Ever thought “Well, if I save up, then maybe someday I can afford to live in Costa Rica?” Well, the surprising thing about living in Costa Rica is that you can still live there, even if you’re on a tight budget. At approximately $1,000 a month (or $1,400-1,700 a month, if you want to be more safe than sorry), you can still escape the rat race and enjoy the wonder and excitement that Costa Rica has to offer.
Fortunately as I discovered, it is definitely possible to visit this amazing country without breaking the bank. It won’t be cheap, but it also won’t be that expensive either. In this post I’ll show you everything you need to know to visit Costa Rica on a budget.
Obviously, a no-brainer, right? But of course, every once in a while, you may crave a cocktail or too in Costa Rica. Just keep in mind that a lot of the alcohol drinks, including beer, that are served in Costa Rican bars average up to 2,000 CRC (or $3.50 USD). Unless a bar is having happy hour (usually when they charge drinks 1,200 CRC), you may want to avoid wasting money on drinks.
Consider Bus Travel
Did you know that owning a car is expensive in Costa Rica? The reason cars are expensive here is because of high-priced import taxes on vehicles. If you own your own vehicle, you can choose to have it shipped to Costa Rica; but that can cost as much as $10,000 in taxes to do so.
But why rely on a car in Costa Rica, when you can take advantage of the other means of transportation that’s already provided here? Buses are a popular means of transportation in Costa Rica for a number of reasons. First, buses offer cheap fares, with only a dollar just to get to town. Second, you can expect a bus to show up at the bus stop almost every hour of the day in the capital and 2 to 3 times a day at most beach towns. Finally, you don’t have to worry about paying for car insurance, gas, or having your vehicle checked and maintained when you choose to ride the bus instead.
Spend Less On Food
Food is an important necessity for living, especially when you’re in Costa Rica. So when buying food, consider the following adjustments.
When dining out, try to do so moderately because upscale restaurants tend to charge more than $20 per meal; and there aren’t many fast food places in Costa Rica. However, small eateries (called “sodas”) offer great meals for less than $7 per order.
Now grocery shopping varies, depending on what you’re looking for. People tend to buy their meat and produce from street vendors including street fairs and farmers’ markets to get more for their dollar, rather than buying expensive brand names – especially foods from the U.S. – at supermarkets. Ultimately you may want to keep your grocery budget to about $50 per week, so that you can have more money for other things in life.
Find Cheap, Quality Entertainment
Feeling bored, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on entertainment? No problem!
There are lots of things to do in Costa Rica, such as hiking, visiting the beach, going to the little shops and markets. Going to the beach by bus with cost you less than $5 a ticket, since its an hour-long ride from the San Jose area. Natural parks in the Central Valley such as the Poás Volcano, Zoo Ave, and the La Paz Waterfalls to are also great places to visit, with entrance fees just ranging from $8 to $30. Still don’t want to spend a whole lot? Also, the museums offer amazing exhibits and the occasional free concerts.
You don’t have to believe that Costa Rica is too expensive for you to live in. As long as you keep your budget at $1,000 a month (or the recommended, safer budget of $1,500 a month), not only will you enjoy the country’s authentic atmosphere and adventure, but you can also save big on the costs of living.
Michael Dehoyos creates and edits content for PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits. As a content marketer, he helps companies apply effective marketing strategies. And, as a contributor to Research Paper Help and other numerous sites and publications, he writes about said strategies in marketing.