Cost of Living

Photo by Joan Weilers
Photo by Joan Weilers

A common consensus is that a person living alone will likely need $1,200-$2,000 US per month to live a comparable lifestyle to what they are accustomed to in North America. Ultimately, the consensus is that the of your total expenses will depend on the lifestyle that is adopted. Tourist areas tend to be more expensive for property purchase or rent, options in rural settings tend to be more affordably priced and long term rentals can be negotiated. Buying imported goods may bust the budget, whereas venturing to try new local foods that are available will have you visiting farmers market weekly to find new culinary discoveries. Acquiring a vehicle can be convenient. The cost of gas is slightly more expensive than in North America, as is the initial purchase price for a vehicle, yet sometimes purchasing a vehicle cannot be avoided if you choose to live in a remote location. The cost of cars are about 30 to 40 percent above their US counterparts due to import taxes and fees, and the fact that Costa Rica does not manufacture cars in-country. You will save on heating bills, and telecommunication companies offer competitive rates overall, with very basic internet plans starting at $20 US a month, if you run an online business you may want to look around for options and talk with providers about service reliability. And least not forget, health care coverage as a set budgetary item and whether or not residency is required should be all factored in. If you choose to maintain a larger property or home, consider that many homeowners opt to have the assistance of a housekeeper and a gardener, you will find their expert advice often saves the day and is worth the added monthly expense. Whether or not to maintain a pool and enjoy the company of a trusted pet, although they are additional expenses, are budget items not to be neglected, many home owners are nonetheless able to afford these last luxuries even on a set budget.

And even then, despite some added expenses and inclusion of luxuries, some residents have indeed managed to curb their expenditures significantly as compared to when they were living in the States or Canada. You will find it can be quite easy to live a healthy, laid back lifestyle that does not cost a fortune in Costa Ballena. Fresh food is readily available and highly affordable, you can even start to grow your own! Beaches and trails don’t cost a thing to explore, and memorable stories these adventures create are priceless. And one of the biggest luxuries we ‘locals’ benefit from is due to the fact the area has an influx of tourists year round, businesses look for ways to attract traffic, so live music is often a free concert venue, almost any night of the week. You will find, scaling back can come naturally, and if you ask around locals are glad to share their insights and experiences.

Big Mac Index 2014

$4.02 the cost of a Big Mac in Costa Rica*

*The Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical product/service (in this case, a burger) in any two countries.

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