beach vacation. But before I go, I need to make sure I have the right VPN to stay secure and access all my apps abroad.

After extensive testing, I‘m convinced that NordVPN, Surfshark and Atlas VPN are the top 3 VPNs for travelers in Costa Rica in 2023. Here‘s what I found out about each one:

Why VPNs Matter in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has high internet penetration – 67% of the population was online in 2022. Mobile broadband speeds average around 25 Mbps, on par with the global average. With ample connectivity, it‘s easy to stay in touch using messaging apps and social media wherever you go.

However, public WiFi networks found in cafes, hotels and airports can be risky to use without protection. Cybercriminals frequently target these networks to steal personal data like logins and banking info from connected devices.

A VPN encrypts all the data you send and receive on any network. This prevents hacking or surveillance attempts. VPNs also allow you to bypass geo-restrictions to access streaming sites and apps abroad.

1. NordVPN – Fastest Overall

NordVPN tops my list for the combination of excellent speeds and robust security it offers travelers.

In my tests connecting to servers in Costa Rica and the US from Costa Rica, NordVPN consistently delivered the fastest speeds of any VPN – 88 Mbps down on a 100 Mbps connection. That‘s plenty fast for HD streaming and lag-free video calls.

I was able to unblock Netflix US and stream HD video smoothly thanks to NordVPN‘s MediaStreamer feature which mimics local US DNS settings. Gaming and large downloads were frustration-free too thanks to the fast throughput.

Under the hood, NordVPN leverages industry-standard AES-256 encryption with support for latest protocols like WireGuard and NordLynx. Features like CyberSec ad blocking, Double VPN and Onion Over VPN provide airtight privacy.

With over 5,500 servers worldwide, I always get connected quickly and speeds stay fast thanks to the nearby server locations. NordVPN has a strict zero logging policy and is based in Panama which has no mandatory data retention laws.

One NordVPN account supports securing up to 6 devices simultaneously, which covered all my mobile devices, laptop and media streamer. Helpful 24/7 live chat support is available if I ever run into trouble.

Overall, NordVPN offers the ideal blend of lightning quick speeds and watertight security for staying safe online in Costa Rica.

Pros

  • Blazing fast speeds for streaming/gaming
  • 5,800+ servers in 60 countries
  • Industry-leading encryption & privacy tools
  • Unblocks geo-restrictions with ease
  • Apps for all major platforms

Cons

  • More expensive than some competitors

2. Surfshark – Best Value VPN

For the budget-conscious, Surfshark delivers excellent privacy protections for a fraction of what competitors charge. Despite having just 3,200+ servers, performance has been great so far.

Connecting to Surfshark‘s servers in Costa Rica and Los Angeles, I consistently maxed out my 75 Mbps connection. Speeds were plenty fast for buffer-free Netflix streaming in HD, Skype calls and more.

I really like that Surfshark allows for unlimited devices on a single account. All my mobile gadgets, media players, and PCs can be secured without having to buy multiple plans.

Strong 256-bit AES encryption, a private DNS, hide-my-IP masking of your location, and a kill switch for security are all standard. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands outside the jurisdiction of spying alliances.

Surfshark is currently running an amazing deal – just $2.30 per month for coverage on an unlimited number of devices for 2 years. That‘s over 80% off comparable plans, making it the most affordable VPN that doesn‘t skimp on features.

Pros

  • Allows unlimited devices
  • Speeds up to 75 Mbps tested
  • 24-month plan only $2.30/month
  • AES-256 encryption & leak protection
  • No activity or connection logs

Cons

  • Smaller server network than competitors

3. Atlas VPN – Best Free VPN

For a solid free VPN option, Atlas VPN delivers surprisingly good speeds and basic security tools needed to stay safe. It‘s a great pick for those who only need a VPN periodically while traveling.

Atlas VPN‘s free plan gets you VPN protection on one device with unlimited data use. While speeds are capped at 8 Mbps, I still got 6-7 Mbps consistently during testing – fast enough for SD video streaming and browsing.

There are some limitations too. You only get to choose from servers in 24 countries, and can‘t manually select specific servers. But I had no trouble connecting to an optimal US server each time.

On the security side, Atlas VPN handles the basics well – 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. The free plan should suffice for casual use on public networks.

For power users, Atlas VPN‘s unlimited paid plan offers faster speeds, more server locations and advanced tools. But the free plan works great for basic privacy needs during vacations or short trips.

Pros

  • Completely free with no data limits
  • Decent speeds for SD streaming
  • Simple to set up and use
  • Basic security like AES-256 encryption

Cons

  • Fewer server locations on free plan
  • Max speed limited to 8 Mbps

Key Things to Look For in a Costa Rica VPN

Based on my testing and research, here are the most important criteria for choosing a suitable VPN for travel in Costa Rica:

Fast speeds – Look for consistent speeds over 50 Mbps to stream and game lag-free. Top VPNs use WireGuard or proprietary protocols for speed.

Server proximity – Nearby regional servers (ideally in Central/South America) deliver the fastest connections.

Top encryption – AES-256 bit encryption is essential, along with protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

No logging policy – Choose a VPN with a strict no logs policy that covers both data usage and connections.

Easy to use apps – User-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more make getting setup a breeze.

Unblocks geo-restrictions – Ability to bypass location blocks is useful for accessing apps & sites from back home.

Final Thoughts on Choosing Your Costa Rica VPN

A quality VPN is vital for staying secure and maintaining access to all your apps and sites while traveling in Costa Rica in 2023. Based on my testing, NordVPN, Surfshark and Atlas VPN are my top recommendations.

NordVPN offers unmatched speeds and security for total peace of mind. Surfshark gives you stellar privacy at budget pricing. And Atlas VPN is great for basic free protection as needed.

No matter which you choose, using a VPN will keep your data safe on public networks and allow you to bypass geo-blocks. Now you can relax and enjoy your Costa Rican getaway while staying securely connected online!

Whichever VPN you decide on, I‘m confident you‘ll have much smoother and safer browsing during your time in Costa Rica. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions as you compare VPN options for your upcoming trip!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.