Depending on where you live now, you may be pleasantly surprised to find the cost of living in Costa Rica to be much lower than your current cost of living at home. While some items may cost the same, like gasoline, and some may even cost more, like certain imported goods such as sunscreen, overall, the cost of living in Costa Rica is less than the United States and parts of Europe.
Your monthly expenses in Costa Rica will depend on your tastes and the lifestyle you choose to live. Costa Rica has a stable economy and many Costa Ricans are very affluent. As such, there are many high-end resorts, restaurants, and spas where you can easily spend a lot of money. Of course, you may decide to treat yourself to some of the finer things in life once in a while, but rest assured, the cost of living in Costa Rica can be as low or high as you wish it to be.
Going out to eat at a moderately priced restaurant, you will find that meals range from set lunches for about $3.00, to dinners of chicken, beef, or fresh seafood for $7.00-15.00 per plate. Domestic beer, mainly Imperial or Pilsen, costs $2.00 to $4.00 depending on the style and location of the bar or restaurant you are in. If you choose to eat at restaurants that are geared towards attracting tourists, you may find the prices higher than if you patronize restaurants that are more catered towards locals.
Grocery shopping can get expensive if you are purchasing imported food. But, if you choose to shop locally and purchase fruits and vegetables from your community, you will find food to be quite affordable. Avocados are usually $1.00 each; mangos and pineapples are usually less than a dollar. Coconuts and bananas are even cheaper. By buying local cheese and bread, and looking for products made in Costa Rica, you will find that grocery shopping can be much cheaper than back home.
Your cost of living in Costa Rica will also depend on which region of the country you live in, as this will determine how expensive your rent is each month. If you choose to live in the San Jose area, you may find rent to be higher than if you were to live on the Caribbean coast or somewhere on the Pacific side. Rent can range from as low as $200 per month for a 1-bedroom house, up to $3,000 per month for a 3 or 4-bedroom house.
Depending on where you live and what sort of lifestyle you like to live, you will find that the cost to live in Costa Rica will be up to you. $1,000 per month per person is a good starting point to live comfortably in Costa Rica. If you are someone who likes to eat out a lot and enjoys going out to bars or movies, you may want to plan on spending a bit more money. If you enjoy other activities, such as yoga or golf, this will also add to your cost of living in Costa Rica.
Only you know what is important for you to be happy in your day to day life and routine. Figuring what items and activities you enjoy will help you figure out what your cost of living will be in Costa Rica. Please feel free to contact us, if you would like to ask more specific questions.