Thursday, October 17, 2013

What are Food Costs in Costa Rica?

Since I did my last post on some of the food we've had in Costa Rica, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the prices we have paid for food at the grocery stores there. Many people are curious about the actual day-to-day living expenses, and this will help to give a good idea.

I gathered all the receipts I could find from our trip in July 2013, and the table below represents the actual costs we paid. I did convert the prices from the Costa Rican colon to the American dollar for an easier comparison.

We also purchased this lovely box of Choco Zucaritas (chocolate Frosted Flakes), pictured on the right, on our first trip to the grocery store (for the kids, of course!). We weren't paying attention to the price, until we got back to the house and realized we paid a whopping $7.50 for this 18 oz box of cereal--ouch!! The price for a bag of potato chips also almost gave us cardiac arrest. Wish I had the receipt for that one, but I don't, so can't remember how much they were. Once we realized how much we paid for those two items, we didn't buy them again--sorry kids! haha

This chart is just a small sample, but I think you can start to get an idea of why eating like an American will break the bank, while eating like a local will save you a lot of money. Plus I also didn't put on the chart the FREE coconuts we ate and drank. The coconuts came from trees on the property. Most people grow food on their properties, with the most popular probably being bananas, pineapples, and coconuts.

So, if you're willing to forgo the normal American diet of lots of meat, cheese, and processed foods, you will definitely find yourself saving money on your grocery bill. And, as the majority of ex-pats discover, you may also lose a few pounds and feel healthier in the process. In fact, several of our friends living in Costa Rica report coming off their cholesterol and other medications due to their new, healthier eating habits. Awesome!

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  1. I love fruit, we eat apples, Newton Pippin and Gala, grapes, our own and store bought, oranges, Valencia for juicy slices and Navel for sweet pulp, kiwi homegrown, Anjou pears from the tree, avocados, Hass, Zutano and the new Slimcado-which is actually an old species, ok enough, and we love veggies all types, but we gotta have cheese and many types. You mean no one makes cow cheese in PR?

    1. Hi Rich, Yes you can get cheese in Costa Rica, but depending on where you live, the exotic cheeses will be harder to find. We have also found it costs more than it does in the States. So, it's just a question of how much you are willing to spend to enjoy those cheeses. As more north Americans move down there, I'm sure the availability will go up. There is always the option of making your own cheese, or opening up a cheese shop!