Costa Rica is the richest country in all of Central America. Ticos are currently earning about $830 per month (on average). If you want to find out how much it costs to live in Costa Rica, I suggest you continue reading. Let’s start by seeing how much it would cost to rent an apartment.

How much does it cost to live in Costa Rica?

Lodging – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

A small one-bedroom apartment can cost you between $390 and $525 per month, while rents for 3-bedroom apartments average between $700 and $950 per month.

If you intend to buy an apartment for yourself, I have to inform you that the square meter is in values between $1,300 and $1,600.


Gas, electricity and water expenses may be as high as $75.

Food – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

The menu of the day at any cheap bar or restaurant will run you about $7.60. A 2-course dinner with post included at a more upscale restaurant will set you back about $17. On the other hand, if you choose to go to a fast food place like KFC or McDonald’s I don’t think you will spend more than 7.40 dollars.

Now that you know what the prices are like in Costa Rican restaurants, it will be good to see what they are like in supermarkets:

  • Water (1.5 liters) $2.18
  • Milk (1 liter) $1,37
  • Beer (0,5 liters) $1,72
  • 1 kilogram of beef $8,90
  • 1 kg rice $2.18
  • 1 kg tomatoes $2.35
  • 1 kg potatoes $1.81
  • 1 kg of apples $3.98
  • 1 dozen eggs $3.08

Transportation – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

As soon as you get into a cab, the meter will read about $1.20, and it will go up by another $1.20 for every kilometer you travel.

A single trip on public transport is equivalent to $0.88. Monthly passes are only cost-effective if you are going to use public transportation frequently, since their price is $55.

In Costa Rica, the price per liter of gasoline is currently set at $1.21.

Other expenses – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

A movie ticket might cost you around $6.60; not including any soft drinks or popcorn.

Gyms are quite expensive, with monthly dues costing about $50.

For a pair of Nike or Adidas sneakers they can ask up to 100 dollars.

To contract broadband internet in your apartment you will have to pay approximately $53/month.

The cost of living in Costa Rica would be between 700-900 dollars:

Expense Price

  • Rent + expenses $300-$500
  • Food $160
  • Transportation $50
  • Leisure and incidentals $180

Transportation and Traffic – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

The costs of the well-developed road network are very low and are around US$ 0.30 between cities. Gasoline prices average US$1.21 per liter. The same situation applies to water, telephone, clothing, food, and other daily necessities.

Domestic employees – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Extra help around the house and having an official employee is very normal for the middle class and above. The cost depends on the requirements and the amount of time (hourly, half or full day) between US$40 and US$75 per week.

Smart Advise – Cost of Living in Costa Rica

The more you adapt to the lifestyle and consumption habits of Costa Ricans, the lower the living costs will be. As local goods are much cheaper such as fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, meat, cigarettes, etc. than in Europe; imported goods such as cars, cameras, electronics, computers, wines, etc. pay high taxes in Costa Rica and are expensive. Food and drinks in local restaurants is much cheaper than in Europe.

So… What is the Cost of Living in Costa Rica?

Depending on the region, certain price differences can be obtained. Western European-style status can be achieved at a lower cost. Imported products for consumption, which are taxed with high import taxes, can rarely reach an extreme price.

In Costa Rica a living status like in Europe or the United States can be obtained but with clearly lower costs. For $1.500 per month a couple can live comfortably, with $2500 it is enough to finance a luxurious life.

I´m moving to Costa Rica – What should I consider

Moving to Costa Rica should be done without a lot of furniture. Organizational expenses and costs argue for a light move. Transportation costs from Europe and the United States to Costa Rica pay high import taxes, which also apply to used household goods. In addition, transportation costs are also taken into account in the taxes.

COST COMPARISON CHARTUnited StatesCosta RicaLatest Info
Average Gross National Income (per capita)$70,930$12,3102021
Average Cost of a Home (3 Bedrooms)$125,000 – $740,000+$219,0002023
Gasoline (per gallon of regular) $3.50$5.032023
ADSL Internet monthly (100MB)$69.95$472023
Home Phone Service (basic monthly fee)$20 – $60$3.622023
Cell Phone (450/500 anytime minutes, plus taxes)$39.99$36.762023
Cable TV (basic /monthly)$83$50.392023
Average Private Health Care (Annual)$5,472$3,0002023
Car Insurance$2,148$806.362023
Basic Groceries Average per Month$922 to $1,488$108.752023

Also, if you are planning to come to work to Costa Rica we have our Working from Costa Rica – Digital Nomads guide.

In case you decided to come to life in our Paradise we have the best Homes for Sale or Apartments for Rent listings for you.