Happy November Everyone! A while back, I promised you a direct cost of living comparison between Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. So, here is a comparison between St. Thomas and Puerto Rico (our area).
Keep in mind that the St. Thomas numbers were obtained from both Numbeo and our (short) experience on the island. While the eastern side of Puerto Rico prices are mostly based on our experience of living here for eleven months.
In addition, it’s worth noting that St. John prices seemed a lot higher than St. Thomas, so take that for what it’s worth. We also hear that St. Croix is the cheapest for cost of living of all the US Virgin Islands but, since we didn’t visit St. Croix, I won’t be speaking to that.
Anyway, here is my cost of living in US Virgin Islands vs Puerto Rico Comparison:
|East Side PR||St Thomas USVI|
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||7.00 $||16.50 $|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||40.00 $||65.00 $|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||6.25 $||6.75 $|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||2.00 $||3.00 $|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||4.00 $||4.00 $|
|Cappuccino (regular)||3.00 $||4.75 $|
|Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)||1.50 $||2.67 $|
|Water (0.33 liter bottle)||1.50 $||1.50 $|
|Milk (regular), (1 gallon)||6.13 $||7.79 $|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)||1.65 $||3.62 $|
|Rice (white), (1 lb)||0.97 $||0.75 $|
|Eggs (12)||2.38 $||4.64 $|
|Local Cheese (1 lb)||3.02 $||2.72 $|
|Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1 lb)||3.19 $||4.98 $|
|Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)||4.00 $||7.49 $|
|Apples (1 lb)||1.50 $||2.63 $|
|Banana (1 lb)||0.70 $||0.99 $|
|Oranges (1 lb)||1.50 $||4.13 $|
|Tomato (1 lb)||1.99 $||2.04 $|
|Potato (1 lb)||1.10 $||1.36 $|
|Onion (1 lb)||1.05 $||1.09 $|
|Lettuce (1 head)||3.00 $||2.33 $|
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||1.50 $||3.00 $|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||10.00 $||17.00 $|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||1.50 $||2.50 $|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||2.50 $||5.16 $|
|Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)||6.00 $||4.00 $|
|Gasoline (1 gallon)||2.40 $||3.99 $|
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment||250.00 $||400.00 $|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)||0.10 $||0.25 $|
|Internet (10 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||45.00$||70.67 $|
|Sports And Leisure|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||40.00$||62.50 $|
|Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat||6.00 $||7.50 $|
|Clothing And Shoes|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)||40.00 $||56.67 $|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store||35.00 $||30.00 $|
|1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)||90.00 $||89.99 $|
|1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes||80.00 $||75.00 $|
|Rent Per Month|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City||550.00 $||675.00 $|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of City||450.00 $||900.00 $|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City||1,200.00 $||2,033.00 $|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of City||725.00 $||2,150.00 $|
I highlighted in red the higher prices. So, there you have it. St. Thomas seems considerably more expensive, doesn’t it?
That’s especially true when it comes to real estate and utilities. While we were there, we looked around for inexpensive apartments to rent in St. Thomas but there really wasn’t much of a selection.
Also, we felt that going out to eat and groceries in general were very expensive in St. Thomas comparing to Puerto Rico. Our breakfast, each day, was between $30-$40 for two – to me that’s expensive!
In fact, the only prices similar to those in St. Thomas I have seen, anywhere, were in big US cities like Chicago.
To be completely fair, I do want to add that there are places here in Puerto Rico, in the tourist saturated areas, where you will pay $4.00 for a domestic beer, but that is the exception, not the rule. Any local bar around here, offers beer for much cheaper than that.
Where we came from (Michigan), real estate prices were higher than here on the east side of Puerto Rico but still cheaper than St. Thomas. However, food was probably a little cheaper in Michigan than even here on the island.
The main thing that Puerto Rico has going for it is the inexpensive real estate. It is very common to find a nice house to rent in town for around $600\mo, perhaps even cheaper. You can also buy a 1-bedroom condo, directly on the beach for $120,000 if you stay out of the bigger towns – heck in Luquillo I saw beach front 2-bedroom condos going for that price. Good luck finding that anywhere in the USVI – just sayin’...
Anyway, hope this helps you figure your finances regardless of where you end up living.