Wednesday 23 June 2021

The Cost of Living in Costa Rica As An Expat or Nomad


TICOBULL – Where is the cheapest place to live and work remotely, best internet speed, temperature, air quality?

Many of us dream of the nomadic life, take off at a moment’s notice, make money wherever our feet are planted, in an urban metropolis or a sandy beach.

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But how do you go about figuring out about all the different places, their idiosyncracies, the cost of living, without too much effort and lots of hours scouring forums and social media websites? The Nomad List.

The Nomad List is a crowdsourced (obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet. list of cities around the world with invaluable information like the cost rent, a typical meal, air quality, safety, internet speed, weather and much more.

“With more people worldwide flocking to the cities, these cities are becoming more expensive. And if you combine that with more jobs going online and being able to be done remotely, it seems logical for people to find the place to live where they can have the best lives for the lowest cost,” says Pieter Levels, who is behind the creation of Nomad.

Besides all the great information, the list is also displayed with “tops” on down. Currently, Chiang Mai (Thailand) tops the Nomad List, where a basic meal will cost you only US$2 and a place to rent is around US$307.

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So, how does Costa Rica compare to other parts of the Latin America and the world.

Listed on Nomad is Puerto Viejo (no entry for San José or any other city in Costa Rica), where an Expat lifestyle (long-term cost of living e.g. rent, cooking yourself) cost is US$1.504 monthly (almost ¢804.000 colones at today’s exchange rate); a basic meal US$8 and rent for a 1 bedroom apt is US$565 monthly. The Nomad cost (short-term cost of living e.g. hotels, eating outdoor) is US$2.410 monthly.


In Panama City, the Expat life US$2.110. Rent, 1 bedroom apt in center Panama is US$1.500 monthly and a meal costs US$5. Interesting that the Expat life is higher than the Nomad of US1.732. In most other places, it costs more to be an Nomad than a Expat.

I now move down to Colombia for more comparisons.

In Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city and a favorite by many in Costa Rica to move from, the Expat living cost is only US$622, while the Nomad cost is US$914. A basic meal in Medellin costs US$3, and a 1 bedroom in the center of the city is US$300 monthly.

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In Cali, another favorite destination for Costa Rica expats, the Expat cost of living is only $434, while Nomads will spend US$613. A meal in Cali costs US$3 and a 1 bedroom on average US$220.

Moving north, to the US of A, an Expat way of life in Miami is US$1.685, while you will need US$3.151 to be a Nomad. In New York City, US$4.036 and US$6.916, respectively. A basic meal that costs US$7 in Miami, costs US$15 in New York City.

Further north, for those willing to live in the cold, the Expat cost of living in Toronto (Canada) is US$1.774, and Nomad US$2.471. Rent for a 1 bedroom is US$1.022 and a meal will cost CA$10.

Across the big pond, a place like Avellino (near Naples) Italy, one of the most perfect places to live if you can deal with Italians and “Napolitanos”, a special breed of Italians, the Expat life costs US$854, while Nomads will have to spend US$1.390. Rent in Avellino (1 brm apt) is US$432 and a real Italian meal costs US$5.

nomad-list51586For more places click here (or on map) and point your mouse to a location.


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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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