The great debate

There is a huge debate about the cost of living here in Costa Rica.  It has been going on for a while.  Yes, Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America.  There is no debate about that.  Costa Rica is also the safest country in Central America to live in.  That is a fact.  You can easily look these up.  The cost of living is going to vary greatly on where you live and how you want to live.  If you live in an area that has lots of tourists and expats, then it is going to be expensive.  If you come down here and think you are going to live the same as you did in the States, then it is not going to be any cheaper.  Products imported from the States are more here than they are there.  Import taxes and cost of shipping.  Cars are more expensive here also, but we do have a great public transportation system that is much cheaper than the US, and it is very reliable.  I have used the public transit for three and a half years now.  We are looking at getting a car because of my back problems; it can be difficult getting on and off the bus for me.  Gas prices are higher here than there too; but not as high as what they are in Europe.  Right now, gas is down to around $4 a gallon, it was $5.  I know in some European countries it can go as high as $11 a gallon; so please stop complaining.

The area I live in, isn’t too bad on the cost.  You can rent a 45 m2 house for around $100 a month.  Granted, it’s not a big house, but it is a house.  With all that money you are saving you can afford to do more things around the country.  Think about it.  Big house and stay home all the time, little house and travel.  My house is around 57 m2, that’s a little over 600 sq ft.  I like it, I have everything that I need here.I have heard some people saying their electric bill is around $100 a month.  Not sure what they are doing because mine is around $30 a month.  I don’t have A/C either.  I am very conscious about my electric bill.  I unplug everything if I am not using it.  I even unplug the modem at night, I’m not using it and leaving it on just wastes electricity.  The only things that stay plugged in when not in use is the washer and dryer.  Seriously, if you unplug stuff when you are not using it, your utility bill will go down because it still draws on the power even when off.  My water bill runs under $8 a month, we don’t have a sewage system in the area I live in so that cuts back on the cost.  All we have are holding tanks.  Now the internet.  I got a slower speed internet including my home phone for $30 a month.  I have no problem streaming movies on Netflix or watching videos on youtube.  Now, if you have several people at the same time trying to watch movies and videos I would recommend a faster speed.  For us, this is fine.

The cost of food.  It really depends on what you want to buy.  If you buy local brands it can be very reasonable.  Except diary products, they are expensive no matter what.  A half gallon of milk is around $2.  I get a big bag of local brand cereal for around $5.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are very cheap as long as they are not imported; all apples are imported.  You can get three pineapples on a road side stand for around $2.  Bananas are extremely cheap here as they grow everywhere, I even have some in my yard.  Also, we have the biggest carrots I have ever seen in my life here.  Don’t waste your time and money on buying the baby carrots that are already pealed and in a bag.  Buy a real fresh carrot and peal it yourself, it doesn’t take long to do.  On average when I go to the supermarket I spend around $100 a week, I will have to go through the week and get some milk because we do drink a lot of it, but that is for three people including a carton of cigarettes.  I plan my meals out before shopping and make a list, it really helps.

So the point being, if you come down here don’t expect to live like you did in the US.  This is a completely different lifestyle.  It is relaxing and very laid back.  You need to come down here with an open mind and an open heart.  Learn the ways of the locals and embrace it.  It will be worth it.  Leave your old life behind, it’s in the past.  If you have any questions about anything feel free to ask.

Pura Vida!