We have to admit, Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Central as well as South America! But if you compare the cost of living with those in the US or Europe, you'll note that living here is for sure much cheaper. Having about USD 1'500 per month you can live easily and smoothly, with USD 2'500 already quite extravagant. And do not forget that Costa Rica offers a wide nature, lush landscapes, generative volcano soil and a stable economic system, factors that add much quality to your life!
The costs for health care are relatively low and this is also valid for most other insurances. On the other hand costs for vehicles and especially their insurance are quite high. But you can save money using the very cheap public transportation and taxis.
Monthly budget for two people (in USD):
Of course you need to think about the following: the more you adjust your life style and the consumer buying habit to the one existing in Costa Rica, the less you spend!
Locally produced goods are much cheaper than in Europe or the US, imported goods like cars, cameras, electronics or foreign food are expensive due to the high import taxes in Costa Rica. Also food and drinks in local restaurants are quite cheap compared to e.g. European standards. A complete meal will cost you around USD 3 for lunch and for USD 15 you'll get a dinner (drinks included) should you choose a good local diner!
The prices in Costa Rica have been risen quite strongly during the last years, but the housing costs are still lower than for example in Germany. The prices for houses did also rise in the last years, but they are clearly below the European level. A house with three bedrooms in an acceptable good address costs from USD 50'000 up to 100'000. In a much better zone you'll have to pay USD 150'000 to 300'000 and get a house with a nice garden. Also the rent is below European level! A flat with two bedrooms will cost about USD 300 to 400 a month, one in an exclusive region USD 500 to even 1'500! Nevertheless the additional costs are cheap, because in the Central Valley for instance you do not need any heating system or air condition.
Some example on daily goods (in USD):