Cost of living in Costa Rica – 2015

ladwana :

So are there import fees drive a car to costs Rica?

There sure are and I hear they are very high!
It's a good question though and I hope someone has some specific info on it.
Does it depend on the border agent or are there set and abided by amounts on importing cars?

I am also interested in importing a product for sale but am wondering how THAT works...

Good info on importaion of a vehicle, and they even offer this video
I have read that the rates are higher when driving the vehicle in, due to the toll taken on the vehicle. You have to register and pay the duty within 90 days, and if not, the vehicle has to leave and cannot be brought back into the country for 90 day and then only if you have a specific permit.

A brand new Suzuki Alto sells in San Jose for $13,000US
So there is no need to go through all the hassle and expenses of importing a used car into Costa Rica.

Edward1958 :

A brand new Suzuki Alto sells in San Jose for $13,000US
So there is no need to go through all the hassle and expenses of importing a used car into Costa Rica.

But that's $13k CASH, no? That's a lot of cash for most people to have sitting around to buy a car with!

And I've heard that there are no laws (or little or no enforcement - same result) regarding turning back the odometers and other "tricks of the trade" so it's very hard to get a good used car.

If a new Suzuki costs $13k I wonder what a 1-2 year old one runs? I always heard that used cars were super expensive in Costa Rica. I'll start looking online to see what kind of prices I can find in Costa Rica. Do people use craigslist to sell cars there? Guess I'll find out!

kohlerias :

Good info on importaion of a vehicle, and they even offer this video
I have read that the rates are higher when driving the vehicle in, due to the toll taken on the vehicle. You have to register and pay the duty within 90 days, and if not, the vehicle has to leave and cannot be brought back into the country for 90 day and then only if you have a specific permit.

Thanks for the info! I'll check it out!

delivery to San Jose. ?   how many peanuts are we talking about??

Check out this info regarding the importation of a vehicle and follow this link You would need to contact a broker and/or a shipper as it will vary depending on where you are departing from.

Importing a car is expensive and troublesome, the import taxes are the highest in the world.
Buying used in Costa Rica is not a good idea "The manana attitude also carrys on to when they change the engine oil", and the beating the cars take is insane.  Cheap and new with a seven year warranty is the way to go.  Our Suzuki Also has a "one liter" engine, outstanding mileage, and it climbs grades pretty well.  You can only get a beat up bad mileage car in Costa Rica for $13,000US

Edward1958 :

Importing a car is expensive and troublesome, the import taxes are the highest in the world.
Buying used in Costa Rica is not a good idea "The manana attitude also carrys on to when they change the engine oil", and the beating the cars take is insane.  Cheap and new with a seven year warranty is the way to go.  Our Suzuki Also has a "one liter" engine, outstanding mileage, and it climbs grades pretty well.  You can only get a beat up bad mileage car in Costa Rica for $13,000US

I guess most seem to agree that buying a used car is a bad idea but certainly I've know people who have done it, and in our case we have no choice but to do it as we simply cannot afford a new car at this time.

So if anyone out there anywhere knows of a "better" place (apparently there are no GOOD places) to buy a car, please let me know. I can't believe that ALL used cars are bad! Surely some Ticos buy new cars, trade them in after a year or two and take care of them; or how about Americans who sell their used car after 2-3 years?

I agree it would be ideal to buy a new car. But we can't.

Many of the used cars sold in Costa Rica are "right offs" from the US.  They enter Costa Rica as spare parts cars, but are rebuilt and sold as simply used cars.  The best idea is be in a development which is a $3. taxi ride from the centre of town or the beach, and simply rent a car when you get in the mood to travel around the country.  No insurance, no repairs, no worry about theft of the vehicle etc.  You could have an old motorcycle available for emergency trips to the beer store.

We lose power every 2-3 days and every single time it rains hard. In 2015 we have had at least 10 power cuts of 8-9 hours. We are considering moving.

We spend 1500 on groceries for 2 people. masxmenos is our biggest expense.
Examples:
15 medium eggs 4 USD
Oranges 1 kg. 4-6 USD
Milk 1 lt 1,5 USD
Yougurt 750 ml 2,30 USD

We will be moving down in a couple months and I have a few friends and family there and here's there advice and what I'm doing. You need to do is ask around find a good mechanic or good with cars Tico tell him you will pay him and buy lunch, then have him ride along with you once you have spotted the car your interested in and let him check it out for you. Check out crautos.com they have the biggest selection of used cars I've seen. You can enter the amounts, brands, models and most are in the San Jose area. Make sure you have a good Laywer too.

crautos.com biggest selection there is even a app for this site.

SudamericaGirl, this is why it is advisable to rent first, so that for any reason that you find your chosen location, not to your liking, you can move to another area which may suit you better. Or at least visit multiple places first, before purchasing a property.

SudamericaGirl :

We spend 1500 on groceries for 2 people. masxmenos is our biggest expense.
Examples:
15 medium eggs 4 USD
Oranges 1 kg. 4-6 USD
Milk 1 lt 1,5 USD
Yougurt 750 ml 2,30 USD

You need to adjust your diet to what is affordable if you want to save money;and look for cheaper stores

Thank you for that info.

SudamericaGirl :

We lose power every 2-3 days and every single time it rains hard. In 2015 we have had at least 10 power cuts of 8-9 hours. We are considering moving.

Where do you live?

Growing your own food (if you have room) is like printing money especially in a climate that allows this year round.

RickyRacer28, how long have you been gardening here?

Hey Edward,

Good info on Costa Rica, We are looking forward to our first visit in February. Thinking we would like to spend more time as we are retired and would think Costa Rica could be our home away from home.

Thanks
Al

Interested in your 6 month rental

napa.reds :

Interested in your 6 month rental

Hola Napa,

I'm not sure if you are responding to an old post above or asking about a rental.  Either way, you'd need to check the Housing section above, Craigslist Costa Rica or Ecuentra24 Costa Rica to find a current listing.  This is not something that is allowed on the open forum.

Good luck,
- Expat Dave

Edward : still learning to use the forum format. So forgive if I am not following protocol.  Good info you have shared along with so many others. Am wondering about your rental; cost, location, what season is available. Will be visiting the north coast in March of this year and wanting to make as many network opportunities as possible, looking forward to hearing from you...   Cragers

Hola Cragers,

Please be advised that the post you are responding to is three years old.  Older posts remain on the site as there is almost always useful information for people considering a move to CR.  Sorry for the confusion.

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

Please everyone also be advised that some of the posts re prices above are higher than they should be. 1 ltr of milk does not cost $1.50 it costs about $1, perhaps thanks to the conversion rate of dollars to colones here in 2018.

Here's a list of current prices:
http://ranchosilencio.com/costa-rica-cost-of-living/
See the 2/10/18 update halfway down that page.

Where do you purchase a ltr. of 2% milk for 575 c.
Or whole milk - 1 ltr for 615 c samramon?

kohlerias :

Where do you purchase a ltr. of 2% milk for 575 c.
Or whole milk - 1 ltr for 615 c samramon?

In San Roman at Mas X Menos.  The receipt from 2-10-18 is presumably 676 c for 2% and whole milk is 616 c.  But, heck, what do I know?  I don't live there, hahaha  :lol:

When I wrote that I was sure I was looking at a receipt that said 575 colones for a liter. I currently do not find it, but I will look again and let you know. Or it might have been one from a few weeks ago. Probably at the Carranza or Bodega.

However I found 2 receipts from the last week, both of which say 605c from the Carranza in San Ramon. At today's exchange rate that is $1.06.

Where do you shop and how much do you pay? I know Mas Por Menos is a bit higher, but not that much I don't think. If you look at the link I gave there are various prices from a week ago. I'll post another one, this time from the Carranza, soon.

I did notice the receipt, after I had asked the question. Recently, the cheapest milk we have found is in Pali and that was 1 ltr. of 2%, for 650 c. on sale. We have noticed the rise in cost since the 'box' has a closure added to  it.

samramon :

When I wrote that I was sure I was looking at a receipt that said 575 colones for a liter. I currently do not find it, but I will look again and let you know. Or it might have been one from a few weeks ago. Probably at the Carranza or Bodega.

However I found 2 receipts from the last week, both of which say 605c from the Carranza in San Ramon. At today's exchange rate that is $1.06.

Where do you shop and how much do you pay? I know Mas Por Menos is a bit higher, but not that much I don't think. If you look at the link I gave there are various prices from a week ago. I'll post another one, this time from the Carranza, soon.

Thank you for taking the time to post receipt!  Your information is much appreciated and the variation in prices is to be expected.

kohlerias :

I did notice the receipt, after I had asked the question. Recently, the cheapest milk we have found is in Pali and that was 1 ltr. of 2%, for 650 c. on sale. We have noticed the rise in cost since the 'box' has a closure added to  it.

We have been paying this for awhile at the 2 stores mentioned. And we shop at Maxi Pali as well (not Pali downtown).

I am sure I was recently paying 575, I didn't just make it up! LOL. Read it off some receipt, but posted a different receipt on the site. Could have been a month or more old, though... but I didn't think so.

I haven't noticed a difference in the box. We buy Dos Pinos. Which milk do you buy? I haven't seen Lala formerly Mu milk anywhere lately but I know that Lala (a Mexican company) bought out Mu some months back because a friend's brother works there.

4theloveofsun :
samramon :

When I wrote that I was sure I was looking at a receipt that said 575 colones for a liter. I currently do not find it, but I will look again and let you know. Or it might have been one from a few weeks ago. Probably at the Carranza or Bodega.

However I found 2 receipts from the last week, both of which say 605c from the Carranza in San Ramon. At today's exchange rate that is $1.06.

Where do you shop and how much do you pay? I know Mas Por Menos is a bit higher, but not that much I don't think. If you look at the link I gave there are various prices from a week ago. I'll post another one, this time from the Carranza, soon.

Thank you for taking the time to post receipt!  Your information is much appreciated and the variation in prices is to be expected.

You're welcome. Prices can vary widely, even at the same store from week to week. Example: I buy the boxes of cabernet wine because a) they're almost the cheapest wine around and b) it tastes better to my mouth than the other cheap wine, even wine at 500-1000 c more.
So one store had it cheap one week at 2850 and I bought several. Now a few weeks later, I see it costs 3400 there - about a $1 more per box (liter). So then I go to another store where it used to be 3200 and it's 2900 there now! Go figure.

Sometimes I think if they see me buying 3-5 or 8 or 10 of a "gringo item" such as red wine (I've yet to meet a Tico who drinks red wine! I'm certain there are some but...) they immediately raise the price! I'm probably just imagining it but sometimes it does seem that way. But if that's what they're doing, it doesn't work. I keep track (more or less; in my head) of who has what prices at the 4 stores I generally shop at! ;-D I certainly notice the wine prices!

There is a web site  dedicated to comparing cost of living between countries.  It is very informative and somewhat accurate.  Of course if you are comparing the cost of living living in the US, you will see Los Angeles, CA and rural IL are vastly different (rents are 60% less in Springfield, IL).  The cost of living index between countries is based on the average, or the "mean" statistically speaking.

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