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Cost of Living in Costa RicaCosta Rica is a small country of around 4.5 million people in Central America. With beautiful natural settings and the possibility for a healthy lifestyle, Costa Rica has become a popular destination for tourists and expats. While the cost of living in Costa Rica may be less than in a typical U.S. city, it’s actually one of the more expensive places to live in Latin America and Central America.

As in many countries, the cost of living in Costa Rica varies depending on what region you are in. If a family of two lives in a sparsely populated area, they may be able to get by with $1,500 or less a month. This includes rent, utilities, transportation and the Internet. However, someone living in an expensive condo in the Central Valley would hypothetically spend considerably more.

There are a few factors that make the cost of living in Costa Rica less than the U.S. First, housing is much more affordable. Nice homes are available in great locations with reasonable prices.

Second, the government provides high-quality and low-cost medical care. Costa Rica has a universal healthcare system known as Caja. For a small monthly fee, residents of Costa Rica receive any care they need. Additional insurance is also available for purchase. Perhaps because of this quality system, Costa Ricans have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas, with only Canadians scoring higher.

While housing and healthcare are very affordable, the cost of utilities is closer to the usual cost in the U.S., rather than the lower prices in other Latin America countries. This disparity is the primary reason the cost of living in Costa Rica is higher than it is in its neighboring countries.

A group of sociologists from Happy Planet Index ranked Costa Ricans as the happiest people on the planet. With the combination of cheap housing, affordable and accessible healthcare and beautiful tropical vistas, this should come as no surprise.

Brock Hall

Photo: Flickr


With a small cost of living and a luxurious lifestyle to offer, Costa Rica is an ideal location for retirement, particularly for Americans. Not only is the scenery breathtaking, but the cost of living in Costa Rica is even more alluring.

Surprisingly enough, day-to-day living costs are much more affordable in Costa Rica than in both the U.S. and the U.K. At the end of 2016, the minimum monthly required income for a single person in Costa Rica was $1,500 to $2,000. A majority of retired couples succeed on as little as $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

Medicare costs in Costa Rica are very affordable. Most consider the medical care to be of exceptionally good quality, yet it comes at a low monthly cost that includes free services.

The monthly cost to rent a lavish condo in Costa Rica is a mere $500 to $900 dollars. In many other countries as well as most of the U.S., this amount will hardly cover a basic, low-quality apartment.

As far as services go, the cost of electricity is around $200 per month, high-speed internet lands at a small amount of $25 per month and there is a $200 monthly fee for hiring a full-time maid, if one is wanted.

Food costs are astoundingly low as well, with a dozen bananas costing a mere $0.42. Fresh bread loaves cost about $1.25, and a pound of tomatoes is only $0.35. For Americans, this amounts to a 45 percent savings for the average amount of purchased groceries.

The low cost of living in Costa Rica combined with the beautiful landscapes and relaxing beaches is enough to make it the perfect place to live or retire. In fact, Costa Rica often gets mentioned on lists of best places to retire for this very reason. Those who are looking to move and have no ties to their place of origin will find Costa Rica to be a very affordable and appealing option.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Flickr