If you are even remotely curious about moving to Costa Rica, join the Costa Rica Living group bulletin board. It’s very active with lots of longtime members. You can search the messages on any topic – you will get tons of good information. On your preferences page, sign up for a "daily digest" email which gives you one email every day or so of all activity on the board (as opposed to an email every time a member posts. Which is often.)
A new member who is considering a move to Costa Rica, just asked about cost of living. Jon, who lives in Heredia on the north side of the Central Valley where we used to live, answered in detail:
Here are our monthly basic living expenses for a couple living in the Heredia area:
RENT: Less than $500 a month for a 3-bedroom 2-bath house in a Tico Neighborhood
UTILITIES per Month
Electricity $14 – $20
Cell phone 8.00
Internet ADSL 15.00
Cable TV 25.00
Evening Street Guard 20.00
We have a car, but it is not necessary to have one in Heredia, since there are many inexpensive buses and cabs. From center of Heredia to our house is less than one dollar by taxi. Mostly we walk, but if we have heavy packages it is a nice option.
Food is usually less than $250 a month.
Having just paid our bills and giddy with having money left over, I answered as well:
Here are monthly basic living expenses for a family living in the hills above Escazu:
RENT: $950 a month (including fast-response alarm system) for a 5-bedroom 3-bath at least 15-year-old house in a Tico Neighborhood. Definitely not a typical tico house as I know them, but not a fancy new gringo house either. And contrary to popular belief, Escazu is NOT all gringos. Our only neighbors are ticos. I never see a gringo unless I go to the mall.
Cell phone $8
Internet Wimax (wifi, hi-speed) $60
Cable TV $30
Car $.25/mile, including everything. We just converted to propane, slightly cheaper and much, much cleaner. In a year, we should have our money back ($1,450 to convert our Rav4).
As in Heredia, it is not necessary to have a car in Escazu. Buses and cabs are plentiful and inexpensive.
Food is around $500 a month, we almost never eat out. It’d be a lot cheaper if we didn’t have to feed our two teenage boys, who just keep getting bigger and hungrier.
We could probably live for about $200/month cheaper on the other side of the valley. But we’d spend that and more in time and gas going back and forth to the Little Theatre Group, just for starters. Not only are we probably saving money living over here, we love living so close to San Jose.
The incredible bonus living in Costa Rica is that we get a lot more quality of life for our $1,600 here than we ever got for our $4,500 in the states. I’m going to be harping on this more and more. I want my people here.