Cost of living and prices in San José, prices of food, rent, shopping, etc. 🇨🇷
Updated Jul 2023

Discover the cost of living in San José, Costa Rica, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of Central America. With a population of over 288,000 people, San José is the cultural, economic, and political center of the country.

Located at an elevation of 1161 meters above sea level, San José boasts a year-round temperate climate and stunning natural beauty. Residents here enjoy a diverse range of cultural activities, a thriving culinary scene, and easy access to some of the world's best beaches and outdoor recreation.

Whether you're considering a move to San José or just interested in learning more about life here, our comprehensive guide to the cost of living will give you all the information you need to make informed decisions about your financial future. From housing and transportation to food and entertainment, we've got you covered.

Cost of Living Estimate in San José

Total cost of living in San José for two person with average consumption for one month will be 996.86 USD, no rent price included. Click here to calculate cost-of-living estimate in San José

You can calculate cost of living in San José by changing quantity using input near each good or service. Resulting total will appear in a floating box in the bottom of your screen.

Restaurants prices

If you're looking for traditional Costa Rican cuisine, head to Soda Tapia. This modest diner-style restaurant serves up hearty portions of gallo pinto (rice and beans), plantains, and grilled meats among other local dishes. Don't miss their refreshing natural fruit drinks, made with exotic fruits like guanábana and cas (sour guava). Another popular option among locals is Mercado Central. This bustling indoor market is a great place to try different food stalls serving up everything from ceviche to olla de carne (vegetable and beef stew). You can also do some souvenir shopping while you're there, with stalls selling everything from handicrafts to leather goods.

For those looking for international cuisine, San José has plenty of options to choose from. La Candelaria serves up gourmet fusion cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. Their menu includes dishes like coffee-rubbed steak and chocolate mole chicken. If you're in the mood for sushi, head to Matsuri. This sleek and modern restaurant offers a wide range of sushi rolls, including some unique Costa Rican-inspired options. And for a taste of the Middle East, check out Falafel Bar. Their menu includes falafel sandwiches, shawarma plates, and other Middle Eastern staples.

Meal in Inexpensive Restaurant
6.57 $
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course
41.03 $
McMeal at McDonalds or Alternative Combo Meal
7.39 $
Domestic Beer, 0.5 liter Draught
2.46 $
Imported Beer, 0.33 liter Bottle
4.10 $
2.56 $
Coca-Cola, 0.33 liter Bottle
1.53 $

Markets prices

San José, Costa Rica is not known for being a cheap city when it comes to market prices. A key factor is that many goods and services are imported, which can increase the cost. Additionally, the country's high tourism industry demands further drive up prices. However, there are also plenty of local products and street vendors that offer more affordable options for those looking to save some money while enjoying their time in the city.

The market prices in San José can also vary widely depending on the specific neighborhood or area. More upscale areas and tourist-centric hotspots tend to have higher prices, while more residential or "off the beaten path" neighborhoods may have more affordable options. It's also worth noting that bargaining is not uncommon in the local markets, so visitors may have some room to negotiate prices with vendors. Overall, while San José may not be the most budget-friendly destination, there are ways to stretch your dollar if you know where to look.

Water, 0.33 liter Bottle
1.31 $
Milk, Regular,1 liter
1.37 $
Loaf of Fresh White Bread, 0.5 kg
1.44 $
White Rice, 1 kg
1.19 $
Eggs, 12 pack
2.31 $
Local Cheese, 1 kg
6.20 $
Chicken Breasts, Boneless and Skinless, 1 kg
6.40 $
Beef Round or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat, 1 kg
9.13 $
Apples, 1 kg
4.12 $
Banana, 1 kg
1.31 $
Oranges, 1 kg
2.02 $
Tomato, 1 kg
2.17 $
Potato, 1 kg
2.09 $
Onion, 1 kg
2.31 $
Lettuce, 1 head
0.88 $
Water, 1.5 liter Bottle
2.19 $
Bottle of Wine, Mid-Range Price
12.31 $
Domestic Beer, 0.5 liter Bottle
2.07 $
Imported Beer, 0.33 liter Bottle
3.23 $
Pack of Cigarettes
3.98 $

Transportation prices

San José, Costa Rica offers a variety of transportation options for visitors to explore its vibrant culture and natural beauty. One popular mode of transportation is the bus system, which is both affordable and extensive. The buses can take you to various destinations within the city as well as to neighboring towns and popular attractions such as national parks and volcanoes. Another option is to hire a private driver, which provides a more luxurious and personalized experience. This way, visitors can create their own itinerary and have the flexibility to explore at their own pace.

In addition to buses and private drivers, another unique transportation option in San José is the train. The train network connects San José to various locations throughout the country and offers breathtaking views of the countryside and abundant wildlife. The train ride from San José to the town of Cartago is one of the most popular routes, where visitors can see the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels and explore the historic town. Regardless of the transportation option chosen, visitors are sure to have a memorable and exciting time discovering all that San José has to offer.

One-way Ticket, Local Transport
0.81 $
Monthly Pass, Regular Price
36.93 $
Taxi Start, Normal Tariff
1.10 $
Taxi, price for 1 km, Normal Tariff
1.15 $
Taxi, price for 1 hour Waiting, Normal Tariff
6.20 $
Gasoline, 1 liter
1.03 $
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)
22,979.30 $

Utilities Per Month prices

When traveling to San José, Costa Rica, it's important to keep in mind the expenses of utilities. While accommodation and food might be affordable, utilities such as water, electricity, and gas can add up quickly. The cost of utilities in San José can vary depending on the location and type of accommodation. For example, a luxurious hotel might have higher utility costs than a budget hostel.

One way to reduce your utility expenses in San José is by being mindful of your energy consumption. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use, taking shorter showers, and keeping the thermostat at a moderate temperature can all make a significant difference in your bill. Additionally, consider staying in an accommodation that includes utilities in the price, as this can simplify budgeting and help avoid unexpected costs. With a little planning and mindfulness, you can enjoy your time in San José without breaking the bank on utilities.

Basic utilities for 85m2 Apartment including Electricity, Heating or Cooling, Water and Garbage
59.12 $
Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local, price per 1 min, No Discounts or Plans
0.07 $
Internet, 60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL
58.09 $

Sports And Leisure prices

San José, Costa Rica is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with its abundance of sports and leisure activities to choose from. Whether you're looking to hike through the lush tropical rainforests, surf the world-famous waves of the Pacific coast, or explore the city's historic architectural gems, San José has something for everyone. The city is home to a wide variety of parks, gardens, and public spaces perfect for a leisurely picnic or a game of soccer with the locals. For those seeking a bit more adrenaline, there are plenty of extreme sports options available, including zip lining, rafting, and bungee jumping.

Additionally, San José is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, where travelers can dance the night away to live music, enjoy a craft cocktail, or catch a soccer game at one of the city's many bars and clubs. For a more laid-back experience, there are plenty of art galleries, museums, and theaters to visit, showcasing the city's rich cultural heritage. Foodies will delight in the diverse culinary scene, with a range of traditional and international cuisines to try. With so much to see and do, San José is a dynamic destination that promises an unforgettable travel experience.

Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult
56.07 $
Tennis Court Rent, 1 Hour on Weekend
25.03 $

Salaries And Financing prices

For those considering a move to San José, it's important to understand the city's salaries and financing. The cost of living in San José is relatively high compared to other areas in Costa Rica, but salaries can reflect this. The average salary in San José is higher than the rest of the country, and there are many job opportunities available in industries ranging from tourism to technology. It's also worth considering the financing options available in San José, with banks and lenders offering a range of services to help locals and expats alike manage their finances. From personal loans to mortgages, there are plenty of options to choose from.

When it comes to financing in San José, one thing to keep in mind is that the city is home to a thriving startup community, which can provide opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new venture. With plenty of funding options available, including government grants and venture capital firms, San José is a great place to start a business. Additionally, expats who are looking to purchase property in San José can take advantage of favorable mortgage rates and a range of financing options. Overall, San José offers a range of financing options and services that can help make life in the city more affordable and accessible for both locals and visitors.

Cinema ticket, 1 Seat
6.57 $
Average Monthly Net Salary, After Tax
935.59 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages for 20 Years Fixed-Rate, Yearly, Fixed-Rate
8.62 %

Childcare prices

Childcare prices in San José, Costa Rica vary depending on the type of facility you choose. Schools and kindergartens tend to be the more expensive options, but they also provide a more educational experience for your child. These facilities often have trained professionals who specialize in child development, and they may offer activities such as music, art, and sports in addition to traditional academic subjects.

If you're looking for a more affordable option, there are also many daycare centers and in-home providers available throughout the city. These options may not offer the same level of education and enrichment, but they can provide a safe and nurturing environment for your child while you work. It's important to do your research and find a facility that meets both your child's needs and your budget.

Private Preschool or Kindergarten, Monthly for 1 Child
352.91 $
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child
6,059.76 $

Clothing And Shoes prices

San José, Costa Rica offers a wide range of options for clothing and shoe shopping. From high-end boutiques to local markets, there is something for every style and budget. Some popular shopping destinations for clothing and shoes include multi-level malls, outdoor markets, and specialty stores. Visitors can find everything from designer labels to handmade crafts.

The prices of clothing and shoes in San José vary depending on the store and location. Shopping in local markets and small stores can often lead to great deals on unique items. However, larger and more upscale stores will generally have higher prices. It's important to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase. Overall, San José offers a diverse shopping experience for those in search of the latest trends or a unique addition to their wardrobe.

Pair of Jeans in a Chain Store Like George, H&M, Zara, etc.
64.28 $
Summer Dress in a Chain Store Like George, H&M, Zara, etc.
44.84 $
Pair of Running Shoes, Mid-Range Price
89.02 $
Pair of Leather Business Shoes
85.21 $

Rent Per Month prices

Short-term rental options in San José, Costa Rica are plentiful and diverse. Visitors can choose from everything from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious apartments, depending on their budget and needs. Generally speaking, prices tend to be fairly reasonable, especially compared to more expensive destinations in the United States or Europe. Nonetheless, luxury accommodations can still be quite pricey, especially if you're looking for top-notch amenities and services. Regardless of your preferences, there are plenty of great options in San José for anyone looking to stay for a shorter period.

As for stay options in San José, you'll find an impressive range of choices. Visitors can choose from everything from affordable shared rooms to private suites and upscale villas. While some of the more budget options may offer just the basics, like a bed and a shared bathroom, others may come with a range of amenities and added perks, like access to a pool or gym. If you're looking for something a bit more upscale, you'll find plenty of options in San José that cater to more refined tastes. From boutique hotels to opulent villas, the city boasts an impressive array of high-end options that are sure to impress even the most discerning traveler.

One bedroom apartment in city centre
580.71 $
One bedroom apartment outside of city centre
392.12 $
Three bedroom apartment in city centre
922.61 $
Three bedroom apartment outside of city centre
690.06 $

Buy Apartment prices

San José, Costa Rica offers a wide range of real estate options to fit any budget. From affordable condos and apartments in the heart of the city to luxurious multi-level homes with stunning views of the landscape, there is something for everyone. With a growing real estate market, future buyers can expect to find competitive pricing and a wealth of inventory from which to choose. Whether looking for a primary residence or vacation home, San José is a great location for those seeking a mix of urban convenience and natural beauty.

Prospective buyers in San José have the opportunity to purchase both new and resale properties, giving them a wide range of pricing options. With a strong economy and growing tourism industry, the real estate market in San José is expected to remain robust for years to come. Homes and properties located in desirable areas such as Escazú, Santa Ana, and Belén are in high demand, but with proper research and an experienced real estate agent, buyers can find great deals on properties throughout the city and surrounding areas. Potential buyers should act fast, as property values are expected to rise over the next few years.

Price per m2 to Buy Apartment in City Center
1,870.98 $
Price per m2 to Buy Apartment Outside of City Center
1,399.94 $