Cost of living in Costa Rica

Cost of living in Costa Rica

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Where to live in Costa Rica

Located in Central America, Costa Rica offers a stunning collection of beaches, rainforests and bustling cities. This paradise is becoming more and more popular for expats as each year goes by, with an exotic climate and lower cost of living than many European and North American countries proving major attractions.

The capital of Costa Rica is San José, a country that only ranks as the 139th most expensive city to live in out of 209, according to the 2019 Mercer Annual Cost of Living Survey. Coastal areas, however, such as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Tamarindo can be considerably more expensive to emigrate to and boast a growing expat community.  

 

How much does accommodation cost in Costa Rica?

The cost of property in Costa Rica varies greatly throughout the country, depending on the location you choose. For a capital city, San José is relatively inexpensive to rent or buy property in, however expat hubs such as Tamarindo and Puerto Viejo command higher prices due to the close proximity to sun and sand. Below is a general guideline of the prices you can expect when looking for accommodation in a few Costa Rican locations*.

(All figures taken from Numbeo.com and exchange rates calculated on 18th December 2019 at 15:48pm).

 

San José

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£357 (264,689 ₡)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£274 (203,042 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£663 (490,961 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£493 (365,297 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£1,288 (954,584 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£1,155 (855,886 ₡)

 

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£432.65 (320,000 ₡)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£315.47 (233,333 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£1,251 (925,000 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£1,082 (800,000 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£1,623 (1,200,000 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£1,623 (1,200,000 ₡)

 

Tamarindo

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£361.56 (267,500 ₡)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£405.49 (300,000 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£1,352 (1,000,000 ₡)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£743.40 (550,000 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£2,135 (1,579,762 ₡)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£1,623 (1,200,619 ₡)

 

Cost of transport in Costa Rica

Transport is relatively inexpensive within Costa Rica, however can be limited depending on your location. Local buses are a hugely popular and cost-effective way to travel, while for cross-country trips, shared shuttlebuses are commonplace. Naturally, owning a car is the most convenient method of transport in Costa Rica, however although the cost of petrol is lower than in the UK, car prices are still relatively close to those in Europe or North America.

Single bus ticket £0.58 (435.00 ₡)
Monthly public transport ticket

£36.06 (26,719 ₡)

Petrol (1 litre)

£0.86 (635.30 ₡)

Volkswagen Golf

£17,547 (13,000,000 ₡)

Toyota Corolla £20,063 (14,869,909 ₡)

 

What is the cost of living in Costa Rica?

Costs for groceries, leisure activities and other miscellaneous items can fluctuate greatly when compared to European prices. You might consider some of the supermarkets as having similar prices to back home, however the cost of dining out is substantially cheaper, while other utilities and amenities also present a cheaper way of living in Costa Rica. Below are a few examples of some of the prices you can expect to find in the country as a whole. 

Milk (1 litre)

£1.04 (769.97 ₡)

Bread (500g loaf)

£1.37 (1,016 ₡)

Eggs (12pk)

£2.11 (1,566 ₡)

Water (1.5 litre bottle)

£1.67 (1,239 ₡)

Chicken Breast (1kg)

£5.17 (3,820 ₡)

Cappuccino (regular, in a restaurant)

£2.09 (1,551 ₡)

Beer (500ml, in a restaurant/pub)

£2.02 (1,500 ₡)

Cinema ticket

£4.72 (3,500 ₡)

Gym membership (monthly)

£39.62 (29,299 ₡)

Preschool/Kindergarten (monthly)

£278.22 (205,735 ₡)

Primary School (yearly)

£6,068 (4,496,182 ₡)

 

As well as considering the cost of living, you’ll need to educate yourself on how to make the move to Costa Rica as smooth and seamless as possible. One of the ways to do this is to get the most out of your international payments. Whether you’re buying a property there or transferring savings after the move, a moneycorp international payments account offers you access to great rates, low transfer fees and expert guidance for your foreign currency exchange

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Emigrate to Costa Rica

Everything you need to know about moving to Costa Rica and starting a new life overseas.

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Tips on making the most for your money when you emigrate

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