Compare Electricity in Costa Rica with USA
I was talking with my father the other day and we were comparing the current costs of living in the USA and Costa Rica when the cost of electricity in Costa Rica was questioned. Some items we discovered were cheaper in the USA and some where less expensive in Costa Rica and in the end where to live based on cost is a hard decision and depends greatly on life style choices. Of course one would be foolish to base a lifestyle choice merely on cost, as there are social and comfort considerations as well.
Great Brew Pubs in Costa Rica
For example, if you really love quality beer, you’ll want to live near a brew pub. In the Pacific Northwest there are hundreds of quality brew pubs, but in Costa Rica I know of only two, Volcano Brewery on Lake Arenal and another one up in the mountains of Cartago. Both of these small breweries create excellent quality beer but you can not buy it just anywhere, you must be close to the source, while in the USA you can buy great beer in all supermarkets everywhere.
The Cost of Electricity in Costa Rica is High
One choice we all make is to have electricity in our homes. Costa Rica has one of the highest electrical costs in the world. I pay twice as much for electricity as my dad pays for the same amount. Why this should be is completely unknown to me as labor costs and infrastructure maintenance must be less in Costa Rica. Perhaps greed or taxes has something to do with the high cost of electricity in Costa Rica.
Well actually anything of quality that will last costs a lot more in Costa Rica then the USA. The vendors always try to tell us that they make only a small profit, that the price differential is due to high taxes but this is usually a lie.
Water service inexpensive in Costa Rica
My dad pays over $50 a month for 2 meters of water and I pay about $10 per month for about 50 cubic meters of water. I have no sewage fee as we are on a septic system. Last month a pipe broke and by the time we discovered this and fixed it over 500 cubic meters of water had been lost and I was charged an extra $110 for this. I hate to imagine how much this would cost in the USA, probably in the thousands of dollars! The major newspapers in Costa Rica have been talking about the government’s desire to raise the base price of water so we may see in the near future more expensive water here.
I read in the papers about parts of the world, especially Calfornia and Africa where there are major water shortages and predictions are that water will be more expensive then gasoline shortly, but here in the great rain forests of Costa Rica we get on average over 300 inches of rain per year, often in one night we receive 10 inches in only a few short hours! So we have no water shortage thats for sure.
Farmers Markets offer great prices in Costa Rica
We have farmers markets all over Costa Rica which offer fresh fruits and vegetables as well as organic chickens and other meats. You can always find flowers, baked goods and some fun at these morning rituals which are also popular in many cities of the United States. However, the prices at farmers markets in Costa Rica are much more reasonable then in the USA.
Some popular poisons like cigarettes and liquor are cheaper in Costa Rica. Currently a pack of cigs costs about $3 here after recent high tax increase ordered by the government with the intention of cutting down on the bad habit of smokers. I do not drink liquor but I know that there is some local made government approved and taxed moonshine style booze called Cacique which is inexpensive and popular with alcoholics.
Labor costs are much less in costa rica, but bear in mind that the workers here move at a snails pace, so though you are only paying that carpenter $4 / hour, his production is so low that you would be happier paying an american pro $25 / hour – you would get better quality work at a much reduced time frame. I have the great fortune of knowing a fantastic Costa Rican carpenter who is also an excellent cement mason and I have trained him to be an electrician as well and he produces. I keep telling him he should go to the USA because he could make really good salary there but he stays in costa rica because of his family ties I suppose.
So we must be careful in comparing the cost of electricity in costa rica with that of other countries as though its very expensive here, there are other ways to save money and the lifestyle here is so much more relaxed than any first world country that its no wonder more and more expats arrive in costa rica daily to make a new life and maybe find retirement paradise.