Cost of Living

Written by Lisle Head

An individual’s monthly cost of living in Jaco Beach, like anywhere else, is dependent upon the lifestyle that one wishes to live. Many people live decently for $1000 or less per month (I myself did for quite some time). The average university educated monthly salary in Costa Rica is between $800 and $1200 per month. So, a huge portion of the population lives in this income bracket. If you have an income of between $2500.00 and $5000.00 per month, you can live a coveted lifestyle.

What we have learned over the years is that Jaco’s cost of living mainly comes down to a large swing in the costs of imported products, food, services, and insurance payments. Things like electronics, automobiles, processed foods and other imported goods tend to be a bit more costly than in The United States or Canada. However, services such as construction and mechanical labor, landscaping, legal representation, and maid and nanny service are generally much less expensive in Costa Rica. (My maid cleans my home in Jaco once a week for 4 hours and only charges me $14.)

Costa Rica has a national health plan which saves nationals and residents alike a lot of money for basic health care. On top of this, high quality private health coverage is very affordable, much more so than in the U.S. The quality and low cost of health care may make Costa Rica an attractive idea for retirement or for persons with any existing medical conditions that have pushed monthly medical insurance coverage beyond their expense budget. Jaco has an excellent private medical clinic right near the town’s center. There is also a public clinic available at the southern end of town.

Dental insurance does not exist yet in Costa Rica. But is usually between 1/3 and 1/2 the cost that one would pay in the U.S. Generally speaking, you can go into one of the many quality dental offices in Jaco and get a check-up and cavity filling for about $50 cash in hand. Auto and Property insurance is also extremely affordable.

Another thing to consider is Costa Rican tax rates. The sales tax here is 13%, a bit high. But Costa Rican property tax is very low. Only ¼ of 1%. This means that a beautiful, oceanfront condo in Jaco that has an appraised value of $200,000 only cost about $41 in taxes per month. Now that is huge savings!

Everyone is different. So, the financial benefits of living in Jaco, Costa Rica will vary slightly from person to person. Expect to pay a little more for time to time purchases such as televisions and cars. But pay sufficiently less for residual expenses like rent and property tax, medical care, insurance and services rendered. In short, many people who now live in Jaco Beach see a cost of living savings of between 30% – 50%!

Contact us now with any questions you may have about living costs in  Costa Rica!

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