The cost of living in Costa Rica is definitely higher than many of the other countries that expats tend to consider for retirement.
Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and any of the other options are all less expensive.
Part of the reason that Costa Rica costs more is that its government imposes a hefty import tax and duties on nearly all imported goods. These duties raise prices significantly – on average between 50 to 100 percent. As a result, houses are more expensive, labor costs are higher, and in fact just about everything is more expensive.
So why even consider Costa Rica?
From a purely subjective standpoint, if cheap is your only priority, go somewhere else. If you want the best, consider this: Costa Rica has the longest standing democracy in all of Latin America. It’s stable.
What is your peace of mind worth? Do you really want to live in a country whose President’s best friend is Hugo Chavez or whose leader used to be a Sandinista and has been accused of murder and genocide many times?
Stability is important when you plan on living in that country the rest of your life.
Costa Rica’s dedication to the environment is also a big draw – and undeniably a part of its expense. Nearly one-third of the land is set aside as national parks and reserves. There is no oil or mineral drilling and no deforestation. The country is also dedicated to hydroelectric power instead of dirtier alternatives.
Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in all of Latin America and one of the lowest infant mortality rates. One of the provinces is considered a “blue zone,” where inhabitants routinely live over 100 years of age.
A comprehensive health care system that ranks among the best in the world adds an additional layer of security and well-being to the population.
Not only are natural citizens eligible for health care, the country provides medical care to the people who flock here from surrounding countries looking for work – even when they cannot afford to pay for the services.
What’s more, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet – and one of the most diverse. Every turn in the bend is another postcard and another “Kodak moment.”
Does this help?
It costs a little more to live in Costa Rica, and it is not for everyone. For us, though, it’s definitely worth it which is why I chose to buy real estate in Costa Rica.