How Much Does It Cost to Live In Costa Rica?

The majority of people coming to Costa Rica believe that they will spend much less money on monthly expenses than they do in their home countries and that is why it is so attractive among foreigners from all over the world, especially from Canada and Europe.

Besides the better living conditions for the lower budget, Costa Rica has to offer great natural environments in modern cities, lots of attractions and entertainment to satisfy everyone’s taste.

Cost of Living Index:

Costa Rica : Cost of Living by City



In order to achieve a comfortable standard of living at a much lower cost, it is suggested not to eat out on a daily basis, as restaurants can take you much of the monthly budget.

It is more expensive overall than some of the other popular destinations for newcomers, as both the food and alcohol is expensive.



Fresh fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap in Costa Rica, as well as all domestic products.

If you want to purchase foreign food, it is available but it is quite pricey.

Cooking meals at home usually reduces food costs up to 50%.



Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in Central and South America, and it offers quite inexpensive transportation costs.

If you decide to commute by car that would be more expensive, as gasoline price is not too affordable.

Otherwise, public transport system is rather cheap and efficient.



Utilities costs in Costa Rica are highly variable depending on city, location and size of the apartment, as well as on the number of people living there, their habits and the season of the year.

When all the above mentioned things are taken into consideration, it can be said that basic utilities are not as expensive as it is the Internet access.

Sports and leisure


When we speak about sports, the costs would be considered pretty high as it is necessary to pay around $50 for a monthly pass in the fitness clubs in Costa Rica.

Tennis court rents are also expensive, while cinema tickets can be taken as inexpensive.

Clothing and shoes


Clothing is pretty expensive in Costa Rica and buying designers clothes would require the above average budget here.

Low cost apparel is available and more affordable, if you are not into buying branded stuff.

People from Costa Rica spend the least money on clothes.

Rent per month


When it comes to rent costs, Costa Rica is still more affordable than living in the United States, due to the fact that rent for one bedroom apartment is not above $500.

The bigger the family is, the greater are the housing expenses, but that is the situation wherever in the world you go.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Costa Rica

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $6.96
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $2.47
Water (0.33 Liter) $1.27
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $4.94
Loaf Bread (500g) $1.61
Eggs (12) $2.50
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.71
Monthly Pass $38.71
Gasoline $3.91
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $77.15
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.06
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $59.24
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $50.04
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $15.14
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $5.11
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $62.02
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $44.40
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $98.06
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $477.02
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $351.62
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $842.36

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Costa Rica?

When all the common expenses are included, we can make a conclusion how much money would be necessary for a decent living in Costa Rica.

Personal lifestyles differ in terms of which clothing items you buy, what means of transportation you use and what are your eating habits.

Dining out can be less expensive if you avoid places frequented by tourists, but the data says that more money is spent on restaurants than no transportation, meaning that people in Costa Rica visit restaurants quite often.


Costa Rica: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

How well you will live in Costa Rica highly depends on whether you are coming here as a single person or with your family.

Earning the average, which exceeds $700 per month, would be more than enough for all the expenses, plus leaving some money for leisure.

However, the others who need to provide for their families would spend hundreds of dollars more, depending on their lifestyle and the number of people they need to support.

All costs, including housing, transportation, utilities, food, and entertainment in Costa Rica would require above the average salaries.

Average Salary$716.20
Minimum Wage$460.4
Mortgage Interest Rate9.67%

Cost of Living by City in Costa Rica

City Cost of Living Index
San Jose 57.84

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