What’s the cost of living like in Costa Rica?

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This question is a bit of a ‘pet-peeve’ of mine… I have overheard people talking about Costa Rica Cost of living – How ‘expensive’ Costa Rica is but, compared to what?

If you were a Costa Rican interested in living in the USA, would you start by looking at brand new homes in Beverly Hills? Or, maybe a Donald Trump type apartment on 79th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan?

Of course not! Because they are probably some of the most expensive areas for real estate in the USA.

You’ll find more expensive property at many of the beaches beaches however, Escazu does have areas with some of the highest priced real estate in the Central Valley area…

But that’s what happens. People from North America and Europe hop off the plane and want to take a look at real estate in Escazu because it’s a great and very convenient location.

Well folks! If you are doing that, you must remember that you will be competing with all the wealthy Mexicans, Argentinians, Colombians, Guatemalans, Brazilians, Salvadorans, Peruvians, Chileans, Venezuelans, Americans, Canadians and many Europeans who are all looking for a politically stable place to invest their money outside of their own home countries… Some of which are very unstable.

I’m not personally suggesting Escazu is just like Beverly Hills but Escazu is incredibly well situated, it is convenient to just about everything and yes! You do pay for that…

If you are interested in buying a home in Costa Rica and you’re willing to travel an hour from San José, you can buy your own land and build a beautiful home in the country for under US$100K. I know it’s possible because I did it myself! I built a 1,700 square foot vacation home in the mountains on 4,300 square meters of land for less than $100K.

That exact same property in Escazu would cost you at least four times as much except you would end up with a lot less land and privacy…

You can also see some interesting commentary by our VIP Members on the cost of living in our Discussion Forum here.

As always, the key to getting the best deal is knowing the best, most reputable experts and real estate developers. Since real estate brokers get a commission based on the sales price of a property, they don’t want to show you how to save money, many of them only want to show you the highest priced properties possible.

First I should tell you that I live very well indeed… I love good food and I love to cook. I eat lots of lamb, salmon, rabbit and I prefer to drink a quality red wine and imported Belgian ales than the local Costa Rican brew ‘Imperial’ or ‘Pilsen’ … I also ‘splurge’ on a good Scottish single malt whiskey from time to time.

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Some examples?

To give you a real idea about farmer’s market type prices, in one of Jo Stuart’s newspaper columns, she compared the exact cost of several fruits and vegetables purchased here in Costa Rica to the exact items purchased in a California farmer’s market.

She spent US$8.75 here and the same items in California cost US$29.47

Late last year Jo also published an article showing the difference in prices between buying your fruits and veggies at the local street market versus the local supermarket. How do these prices below compare to your local supermarket?

I have business lunches just about every day and my lady and I enjoy dinner out about twice per week. I enjoy a cigar twice per week and I am the one that cooks dinner in our house at least five times per week.

There is a three man landscaping team that comes to my house twice per month (US$50 per month) to look after my garden areas and I have a maid that does all my cleaning and ironing (US$2 per hour).

Thanks to a few years with Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Commandos (the British Special Forces) and the extreme physical activities we ‘enjoyed’, I do need to see my chiropractor once per week which costs US$20.

And once a week I also have a one hour massage (US$40) with terrific Tica in Escazu although there are numerous massage therapists that charge less than half that.

Now please remember that I am not retired. I run a couple of different businesses, I work hard, play hard and I’m having the time of my life.

For all my personal expenses, weekends away (at least once per month), business lunches, various website fees, courier services, telecommunication costs, numerous financial services website subscriptions and absolutely everything for two businesses and my personal expenses – on average I pay about US$3,000 per month or US$36,000 per year.

I came to this number after keeping a record of every single penny that I have spent over the last 24 months. I will be keeping a record of every penny this year too…

Again, remember that I am not retired. If you’re not working, entertaining clients and running a business as I am, you will probably be able to slash those costs by at least US$1,000 per month…

Needless to say, outside of San Jose, you can live on less…

I have lived in the US (New York City for ten years) and nine other countries, I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in major cities all over the world so I have a pretty good idea what the cost of living is like elsewhere…

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For me to enjoy the same kind of extremely comfortable lifestyle that I love in Costa Rica in New York, I would (and I am NOT exaggerating) need to earn at least ten times more than I am earning today… And I don’t want to live there or anywhere else. Why?

They don’t have the climate that we have in Costa Rica which I personally believe is the most perfect climate for the human body and I do like the people of Costa Rica – the ‘Ticos’. Don’t get me wrong! They are still people with the same hopes and fears as you and I and there are good ones and a few bad ones….

The Costa Rican people may be a little too laid back for you but I believe they are amongst the nicest people I’ve come across and certainly amongst the most physically attractive people in the world…

Costa Rica is exactly where I want to be – right here, right now! Are you living exactly where do you want to be?

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Costa Rica Cost of Living in Escazu & Santa Ana

Article/Property ID Number 733

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