THE AREA | Living in Costa Rica
Living in Costa Rica gives you the freedom to spend almost as little or much as you choose; while many things are inexpensive, North American-style luxuries can add up. Despite this fact, life in Costa Rica is generally less expensive than an equivalent lifestyle in the United States, Canada or Europe, as many expatriates will happily attest.
Those expats interested in simple living should budget $1500 or less monthly. Rents in rural areas and select urban areas hover around $300-$600 for a well-furnished apartment or small home. At this price, renters can expect Costa Rican-style amenities, which may include line-drying laundry and bathrooms equipped with electric shower heads. Generally, this budget allows for bus rides and the occasional taxi, big trips to the farmer's market and a few restaurant meals each month.
Others choose to retire or live in relative luxury, employing full-time housekeepers, commuting by car, enjoying exquisite homes and consuming imported goods. In the Central Valley, such lifestyles can easily amount to $3000 or more monthly. A lavish three-bedroom home near San Jose – complete with granite countertops, Jacuzzi bathtubs and hot water heater – starts at approximately $1500 monthly, and can cost much more.