Figuring out the cost of living in Costa Rica
Moving to a Central American country can seem a strange idea. Images of armed guerrillas and drug smugglers may immediately come to mind but this is not reality for most countries in this area. Costa Rica, for example, has the highest standard of living in all of Central America. It enjoys a stable, peaceful democratic government and boasts natural beauty as far as the eye can see along with an abundance of flora and fauna. The cost of living in Costa Rica reflects these privileges and is proportionally the highest in Central America. Due to favorable currency exchange however, it is still very financially advantageous for Canadian and American citizens to move to Costa Rica. The exchange rate is currently 485 colones to one America dollar. (October 2005). You’ll have to put your dreams of living the high life on hold for a moment while we put this information in context. After all, the exchange rate means nothing if a pint of milk costs 2000 colones. Luckily for you, it doesn’t. The following table should give you a general idea of how much things cost. The price is given in colones and then American dollars.
|Ice Cream||1 gallon||3640||7.50|
Now that you know roughly how much your weekly grocery shop will set you back, it may be useful to know how much it will cost to get around town. Gasoline will cost you about 0.50USD per litre and a taxi ride is about 0.75USD for the first kilometer and about 0.35USD for every kilometer after that.
A night at the theatre will cost approximately 15USD per ticket while a trip to the movies will set you back about 4.00USD. Costa Rica is a great place to go on a date because you can get dinner and a movie for under 20USD. There is the price of the flight to add on but never mind.
Your house will be the major factor when calculating the cost of living in Costa Rica. As in all countries, the price depends on where you want to live and what sort of house and property you are after. You should expect to pay anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000USD for a three-bedroom house in a nice neighborhood. Naturally, the closer you are to the city and other amenities, the more you should expect to pay.
Good news is that domestic help is extremely inexpensive at about 3USD per hour. It is quite common for families of average means to employ at least one maid.