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Living in Costa Rica: A guide to cost of living, lifestyle, and more


Mar 14, 2023

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If you’re thinking of living in Costa Rica, you’re not alone. This Central American country is known for its stunning natural beauty, friendly locals, and laid-back lifestyle.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in Costa Rica, including the cost of living, lifestyle, and more.

How is living in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a popular destination for retirees, expats, and digital nomads looking for a change of pace. Living here can be an incredible experience, but it also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in this beautiful country.

Natural beauty

Costa Rica is a country full of natural beauty, including stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and breathtaking volcanoes.

Living in Costa Rica: A guide to cost of living, lifestyle, and more

Living in Costa Rica: A guide to cost of living, lifestyle, and more

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Costa Rica offers an incredible array of opportunities for hiking, surfing, bird watching, and more.


Costa Rica has a tropical climate that is warm and sunny year-round. This makes it an ideal place for those who love to be outdoors and enjoy warm weather.

Affordable cost of living

The cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively affordable, especially when compared to other countries in North America or Europe. It’s possible to live a comfortable life in Costa Rica without breaking the bank.


The healthcare system in Costa Rica is highly regarded and is available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. There are both public and private healthcare facilities in the country, providing a range of options for medical care.

Friendly locals

Costa Ricans are known for being some of the friendliest people in the world. They are warm and welcoming to foreigners, making it easy to make new friends and feel at home in the country.

However, there are some disadvantages to living in Costa Rica that are worth considering

Language barrier

While many Costa Ricans speak English, Spanish is the official language of the country. For those who don’t speak Spanish, communicating with locals and conducting business can be difficult.

Limited job opportunities

The job market in Costa Rica can be challenging, especially for foreigners. While there are opportunities in the tourism industry and teaching English, it’s hard to find employment in other sectors.


While Costa Rica is a beautiful country, it still has some infrastructure challenges. The roads can be rough, and some areas lack basic services like water and electricity.

Natural disasters

Costa Rica is located in a region that is prone to natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. While the government is well-prepared to respond to these events, they can still be disruptive to daily life.

What is the cost of living in Costa Rica?

The cost of living in Costa Rica can vary depending on where you live and your lifestyle, but in general, it is considered to be relatively affordable compared to other countries in North America or Europe.

Here are some of the aspects that contribute to the cost of living in Costa Rica.


The cost of housing in Costa Rica can vary greatly depending on location, size, and quality. In general, you can expect to pay more for housing in popular tourist destinations or urban areas.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between $500 and $800 per month, while a similar apartment in a less touristy area can cost between $300 and $500 per month.

Buying a home in Costa Rica can be more expensive, with prices ranging from $100,000 to over $1 million depending on the location and size of the property.


The cost of food in Costa Rica can also vary depending on where you shop and what you buy. Buying groceries at local markets and cooking at home can be more affordable than eating out at restaurants.

A typical meal at a local restaurant can cost between $5 and $10, while a meal at a high-end restaurant can cost $20 or more. Imported goods and certain types of food can be more expensive, so it’s important to factor that into your budget.


Public transportation in Costa Rica is relatively affordable, with buses and trains running throughout the country. Taxis are also available, but they can be more expensive. Owning a car in Costa Rica can be costly due to import taxes and high fuel prices.


The cost of healthcare in Costa Rica is generally lower than in North America or Europe, but it can still be expensive.

Many people choose to purchase private health insurance, which can cost between $50 and $150 per month depending on the level of coverage.


The cost of utilities in Costa Rica can be high, especially for electricity and the internet. Air conditioning can be expensive to run, especially in areas with a warm and humid climate.

Overall, the cost of living in Costa Rica can be relatively affordable, especially if you are willing to live a modest lifestyle and avoid expensive tourist areas. It’s important to budget carefully and factor in all expenses when considering a move to Costa Rica.

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Note: The content in this article is for general informative purposes only. You should conduct your own research or ask for specialist advice before making any financial decisions. All information in this article is current as of the date of publication, and DNBC Financial Group reserves the right to modify, add, or remove any information. We don’t provide any express or implied representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the content within this publication.