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Escazu, Costa Rica

Cost of Living in Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The cost of living in Costa Rica is generally considered to be quite affordable. A nice 1 bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per month, while a nice 2 bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500 per month. The cost of dinner at a moderately priced restaurant can range from $10 to $20 per person.

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Is the cost of living in Costa Rica high?

We asked people how much they someone comfortably live on in Costa Rica, they wrote:

"The cost of living in Costa Rica is generally considered to be moderate. With some meals costing as little as a few US dollars, the prices are generally quite affordable. However, prices may be higher in larger cities and in touristy areas. It is generally thought to be cheaper to live in Costa Rica than in the US or in many European countries," said another person in Costa Rica.

"Depends where you live and how you live. A friend in Palmares lives on $970 a month, including rent, vehicle, food, utilities and regional travel. Others live in Escazu in the high cost areas. We live in San Ramon and get by well in a nice place on less than$2000 a month, including yard guy, and maid for 12 hours a month! Depends on you," remarked another expat in Costa Rica.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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Will I save money living in Costa Rica?

"Living in Costa Rica can be relatively affordable depending on your lifestyle and location. While the cost of living is generally lower in Costa Rica than in many parts of the world, you may or may not see savings depending on your personal spending habits, the services and amenities you require and what kind of lifestyle you enjoy. For example, if you choose an area with shopping markets and eateries, living in Costa Rica may require more grocery spending, but if you choose more rural living, you may end up buying less. Ultimately, how much money you'll save living in Costa Rica will depend on a range of individual lifestyle factors," explained one expat.

"yes. it is a much more affordable living. I did have to spend extra money initially to get set up again since shipping belongings here was too expensive. I also need a vehicle which I will have to save for," said another person in Grecia.

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What is the average cost of housing in Costa Rica?

If you are thinking about moving to Costa Rica, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Costa Rica generally varies depending on the size, location, and amenities of the home. Generally, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in the center of a city, or a three-bedroom house in the suburbs, is around $400-800 USD per month," remarked another in Costa Rica.

"Lower, the average costs varies according to your lifestyle, so between $1500 to $3500 a month," explained one expat.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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What are typical rental prices for expats in Costa Rica?

"$1000 per month will be a condo with lesser amenities, smaller square footage, pool access, security. At this price range or slightly less, you will be expected to pay for electric but generally cable, wáter and internet is provided. At the $1,200 - $2,000 price point, an upper scale condo or a private home. The condo will have pool access, security, upscale appliances and a spacious layout. Generally three bedrooms and Americanized features. You most likely will be responsible for the electricity payment with cable/water, internet included. Over $2,000 - $3,000, you will find larger homes and upper scale condominiums. You will definitely have Americanized features such as upscale kitchens, bathrooms, furnishings, exclusive security, covered parking. Your utilities may be covered as some condos have "cooling towers" for air conditioning which will substantially reduce individual electric bills. The maintentance fees for these rental units are high so be aware if you are responsable for any portion of maintenance fees especially with these types of rental units. In condo complexes with buildings of several floors, the higher floors will have higher rental rates as these are the most popular and exclusive. Penthouse units will have exclusive entrances and these will be of the highest price range," said another expat.

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What appliances are typically included in a rental?

We asked foreigners in Costa Rica what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included:

"Generally rental properties are fully applianced. Lower scale rental units will have the basics, no dishwasher, possibly only a stove top and not an oven. A washer may be included but generally not a dryer. On the higher end scale, these will be fully appliances with American style refrigerator, stove/oven, dishwasher, microwave and washer/dryer. Be especially observant if the condo complex has a community área with tables, chairs, sink/wáter availability, bathrooms and BBQ grill. This is especially attractive for entertaining friends and family," remarked another expat in Playa Jaco (Jaco Beach).

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Escazu, Costa Rica

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