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cost of living in Costa Rica

Cost of Living – Panama, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica Comparison

A Quick Comparison of Cost of Living

I’ve been doing some searches on Numbeo again – yes, I love data!  If you’re not familiar with the Numbeo concept check out my post that explains how it works.  I’ve compared the four countries we’re considering: Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and Ecuador.

I picked a major city in each one for two reasons, (1) roughly similar size and amenities and (2) availability of information.

The results below are interesting.  I highlighted the expensive things that stood out to me.   It confirms everything I’ve seen and heard.
Costa Rica’s consumer goods are expensive in comparison to most other Latin American countries.  However, the rental, utility, and transportation costs are similar.  See for yourself.
comparison

Comparison Results:  

  San Jose

  Panama City

  Puerto Vallarta

  Cuenca

Restaurants
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant

7.44 $

    6.00 $

    3.65 $

    2.50 $

Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course

40.00 $

    40.00 $

    24.36 $

    11.00 $

Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar

7.00 $

    4.75 $

    6.09 $

    4.00 $

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)

2.43 $

    1.50 $

    1.22 $

    1.00 $

Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)

3.50 $

    3.00 $

    2.03 $

    2.00 $

Cappuccino (regular)

2.78 $

    1.50 $

    2.03 $

    1.78 $

Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)

1.50 $

    1.00 $

    0.97 $

    1.00 $

Water (0.33 liter bottle)

1.38 $

    1.00 $

    0.81 $

    1.00 $

Markets
Milk (regular), 1 liter

1.38 $

    1.21 $

    0.97 $

    1.13 $

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)

1.38 $

    1.33 $

    1.99 $

    1.38 $

Rice (1kg)

2.70 $

    2.50 $

    1.22 $

    0.61 $

Eggs (12)

3.00 $

    2.00 $

    1.46 $

    2.00 $

Local Cheese (1kg)

7.88 $

    6.00 $

    8.12 $

    6.77 $

Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)

10.00 $

    6.94 $

    4.87 $

    4.50 $

Apples (1kg)

4.00 $

    2.50 $

    1.37 $

    1.25 $

Oranges (1kg)

1.60 $

    1.00 $

    1.14 $

    1.30 $

Tomato (1kg)

1.18 $

    2.00 $

    2.60 $

    1.20 $

Potato (1kg)

1.00 $

    1.14 $

    1.14 $

    1.38 $

Lettuce (1 head)

0.80 $

    1.00 $

    0.49 $

    0.50 $

Water (1.5 liter bottle)

1.53 $

    1.00 $

    0.81 $

    1.17 $

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

13.41 $

    6.00 $

    6.90 $

    12.00 $

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

1.51 $

    0.66 $

    0.81 $

    1.00 $

Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)

2.00 $

    0.90 $

    1.10 $

    2.00 $

Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)

2.08 $

    4.26 $

    3.25 $

    2.98 $

Transportation
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)

0.50 $

    0.55 $

    0.49 $

    0.25 $

Monthly Pass (Regular Price)

37.50 $

    15.00 $

    68.00 $

    15.00 $

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)

1.10 $

    1.40 $

    1.20 $

    1.25 $

Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)

1.08 $

    0.70 $

    0.45 $

    1.50 $

Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)

10.00 $

    20.00 $

    9.00 $

    7.00 $

Gasoline (1 liter)

1.40 $

    1.05 $

    0.77 $

    0.39 $

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)

35,000.00 $

    15,000.00 $

    14,496.62 $

    21,500.00 $

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment

50.50 $

    200.00 $

    50.00 $

    30.00 $

1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)

0.08 $

    0.09 $

    ?

    0.10 $

Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

54.55 $

    35.00 $

    44.58 $

    42.00 $

Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult

57.00 $

    45.00 $

    31.85 $

    27.50 $

Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)

10.00 $

    4.00 $

    1.22 $

    2.50 $

Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat

5.00 $

    4.38 $

    4.59 $

    6.00 $

Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)

60.00 $

    50.00 $

    97.45 $

    50.50 $

1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)

70.00 $

    45.00 $

    60.06 $

    28.50 $

1 Pair of Nike Shoes

104.24 $

    60.00 $

    81.21 $

    110.00 $

1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes

100.00 $

    65.00 $

    162.42 $

    60.00 $

Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre

400.00 $

    800.00 $

    446.64 $

    400.00 $

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre

475.00 $

    475.00 $

    284.23 $

    300.00 $

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre

700.00 $

    2,250.00 $

    800.00 $

    650.00 $

Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre

1,000.00 $

    750.00 $

    649.66 $

    450.00 $

Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre

1,200.00 $

    1,800.00 $

    1,000.00 $

    807.29 $

Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre

1,100.00 $

    1,000.00 $

    1,500.00 $

    914.93 $

Salaries And Financing
Median Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax)

700.00 $

    800.00 $

    1,287.50 $

    297.00 $

Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentanges (%), Yearly

13.5

    5.50

    5.00

    6.00

Last update

May, 2013

May, 2013

April, 2013

May, 2013

Contributors (past 18 months)

56

54

34

25

Keep in mind again, that these are crowd-sourced and that they are estimations only.  But they give a good idea of what to expect and provide yet another piece of the puzzle of which country to choose. More on individual country’s costs of living coming soon.

You may also like our posts on Mexico’s Cost of Living and Costa Rica Trip Report.Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama.

Joanna-

About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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