Cost Of Living For A Couple In Costa Rica

While traveling the world we thought it would be a great idea to give our subscribers exact numbers of how much it costs to live in these countries for one month.  Recently we stayed in Costa Rica,  so here you go, this is the cost of living for a couple in Costa Rica. We are going to show you how much we spent, what we spent it on, and what we plan to do differently at our future destinations.

Our goal is to live the culture and experience every place as a local would. We try to find the most economical way to live in these countries but also have a great time experiencing everything that the country has to offer.

Affiliate Disclosure:  2 Traveling Lovers contains affiliate links. If you make purchases through these links, we earn a commission a no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing cost of keeping site active, along with enabling us to bring you more quality information regarding travel. Thank you for supporting our blog. 

We mostly stay in Airbnb’s. The only exception would be at the beginning or end of each month. We often stay a night or two in the city we are flying in or out of. The reason we don’t use Airbnb’s for one or two night stays is that the service and cleaning fee often add up to more than an inexpensive hotel.

If you’re looking for a week’s vacation and more of a resort/hotel experience, please contact us directly at joel@2travelinglovers.com we always find great resorts in our travels. We specifically try to find a resort in each country for our Honeymoon series in our blog. Click here for our choice in Costa Rica.

Where Did We Stay?

In March 2019 we spent 4 weeks in Costa Rica, traveling to La Fortuna in the north, Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula, Quepos/Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast, and the Caribbean side, we stayed in the little town of Cahuita just north of Puerto Viejo.

Accommodations – $924 for the month

We stayed exclusively in Airbnb’s in Costa Rica, dividing our time between 4 areas of the country. This was the first time we didn’t have a month-long rental at one location so it was a much different experience and we learned a lot. Firstly, because of this, we were not able to receive the larger longterm discounts that many Airbnb hosts offer when you stay for a month. This meant some sacrifices in the way of amenities to stay below our monthly accommodations budget of $1,000.

Our most significant issues turned out to be the lack of amenities at our Airbnb’s, along with the slow internet pretty much throughout the country. A couple of the accommodations did not have air conditioning which made for an uncomfortable stay because Costa Rica is hot and humid, think 90 degrees with 75% humidity.

Secondly, the internet was really slow in all areas of Costa Rica, which made it difficult to upload videos and posts. This meant we were hunting for coffee shops with better internet connections and a few times having to pay as much as $10 each per day to use their high-speed internet. Also, the kitchens were not as conducent to cooking meals as our prior Airbnb’s which meant for going out to eat more, which equated to more costs.

So what did we learn??

The accommodation budget needs to increase to be able to work at home in a productive environment. Also, be sure to verify the listed amenities with the Airbnb host before staying at their place. Unfortunately, accommodations can be embellished by the Airbnb host, and if they don’t have a lot of reviews, it’s hard to tell. We found its best to look for Airbnb’s that have recent reviews along with many reviews. Looking for these items plus messaging the host to verify amenities helps to assure you will have a better stay, but still won’t guarantee a perfect stay.

I did ask if they have a reliable internet connection before each visit; however, I have learned what I consider strong and reliable may not be what they feel is strong and reliable in their country, so it’s better to ask the speed of the internet connection.

If you are interested in checking out Airbnb prices, click here. You will receive a $40 travel credit after your first booking. If you are interested in checking hotel prices in Costa Rica, click here.

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” -Roy M. Goodman

 What would we do differently regarding accommodations?

As I stated earlier, our budget in Costa Rica needs to be adjusted due to moving around to four different locations thereby losing the substantial monthly discount offered by many Airbnb hosts. Also, taking into consideration accommodations with similar amenities in the countries we had visited prior are more expensive in Costa Rica, so the budget needs to be increased in order to retain those amenities.

La Fortuna – $263
La Fortuna was the first town we stayed upon arriving in Costa Rica, and this was our favorite Airbnb stay in Costa Rica. We loved La Fortuna because there is so much to see and to do. The restaurant and food costs in La Fortuna were the most reasonable in the country, and you can drink the tap water which was a significant saving because water is costly here.

I will admit I didn’t drink the tap water as Joel did, I put it through a filter. We bought a Sawyer mini water filter for traveling and it works great. It’s cheap, compact, and easy to use. You can check it out here if you’re interested. It’s probably a good thing to have at home in case of an earthquake. It even cleans dirty lake water.

** Christie TIP: Run the water through 5 times or so, I thought the first few bottles tasted like chlorine, but after you run it through a few times it tastes excellent.

Montezuma – $273
Montezuma is a fun, laid back, bohemian beach town on the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula. Montezuma is a great town, and it’s a great place to escape life, lay by the beach, do some yoga, and hang out with the locals while drinking a pina colada. Sound relaxing? It was hot though, so make sure your place has air conditioning. I don’t mind being hot during the day while I’m out exploring but to sleep not so much fun.

Evenings get hopping in Montezuma, but if you are looking for a busier town in this area, I suggest you check out Santa Teresa on the western tip of the Nicoya peninsula. You will find more hotels, restaurants and busier beaches in that town. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Both of these towns are a short 45-minute bus ride from each other, so day trips are easy. If surfing is your thing choose Santa Teresa.

Quepos – $198
I will be honest; Quepos was our least favorite town in Costa Rica. After staying there, I wish I would’ve chosen a place by the main street next to the beach in Manuel Antonio to stay. It costs a little more, but it’s worth it to be right next to the beach, within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park, more restaurant choices and more action. Quepos is hot, and we were not in walking distance of the ocean, so there was no way to cool off other than to jump into a cold shower. We had air conditioning in one room of this place, so it was a bit limiting.

Cahuita – $190
Cahuita is a small village on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, just 20 north of the larger town of Puerto Viejo. Cahuita is home to Cahuita National Park, the white sand beach of Playa Blanca, and the black sand beach of Playa Negra. We stayed in a rustic one bedroom cabin with no air conditioning, limited internet, and a scantily clad kitchen. It felt like a little cabin in the mountains, except it was 85 degrees and the humidity was 75%. It was after this stay we decided our accommodation budget needed some tweaking or Joel and I would wind up strangling each other. lol

Consensus
Expect to spend $1000 – $1,500 per month on minimal to modest accommodations. Many places on Airbnb have better deals when you book monthly.

** Christie TIP: If you are traveling with your significant other certain “comforts” are essential to a happy home. Can you tell this was a “trying” month?



Booking.com

Transportation

Transportation – $475
Our transportation total includes Uber, taxis, buses, cabs, shuttle, and a moped with the cost gas.

Taxi ride from San Jose airport to our hotel for the night: $27 (see below for TIP)
Bus to La Fortuna: $8
Moped rental + gas in La Fortuna: $214
Travel Day from La Fortuna to Montezuma included buses/ferry/taxi: $35
Travel Day from Montezuma to Quepos bus/ferry: $60
Taxi/Ubers/Buses while in Quepos: $15
Bus from Quepos to Cahuita: $41
Buses while in Cahuita: $15
Travel from Cahuita to cross the border into Panama: shuttle/bus/taxi: $60
These totals are for both of us.

Ubers are limited in Costa Rica, and every time we took one the driver seemed to want us to keep it on the “down-low.” Meaning he wouldn’t drop us off or pick us up right in front of the bus station because the cab drivers would get angry. 

** Christie TIP:  Uber will drop you off at the San Jose airport.  They are not allowed to pick you up at the airport at arrivals; however, they will pick you up in departures at San Jose airport (SJO). 

Transportation between towns

Buses are hit and miss. Our 9 hour trip from La Fortuna to Montezuma included a bus to San Ramon, walk to another bus stop, take a bus to Puntarenas, then a cab to the ferry, then a ferry ride to Paqueras, then a bus ride to Montezuma, then a cab to our Airbnb (because we have too much luggage to walk). If you are a reasonable person with a carryon and maybe a backpack you could probably walk this last leg because it’s a small town. Another learning experience for me is to TAKE LESS STUFF! lol

This travel day was a long and hot day because none of the buses on this route had air conditioning, so it felt we were riding in a sweatbox all day. I was pouring water bottles on my head on the bus to cool off.

When we left Montezuma to Quepos, and for the rest of the month, all the buses were comfortable, and they had air conditioning. Thank God. We always felt safe on the public buses, and most were comfortable with air conditioning.

Excursions – $325

For two people, excursions are going to cost in between $40-$100 if you use a tour company. With a little research and having a moped during the first part of our trip, we significantly diminished that cost in La Fortuna. There are many things to see right in the La Fortuna area which are not in walking distance. The cab drivers and the tour companies can be pricey, even for a 15 min cab ride, it will cost you $20 each way. We rented a moped in La Fortuna because many of the excursions are within a 30-minute ride and we wanted the flexibility of being on our schedule.

We took buses, cabs, shuttles and uber for the rest of our time in Costa Rica because the roads are busier (especially on the Pacific side) and we felt it was too dangerous to rent a moped in Montezuma or Quepos especially.

We visited many National Parks, natural hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, thermal springs, Jaguar rescue center, volcano, hiking trails, waterfalls, and many beaches while in Costa Rica. We like to experience many of these places on own; however, there are times when it’s better to go with a guide who has a “trained eye” who can show you the animals you might otherwise miss. We have many posts from our excursions in Costa Rica, and we will have more within the next month. Here

are a few we currently have ready.

10 Things To Know Before Visiting Montezuma  

Best La Fortuna Restaurants In Costa Rica

Best Resort In Montezuma

Things To Do In La Fortuna

Restaurants – $852

We went to Costa Rica with the impression food is very expensive, and we found this to be true throughout the country, except for La Fortuna. Joel fell in love with the inexpensive Soda’s (our version of a neighborhood diner, but better) in La Fortuna. We wrote a whole blog post talking about the food in La Fortuna naming the best places to eat. I guess you could say La Fortuna spoiled us in regards to the cost and quality of the food because you could find good quality food for reasonable prices.

Where we ran into problems was the rest of Costa Rica. First off our accommodations in the last three locations lacked essential kitchen amenities which made it more challenging to cook our meals. None of Airbnb’s had a toaster, no coffee maker, no oven, and they had the small size refrigerator you would have in a dorm room. Because of these factors, our restaurant spending was much higher. Also, the cost for dinner for 2 with one drink each was $30, and that’s if we split the meal.

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

Groceries & Shopping

Groceries – $475

Because we are staying in all of these countries for an extended period, we usually do a lot of grocery shopping, and we try to cook many meals at home. However, as I stated earlier, we ran into a few issues in Costa Rica. Except for La Fortuna, the prices were the highest in Costa Rica as compared to the other countries we have stayed so far (the Dominican Republic & the Yucatan peninsula). We found prices are considerably higher, there was a lack of selection, and most definitely fewer fruits and vegetables available in the local stores.

We found due to the lack of a stocked kitchen for which to make meals, along with the higher grocery prices and lack of quality fruits and veggies we did not cook as much as we would have liked and this was reflected in the final spending budget.

Generally speaking, the groceries were more expensive than where we are from in Southern California, and the quality was inferior. On a $70 grocery trip in the US, it might be $100 in Costa Rica. Alcohol was a lot more expensive in Costa Rica than at home. For instance, a 12-pack of their local beer called Imperial cost $18.40 and this was the cheapest option. The cheapest bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was $10, and it wasn’t very good.

We bought our Sawyer mini water filter before this trip because we knew water was going to be expensive, so luckily we didn’t have to buy much water.

Shopping and Incidentals – $300

We made a few business purchases this month, and Joel got “Montezuma’s revenge” so that meant a few trips to the pharmacy. Costa Rica has been the most trying for both of our stomach’s, and poor Joel had the full-blown sickness the day before an all-day bus adventure. This may be more information than you want to know so I will leave it at that.

Misc. Monthly Costs – $250

We have our cell phone bill which includes international calling. We go through T-Mobile, and our bill is around $100 a month. We have the global calling plan with T-Mobile; however, we found out that’s only for parttime travelers, not people who plan on being out of United States for longer than 60 days at a time without returning, so we will most likely be purchasing Sim cards in each country. We will keep you updated as to how that works for us.

We pay $100 per month for a storage unit in Phoenix to keep our stuff.

TOTAL COST FOR 4 WEEKS IN COSTA RICA WAS $3,601.  

More 2 Traveling Lovers Article & Video links from Costa Rica:

We spent a month traveling throughout Costa Rica.  If you’re interested in visiting the area, we hope you will find our articles and videos helpful.  All of our posts have a video included, and we have more videos on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel too so you won’t miss a video. Subscribe here.  

Below are a few articles and videos from our stay in Costa Rica:

Top Costa Rica Budget Vacation Tips

10 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Montezuma Costa Rica 

Best La Fortuna Restaurants In Costa Rica

Honeymoon/Couples Getaway Resort In Costa Rica   

Cost Of Living For a Couple Living in The Dominican Republic

8 Best Things To Do In La Fortuna Costa Rica

2 Traveling Lovers Videos ONLY on YouTube

Best FREE Excursions – La Fortuna

La Fortuna Waterfall

 Top Things To Do In La Fortuna

A Day In Montezuma

Costa Rica Transportation

Jaguar Rescue Center In Puerto Viejo

Accommodations

These are areas in Costa Rice we have traveled to and we recommend staying in these areas based upon our personal experience.  Click on the town to be referred to the booking.com link to each city.

La Fortuna   

Montezuma

Manuel Antonio

Quepos/Puerto Viejo

VIEW ALL OF OUR IMAGES FROM THIS TRIP

Closing Words

We learned a lot during our time in Costa Rica, and we hope to go back again one day to see the areas we didn’t have time to visit.  We hope you enjoyed our post on the “Cost of Living For A Couple In Costa Rica”.

Travel Resources

If you are interested in checking hotel prices we have found booking.com to have the most competitive prices.  Click here to check out hotels.  

All of our video footage is taken with GoPro HERO7.  It’s a waterproof digital action camera for travel with a touchscreen.  We use this camera daily, and we love it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.

The drone we use is the DJ Spark with Remote Control Combo.  We like this drone because it’s compact, it’s effortless to take on trips, it’s easy to fly, and it shoots 1080p.  All of our drone footage on our blog posts and youtube videos are taken with this drone. We highly recommend it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.             

Another item we use daily is our Primocean Backpack with an insulated cooler bag.  We use this as Christie’s carryon bag on the plane and as our cooler at our final destination.  We used to use a different backpack and we switched to this one because it’s better made of durable material with quality zippers.  We love this backpack!! The cooler section is smaller; however, all the compartments and the quality of the backpack make it a much better choice for basically the same cost.  We wish we would have thought of this item a long time ago. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link: Click Here.  

Our Mission

Our goal while traveling the world is to help couples find the best cultural experiences in every country while keeping costs very reasonable. We have become experts in planning travel and not breaking the bank!!

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We also have an Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube Channel all at @2travelinglovers.                                      

Affiliate Disclosure:

2 Traveling Lovers contains affiliate links. If you make purchases through these links, we will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing cost of keeping this site active, along with enabling us to bring you more quality information regarding travel. Thank you for supporting our blog.

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