How Much Are Meals, Drinks, Transportation in Costa Rica?

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How Much Are Meals, Drinks, Transportation in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is one of the most affluent and well-educated countries in all of Central America. The country is widely varied in biodiversity, landscape, climate, and cost of living – which is quite apparent in the pricing of utilities, food, rent, and real estate throughout its provinces.


Rent in Costa Rica differs depending on the region. In Central Valley, a modest two-bedroom house without air conditioning can cost about $300-$500. Rents are doubled in Guanacaste. Great real estate bargains are also available. You can pick up a single-bedroom condo near the Pacific Ocean for under $100,000.


Utilities differ from one place to another. However, rates are quite consistent. Electricity costs about $.17 cents per kilowatt-hour and water is available at about $.007 cents per gallon. Just like in other countries, excessive use of electricity can result in drastically increased monthly bills.

Food and Dining

Unlike U.S., eating fresh organic vegetables and fruits is actually cheaper in Costa Rica as opposed to eating junk food. 2 kilos of ripe tomatoes are priced as little as $2 at the grocery store while lunch at an American fast food restaurant costs about $8-$10. Chicken and meat prices are similar to those in the United States and fish is available at about $4-$5 per pound.

Dining out at an average restaurant costs about $7-$12, Fine-dining establishments set the sky as the limit, similar to United States. Prices are incredible at Tico-style restaurants. Salad, meat, beans, and a Casado dish of rice costs about $4-$6. Anything that originates in Costa Rica (food particularly) will be much cheaper. However, imported items will be more because of the high import duties of Costa Rica.


Public healthcare is cheap in Costa Rica. Prices start at about $20 per month. Private plans on the other hand, are relatively expensive at about $50-$100 per month depending on medical history, age, and general health. At a private clinic, an appointment with a doctor costs about $75 and most of the procedures, exams, and prescriptions cost a fraction of what they generally do in the U.S.


The public bus system in Costa Rica is the most reliable and affordable mode of transportation. Within the city, local busses charge about $.50 cents to any travel destination. A 5-hour one-way trip can cost about $8. Busses are generally on time and in good working order.

When it comes to taxis, tariffs from one place to another generally do not exceed over $2 within an average-sized city, like Liberia. Cars are costly to import to this country. Taxes alone can be almost the same value of the vehicle itself.

Boat prices also vary depending on the area. An hour-long trip from Witch’s Rock to Playa del Coco and back costs about $60 per person. One-way flights can be purchased for $100-$150.


Most of the entertainment activities here are either free or extremely inexpensive. Going hiking doesn’t cost anything. The extensive national park system of the country provides untouched rainforest and thousands of acres of trails teeming with plant and wildlife, miles of rugged mountain biking paths, animal watching, bird watching, and more. All the immaculate shores of Costa Rica are accessible to everyone. You can surf the waves completely free of charge. If you don’t own a board, you can easily rent it. Rental rates are between $10 and $20 per day.

Guided tours, everything from scuba diving to ATV and canopy tours are available. The tour prices range from $30-$100. Indoor activities are also reasonably priced. An adult movie ticket costs about $6 per person. Once a week, theaters feature a “buy one get one” day.

When it comes to nightlife, most clubs and bars along the coast have nonexistent or negligible cover charges. The cost to get in an establishment ranges from $5 to $20. In a local bar soda or domestic beers cost about $1.50. In touristy beachside locations, it costs about $2-$3. Ladies’ nights are also offered by many establishments on Wednesdays or Thursdays, when ladies can drink on the house until midnight – a great way to experience the incredible dancing culture of Costa Rica.

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