Cost of living 2018 in Puerto Rico

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 Puerto Rico.

Thanks to your contribution, future expats in Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico?

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Puerto Rico?

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 Puerto Rico?

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 Puerto Rico?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


I don't think the prices reported in previous thread changed a lot. Right now, still in hurricane aftermath mode, some groceries and fresh produce are more expensive but that will come back to normal, more or less (I hope).

I noticed that internet at local providers is getting cheaper/higher speeds are offered for the same price.

Generally I'd say it's better to wait until summer or so to see where prices are going, if all stores will be re-opening etc.

Priscilla this is a wonderful post, and I applaud you and the expat team for wanting to collect this data.  Let me recommend that you create a post and pin it (and close it) so that it is readily available to those looking for cost of living information, and it can be updated only by the expat staff.  Longitudinal cost of living data would be very useful.

However, your survey captures only one side of the picture.  Depending on your source, you may find claims such as cost of living in Puerto Rico is 80% of the U.S. average, or cost of living in Puerto Rico is 120% of the U.S. average.  Both of these claims are correct,  but they are measuring cost of living differently.  The first is similar to your method -- what is the cost of some hypothetical "basket" of goods and services, and how does it compare to the same "basket" elsewhere?  This is fine, as far as it goes, and that basket is cheap relative to other places.  As an example, the cost of housing in PR is about 80$ a square foot, while on the mainland it's $100 or so (depending on locality). 

The problem though is that salaries are not comparable, and if you assume that the expat will be earning as well as spending off the local economy, then Puerto Rico becomes expensive.  My wife is an RN, earning about $45K/year.  In Puerto Rico she would earn one-third of that salary, if she could find a job at all.  If the price of goods and services is 80% of the mainland average, but salaries are 33% of the mainland average, what is the real cost of living? Economists have a term for this -- purchasing power parity.

Warner, this thread is started every year by the staff an it provides good info to people who are thinking of moving here.
Check the "cost of living' section: … -rico.html to find the older threads.

Yup, I knew that it was an annual thread.  My suggestion was that, since this is likely a topic of broad interest among those considering a move to Puerto Rico, the data might be collected and updated in a single post, prominently displayed and capable of being updated only by the expat staff.  Otherwise those interested in the topic have to search for "cost of living" and then dig through all of the posts.

I also wanted to point out that cost of living calculations vary, depending upon whether the "expat" intends to earn an income off the local economy (where wages are low relative to the mainland) or whether he or she has an independent source of income.

Found the U.S. Census data on median household income for 2015 and 2016.  Median income for PR for 2016 was $20,000, less than half of the lowest state, Mississippi at $41,000.  Data is here.

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