The secret is out. Costa Rica was recently named the best place to retire for 2018 by International Living. Now with more people looking at moving to Costa Rica, here are some things you need to be aware of before you come over. The cost of living is not as cheap as you think, especially as it relates to food.
If you move here thinking you can replicate the same diet you had in the States, you will be in for a rude awakening. We experienced this firsthand the one and only time we bought a large cheese pizza from Papa John’s. Yup, our small town has a Papa John’s pizzeria. I’ll be honest, when I lived in Texas, I never ate there because I didn’t like their pizza. However, when you live abroad, sometimes you fall victim to familiar things that remind you of your old life. A large cheese pizza regularly runs $7.99 in the States. For that same pizza, we paid $39 USD here in Costa Rica. This was another case in point that if you want to live here comfortably, you must live like the locals.
Living “Pura Vida” like the locals not only is the healthier option, but the cheapest. We have been shopping every Friday at the local Farmer’s Market (Féria) where we buy all of our fruits. We have been spending $22 on average each week for (3) pineapples, (20) bananas, (2) papayas, (4) mangos, and (2) cantaloupes. The produce is the freshest we have ever experienced. In fact, it is typically harvested that morning before the market opens.
Regarding vegetables, we have hit the mother-load living here. We now buy 90% of our vegetables, organic which we get directly from the farms through our guy at Ruta Sana health food store. (Yes, we got a guy). The first time we ordered we went a little over board because we were new to the metric system. (aside, we didn’t know any drug dealers who could educate us on kilograms). We ordered 4kg of spinach, 3kg of eggplant, 2kg of carrots…the list went on. We spent a total of $67 USD for a large box of produce. Needless to say, we learned our lesson in metric conversion. We are still eating eggplant from our purchase over a month ago. Now we are spending on average $15 each week for organic vegetables.
We can now say with certainty that after (2) months of living here, our spending on food has gone from $400 a week to less than $40 a week.(aside $400 was what we paid in the States at Whole Foods) And we are enjoying a healthier, tastier, and better selection of produce.