Cost-of-living is a useful measurement that allows you to compare expenses between locations and over time.
Expats looking to relocate in Costa Rica need to consider many factors that affect the amount of money they will spend, and it will mainly depend on the location and lifestyle they choose.
The average cost of living in the Central Valley can vary between $800 - $1,200 if you are living by yourself. Depending on the area you choose you will be spending more money on your day to day basis. For example, living in Escazu, Santa Ana or Guanacaste, which are modern urbanizations with tons of foreign won’t be the same as living in Cartago, which despite being an urbanized area it’s still more rural and thus cheaper.
Lifestyle will define the amount of money you spend. If you are looking for top-notch facilities, an American school for your kids with international certificates like IB, or if you are looking to spend your money on a brand new car you will certainly be spending more money no matter which location you are on.
In Costa Rica, tourism is one of the main incomes, including eco-tourism. The Presidency of the Nation, the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) and the Institute of Costa Rican Tourism (ICT) announced in November 2018 that contribution of the tourism industry corresponds to 6.3% of GDP. There are tons of areas made for tourism mainly in which the cost of living will certainly be higher.
The HealthCare in Costa Rica has a government-sponsored system called La Caja, which works perfectly for Ticos and legal residents that aport a small fee depending on their income. There is also private health care, certainly more expensive than the public system, but much more accessible than in the US and some European countries. Costa Rica medical system is so good that medical tourism is part of a major movement in the country. Costa Rica is ranked high on worldwide rankings for health services in Latin America.
Large supermarket chains tend to have higher prices than expected. Most Americans, Canadians, and European trying to live in a low budget rather visit the farmers market held in most towns than going to the supermarket. In these street markets, you will be able to find fresh fruits and vegetables to almost half the price than in a grocery store. Seeds, fresh fish, eggs, milk, artisanal cheese, and goods.
Cost of renting mostly depends on your budget, a two or three bedroom apartment starts at 1000 to 3000 thousand monthly. Buying is always a safer option since you guaranteed only the payment of the utilities and those are not expensive at all.
Finding the best and most affordable place to live, really depends on what you’re looking for, and if what you are looking are a good quality of life and excellent climate, Costa Rica will do for you!