It really is no wonder that Costa Rica is fast becoming one of the most coveted expat destinations on the planet known for its enviable living costs. And not only for retirees looking for a warmer climate and good health care. Waves of young entrepreneurs, digital nomads and ecotourism operators are scrambling to get a piece of the Costa Rica pie. And no wonder: with such enviable living costs, exceptional health benefits, fantastic natural landscapes, clean living and a stress-free living…who wouldn’t want to live here?
An Enviable Lifestyle – A Priceless Bonus
Costa Rica is one of those rare countries that offers a fantastic lifestyle for a fraction of the cost you’d normally expect. This is what ultimately makes it such a coveted expat destination. Sure, other countries may be just as inexpensive to live in, yet none match all the added bonuses that Costa Rica can. With its array of fresh produce and penchant for clean eating and an active life, living in Costa Rica is simply better for you, price irrespective. More sunlight, tastier fruit and vegetables, walking or cycling everywhere, skipping the high levels of stress that go hand in hand with big city living and easily building social connections with like-minded expats.
Yet when it comes to the bottom line…yes, Costa Rica’s enviable living costs play a huge role in people’s ‘big move’.
Monthly Living Costs
Most retired couples who move to Costa Rica find they can enjoy an unrestricted lifestyle here for about 2,000 to 3,000 USD a month, including entertainment expenses, plenty of fresh food, health care and, of course, housing and utilities.
MEDICARE – The Caja, the local universal health care, is of exceptional high quality, this being arguably one of the best relocation incentives for older couples looking for peace of mind. For a low monthly fee, expats have access to all the Medicare benefits granted to Ticos and, for a fraction of what they’d pay at home, they can also pay cash for specialist surgeries or anything else not covered by the State-run healthcare.
FRESH FOOD – Fresh food is where Costa Rica really shines and, as long as you keep it local (by going to the weekly feria produce markets, for example) you’ll find your weekly food bill slashed. From fruits and vegetables to meat, eggs, cheeses, milk, bread, coffee and more: a fridge full of delicious fresh produce sets you back only about 30USD a week. With fruit and vegetables at less than 1USD a kilo and meat and seafood for under 5USD, eating well and plentifully is super easy in Costa Rica.
HOUSING – Luxury, US-style condos are becoming popular in Costa Rica and are ideal for those who only spend a portion of their time in the country – perhaps splitting their year with family stays back home – or those who don’t want the hassle of a garden. Flash condos can be rented for less than 1,000USD a month , whilst a 2-3 bedroom house can range in price between just 500USD and 1200USd depending on location, size of the home, age and overall land size.
UTILITIES – For under 100USD a month you can cover all your needed utilities, including unlimited internet access and cable TV.
HOUSE HELP – Need help around the house and garden? Helpers can be hired for just a couple of dollars an hour or, if you’d like their services exclusively, you should expect to pay a salary of about 200-300USD a month, depending on their task and expertise.
The Ins and Outs of Living in Costa Rica
Many long-term expat residents say that although you could get by well for 1,000USD a month, per person, stretching the budget will make for a much more enjoyable life. This is especially true for those who wish to fly home often or travel extensively through the country and the general Central American region. Because that’s an absolute must, right? On the upper limit, well, there really isn’t one. If you wanted to, you could also spend upwards of 5,000USD a month by renting the most luxurious digs, dining in top-notch restaurants, having 5* spa treatments every week and a team of helpers at home to look after the garden, pool, dogs and children. Curiously, although this may seem to be a lot of money, it is still only a fraction of what the same Hollywood lifestyle would cost back home.
What may strike many as idyllic is the fact that life in Costa Rica feels remarkably more ‘Western’ than one may first imagine. There’s a feeling of familiarity, here, that seems to be missing in many of the neighboring countries. Because foreign and exotic may be alluring for a vacation, granted, but you will likely desire your choice of home to be more homely and less challenging.
Expat communities have sprung up in every single region of Costa Rica, some a little more substantial in numbers than others. Although budget is not necessarily at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it pays to travel here and do your homework if you’re ever serious about moving here. And note than in a small country such as this, moving just 15 minutes’ drive from a known hub can easily halve living costs. No matter where you go, trust that there will be an expat community, however small, ready to welcome you home.
Costa Rica’s enviable living costs have helped cement the country’s spot as a top retirement and expat destination. But it is clear as day that there is so much more to this country than simply low prices. When life is prioritized and free time is spent hiking, kayaking, surfing and sharing meals with dear new friends, life can be quite priceless indeed.
A much coveted expat destination, Cost Rica is your ultimate adventure vacation destination. So why not come discover what all the fuss is about? We can show you the best of this country and can guarantee that once you get a taste of this heavenly place you’ll also never want to leave!