Is it Expensive to Live in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a great place to live.  With the recent boom in real estate purchases in in this area, individuals who are considering moving to this beautiful Latin American paradise may be wondering about the cost of living in Costa Rica. 

The truth is that the cost of living (in any area) depends on the person and what their needs and wants are.  Therefore, people who live in Costa Rica can spend a little or a lot to live depending on personal preference.  A person can live on as little as $1000 or as much as $4000 per month.  Below, we will discuss the breakdown of the basic necessities and daily activities that are required to live in Costa Rica. 

Food is the most basic necessity.  Individuals who eat food that is grown locally will be pleasantly surprised with the prices, as well as, the quality.  This country is a rich resource in food that is locally grown, therefore, local food is always fresh, easily available and well priced.  In fact, people who shop at local food markets can spend just $10.00 (USD) and they will have enough fruits and vegetables to feed a family of five for an entire week.  The grocery stores in Costa Rica carry a large selection of local and imported foods.  In addition, while most items are available in Costa Rica, individuals who are intent on purchasing imported food will have to pay a high price. 

Housing in Costa Rica is available at various pricing levels, in all types of locations and is offered with different levels of amenities.   Therefore, individuals and families can rent, build or buy a home, apartment or condominium in the mountains, in the highlands or on or near the beach.  There are options to live in areas near Ticos (Costa Ricans) or areas that are more populated with Americans, Canadians and people from various other countries.  Additionally, there are also gated communities (for additional security) or typical neighborhoods to live in, as well.  Therefore, the cost of housing is based solely on personal preference and living requirements.  However, in general, property is much less expensive than it is in the US or the UK.  In some locations, the rent can be around $350 per month to rent a small or medium home.  In addition, a small home in Costa Rica may be purchased for as little as, $50,000. 

People who choose to bring their automobiles with them to Costa Rica may have to pay high prices to have their vehicle imported.  Therefore, the customs duty should be calculated to determine the cost of shipping the vehicle.  Calculations to determine the rate of duty are rarely accurate, but this will give the individual a rough estimate, which is often helpful.  Keep in mind that the standard rate of duty is about 100%.  However, it’s important to note that the duty portion of the cost does not depreciate, therefore, when individuals living in Costa Rica decide to sell their automobile they can demand a great deal of money. 

The price for clothing can range from moderately priced to high.  Due to the fact that the weather in Costa Rica is warm and sunny all year round, there is never a need to shop for a fall or winter wardrobe.  Therefore, the same summer clothing may be worn throughout the year, which saves money on clothing rather than having to expand the wardrobe to meet weather restrictions. 

Overall, the cost of living in Costa Rica is very affordable and individuals can live simply ($1000/month) or extravagantly ($4000/month) depending on personal preferences and requirements.

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