Our New House & Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Our new rental in rural San Luis, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Meet our new house in San Luis!  We’ve also included some information that we will continue to update about cost of living in Costa Rica.

After nearly 3 months of un-nesting, we are finally settling down into one spot for a while.  Planning to be somewhere for more than 2 weeks at a time feels good.  We’ve found a beautiful house in a quiet little neighborhood that has most everything we need within walking distance.  For those luxury items, such as blankets, a quick $0.45 bus trip will get us there.

Walking down our street to the market. About a 10 minute walk with the kids.  Click to see the rest of the market shopping album.


Meet the Blessing House

We’re renting from the wonderful Mora family.  They call our house the Blessing House because they want it to be a blessing for them and whoever stays here.  They have 4 houses on their gated family property in rural San Luis, Heredia, Costa Rica.  She is from the US, and he is from Costa Rica but speaks fluent English, so it makes our transition that much easier.  They have a couple of granddaughters living in the house behind ours who are the same ages as Zack and Austin, so we look forward to making good friends with them.

It’s funny how closely our new place resembles my daydreams from a couple of months back.  The banana trees, the sugar cane, the little butcher shop across the street from the bakery, the outdoor weekend markets, the cattle grazing in the field on our walk to the general store, waving to people we don’t know.  The only things that seem to be missing are the monkeys and toucans, which hopefully we’ll see soon enough.

Zack sucking on some sugar cane that’s growing along our fence.

We pass these oxen on our way to the market.  Click to see the rest of the market shopping album.


The house is a beautiful Spanish style home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, measuring about 1500 sq ft.  The stone floors, tall ceilings, and castle-style doors add a nice touch.  Our contract is for 6 months at $750 per month.  The house was completely renovated before we moved in, making this our first new home, complete with all those new home smells.  Here’s a video tour:


Costs of Living in Costa Rica, Updated November 11, 201

My plan is to regularly update this post with more cost-of-living information as we gain more experience living in Costa Rica.

Housing is certainly more affordable here.  Spending between $600 and $800 per month will get a nice rental.  The cost of a comparable house in California would be closer to the $2000 to $2500 mark.  Electricity and appliances, however, are more expensive.

  • Rent = $750 per month for 1500 sq ft on 1 acre, gardener included (YES!  No more yard word!)
  • Utilities = $70 per month
  • High Speed Internet = $20 per month, 1.5 Mb/s download, 0.5 Mb/s upload.
  • Cell Phone = Prepaid SIM card, $0.60 per day unlimited 3G data, $0.06 per minute for calls.  I end up spending about $20 per month for my cell phone, data, and texting.
  • Calls Home to the US = Free, so long as I have 3G or WiFi!  I use Google Voice and Talkatone.

Food prices are very similar here to what we experienced in California.  The one clear advantage is the fresh fruit.  The fruit quality is amazing, and the prices are a bit lower.  However, milk and cheese are more expensive.

  • Mangos = $2 per pound, delicious beyond belief
  • Pineapple = $2 for a big one, far better than anything we tasted in California
  • Avocado = $1 each, large size
  • Bananas = $0.50 per pound

This bundle cost us $24 at the local verduleria.  Click to view album.

  • Ice Cream, Blue Bunny Family size, 1 gal = $16!!!  Good for the diet.
  • Milk = $4.80 per gallon
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese =  $5.30 per pound
  • Chicken Breast = $4.5 per pound, very fresh though
  • Carne Asada = $4.5 per pound
  • Bread from Bakery = $1.25 per loaf
  • Creme filled Pastry = $1 each


Our first bakery run cost us $10. We ate most of the dulce de leche cake before I snapped the picture, and the tres leches cake is in fridge. We love our bakery!  Click to view album.


Transportation is a mixed bag.  Owning a car in Costa Rica is expensive as there is 100% tax on cars.  (a 2001 VW Jetta, like the one we just sold which blue books for $3000 in California sells for around $8500 here!)  Luckily, most everything we need is within walking distance, and the buses and taxis are pretty affordable.

  • Local Bus = around $0.50 per person to go into San Jose.
  • Greyhound-style Bus = We’ll be taking long distance buses to do our outings to the beaches and outlying areas.  Not sure yet on the cost for these.
  • Taxis = About $12 to get a ride home in a taxi from the PriceSmart (Costco) 6.5 miles away.  We figured owning our van cost us around $15 per day, whether we used it or not.

We have about a 10 minute walk to the market at Austin-pace.


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