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Cost of living 2018 in Costa Rica

Hello everyone,

As per our annual tradition, we invite you to share your experiences and tell us more about the average prices of products and services in your town/city/area, so that we have updated information regarding cost of living and inflation in Costa Rica.

Thanks to your contribution, future expats in Costa Rica will be more informed and will be able to refine their budget and better prepare for their big move.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?

What is your monthly budget for groceries?

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Costa Rica?

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?

How much does childcare cost on average per month?

What is your child's schooling budget per month?

How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

How much does a gym membership cost in Costa Rica?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Too many questions! LOL.
I'll just say that other than mechanics and property and health care, Costa Rica is more expensive than the USA.

Coffee is more expensive too, in restaurants! You pay per cup, no free refills! To buy your own, for home, though, it's cheaper depending on what you buy. A good coffee, to me, is "1820" and it's a good price. If the regular is not good enough for you try their reserva.

Also beer and wine and liquor are more expensive in Costa Rica.

Cars, appliances, electronics including computers and tablets and phones, quality clothes, shoes, and many things for the home: about twice the price in Costa Rica than same or better quality stuff in the USA.

Many of us bring stuff from the USA once or twice a year because of this. Aside from the high price here, often the quality and features are less as well.

Example: I need a new blu-ray player. Went to the Walmart. They only offer 3 models. The LG and Panasonic models both offer few features and not the features I need (to play .mkv files via USB). The 3rd model is a Chinese brand I never heard of and not sure if it is worth buying or not but I hate buying Chinese cr*p. So I'll have to try to find a used one from  the USA here or buy one in the USA and bring it in  my suitcase.

All in all it is more expensive to live in  Costa Rica than the USA if you rent.

If you buy property then it is cheaper to live in Costa Rica, depending on your lifestyle. I know for us, our property was much much cheaper here for a great natural location with privacy and ocean view! And our construction was maybe 1/5 the cost of the USA with fewer bureaucracies and requirements.

So I could NOT live as well in the USA, no way!  Because of the property and house being much cheaper here ... so I could afford them, and so now don't pay rent.

So I would say if you buy property and build or purchase a house here you can live on less in Costa Rica despite the higher cost of most things. But if you rent then it's about the same as living in the USA.

On the other hand, living in Trumplandia has its own set of down sides you also have to consider... and things aren't getting any cheaper there, either, are they? (well maybe electronics and such... but not in general, certainly not rent nor property nor construction...)

Priscilla :

Hello everyone,

As per our annual tradition, we invite you to share your experiences and tell us more about the average prices of products and services in your town/city/area, so that we have updated information regarding cost of living and inflation in Costa Rica.

Thanks to your contribution, future expats in Costa Rica will be more informed and will be able to refine their budget and better prepare for their big move.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?
Varies greatly between different areas of the country.  I would say the "average" rental cost for a Gringo style 3 bedroom home would be $650.00 per month.

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?
Average 3 bedroom, two bath Gringo style home $175,000.00.

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?
Bus ride for 6 km trip is about .60¢.  Bus ride for 50 km. about $3.00.  Taxi for 6 km. trip would be $5.00 and a 50 km trip is about $50.00.

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?
unknown - just grab and go

What is your monthly budget for groceries?
Food,dog food, toiletries, clothing $700.00.  This can be done for less, probably about $500 per month.  We eat higher quality food, high end dog food, etc.

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Costa Rica?
If you're a resident of CR, medical coverage is 100% so it's free with the required monthly payment.  The monthly cost varies based on your income.  Dentist - office visits are about $25, cleaning $30, dental crown with x-rays, etc. $450, dental implant with bone jaw reconstruction $2,400.

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?
$80.00

How much does childcare cost on average per month?
unknown

What is your child's schooling budget per month?
n/a

How much does it cost to fill up your cars fuel tank?
For about 80 liters of regular gas - $80.00

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?
Electricity - $90.00
Water - $12

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?
Internet - $66 (2 mbps)
Cell phone - $8

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?
What the heck is a "lunch pack???"    :/ 

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?
$2.50 per cup

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?
$4

How much does a gym membership cost in Costa Rica?
Small, old gym $10 per month, nice gym $50 per month

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?

We pay $500.00 for a 1 story, 2 bedroom house.  It has a lovely front veranda and a back veranda overlooking the jungle.  Surrounded by mango trees.  Visited by capuchins, howlers, iguanas,  pesote and watusa.  An occasional tarantula and scorpion.  Lots of ants of all kinds.  Also, termites like the ones running across my laptop screen.

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Costa Rica?

I’ve seen houses going from $35,000 to $1.5 million.  We have been told easy to buy, hard to sell.  Lots of maintenance.

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

We live about 2 kilometers from town.  Taxi is 2000 colones one way.  Our go to taxi driver even delivers propane to us. To go to the nearest town it costs 350 colones for one by bus.. 

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?

Pasta and rice is pretty inexpensive.  The bread we buy costs about 1,650 colones per loaf (Integral).  Our neighbor is the local baker.

What is your monthly budget for groceries?  $500.00+ or -.  Usually plus.

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Costa Rica?   We are on Caja however, have not used it yet.  Dentist varies.  About $50 for a filling.  Much cheaper than in the US.

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?   About $90 for two of us.

How much does childcare cost on average per month?  We have no young children here with us.  No idea.

What is your child's schooling budget per month?
N/A
How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?  N/A

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?

Electricity is about $60.00 per month.  We use propane.  Great for when the power goes out.  For Rainy Season it's a must.  It’s about 16,000 per cylinder. (medium).  We do not pay for water. :)

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?

Internet $70 per month (Cabletica).  That includes cable TV.  We get about 5 stations in English.  My guess is about 60 channels in Spanish.  Local cell phone (ICE) is about 16,000 colones per month.

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?  N/A

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

We don’t.  We also drink 1820 brand coffee.  It’s great.  My daughter just came for a visit from the US.  I gave some to her to take home.  She loves it, too.

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?   No cinemas close to us.  We have a movie night at one of the beaches.  Much better.

How much does a gym membership cost in Costa Rica?

No idea.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

My pleasure.

Priscilla

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