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November 9, 2022

Living expenses in Jaco Beach

What is the cost of living in Costa Rica? Spend between $1,100 and $4,000 if you’re an expat on a very limited budget. This represents an average of monthly living expenses; however, relocation fees may be higher. An expat can live on an average of $1,100 per month, but even frugal retirees and digital nomads will do best with a $2,000 or more per month budget for a couple. Here is an example of the cost of living in Costa Rica’s trendier expat neighborhoods. Most expats believe that owning a car is an investment that is necessary to live there, but it really drives up your prices (therefore try to live in a walking neighborhood). This budget would allow for air conditioning on the hottest days only and a basic diet with only a few key imported or Western foods. It’s not a basic budget, but one that I believe most retirees or digital nomads would feel comfortable spending over a long period of time without feeling the need to cut expenses.  

Quick Information about Living in Costa Rica

Costa Rican Colon exchange rate: 1 USD = 566 CRC

Five regions make up Costa Rica: the Central Valley, the Gold Coast, Arenal, the Southern Zone, and the Central Pacific. In addition to some younger foreigners and families, pensioners make up the bulk of expats in Costa Rica. In the Central Valley and on the Gold Coast, there are more expat communities. A close second would be the Southern Zone.

Internet: The nation’s larger cities, including San José, have reliable internet service, although outlying regions of the country may experience sporadic service and slower speeds. Internet blackouts can happen.

A middle-class wage in Costa Rica is around $750 USD per month. A monthly income of about $450 is typical in smaller cities, which is just over the legal drinking age. These vary by location and city.

Costa Rica is generally pet-friendly, however the procedure of bringing your dogs with you can be a little confusing. Start early so that you can get the necessary shots and paperwork in order before your anticipated move.

Water: The vast majority of Costa Rica’s tap water is perfectly safe to drink. But you should only consume bottled water in Limón and Puntarenas, which are both harbour cities.

Visas: Travelers entering Costa Rica as tourists must show a current passport and proof of a return or onward ticket. Don’t risk entering without it since, while they might not always want to see it, they might even refuse to let you on the plane. Normally, visa-free stays are limited to 90 days, and there is a $29 USD departure tax. Visit the US State Department website for further information.

Child Friendly: I am aware of several families who have moved to Costa Rica; they frequently settle in Tamarindo and San José. While the state schools in Costa Rica are excellent, the majority of the larger cities have at least one international or American school.

Safety: Costa Rica is relatively safe. Pickpockets and muggings are common in city centres like San José. Always ask locals before swimming in fresh water as some contain microorganisms that can make you very sick. The currents along the Pacific and Atlantic shores are often very strong and dangerous; always read signs before entering the water to make sure you are in a safe area.

Possible Issues: Water and power outages are common outside of major cities. Also, you must have proof of a return ticket before you board a plane to Costa Rica.


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