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Excerpted from the Costa Rica Country Guide

Cost of Living

In the last decade, the cost of living in Costa Rica has increased substantially, mainly due to high inflation levels. According to the last official report of the Estado de la Nación (State of the Nation), Costa Rican has the second-highest accumulated inflation rate in the region over the last years (62 percent) and its cost of living has been proved to be 20 percent more expensive than the Latin American average.


It is not difficult to find housing in Costa Rica, although one needs to move quickly. There is a high turnover, but rentals remain on the market for only one or two days.


Buses are the most popular mode of transportation in Costa Rica despite not being the fastest way to travel. Costa Rican buses are quite inexpensive.  However, schedules may be unreliable; it is best to check with locals to determine the actual schedule for a bus.

Medical Care/Health Insurance

Medical care in Costa Rica is covered under the social insurance system and is funded by government, employee and employer contributions. The CAJA, the Costa Rican Social Insurance Fund (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social ) (website available in Spanish only) manages the program and network of hospitals and clinics.

Work Schedules and Holidays

In most Costa Rican offices, from Monday to Friday, the workday starts at 8 am and it finishes at 5 pm, with a half-hour lunch break generally at noon. National banks are open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, while private backs stay open for an extra hour, usually closing at 6 pm.


Both residents and non-residents are taxed on Costa Rica-sourced income only (Impuesto de renta). Residents must pay a profit tax.

Social Security and Pension

The social security system includes workers’ coverage (including the self-employed), worker’s protection, pensions, old age, disability and survivor coverage. There are two social security systems: social insurance and individual account.

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