What Does It Cost to Retire in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is not the place for bargain-basement living. It is the most expensive country in Central America. In many ways, it’s a victim of its own success, so to speak. It’s safe, stable, with a growing economy. But in Costa Rica, you will find a high standard of living that is still far below the cost of living in the U.S., Canada, or Europe.

How much it will cost you, of course, depends on your lifestyle. But many expats report living comfortably on budgets of between $2,000 and $3,000 per month. Spend more, and you will have a lifestyle that would never be possible back in the United States. Rents range from $300 to $600 per month for a small home or condo to $1,200 to $2,000 per month for a large house with a large yard, depending on location. Rural areas are cheaper, and ocean and urban properties are more.

Costa Rica

beauty-shot-03You won’t need to give up anything if you retire to Costa Rica…except cold winters. Need modern appliances? A high-speed Internet connection? Cable and satellite TV? Costa Rica has all the services and infrastructure in place to meet all your needs. And because the cost of labor is low, you may be able to employ household help that will enable you to vastly improve your quality of life.

Once you’ve purchased a home, you’ll continue to save money. The tropical climate and comfortable average temperature of about 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) eliminates the need to either heat or air-condition your home, so utility bills are much less costly than in Canada or the United States. Ceiling fans are usually sufficient for cooling your home and tradewinds make the days quite comfortable.

With rare exceptions, your investment in Costa Rica can be considered safe. Studies site Costa Rica as one of the least corrupt countries in the world and rank it among the best and safest places to make an investment, be it real estate or otherwise.

Those considering living in Costa Rica may buy pre-existing homes or choose a lot for new construction. The new construction process is, however, a bit difficult given language and cultural barriers, so those who choose this option should proceed carefully.

One really good way to get a feel of the country and investigate the real estate for retirement in Costa Rica is to take a “retirement tour”. These tours are specifically designed and will introduce you to various towns and districts as well as developers of retirement properties. Taking one of these tours will also allow you to meet like-minded people and people who are already spending their retirement in Costa Rica, this is useful in helping you make a decision as well as get a feel for the country.